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An Anti-Hero of One’s Own

26 May

An Anti-Hero of One’s Own

Posted By: 
Kaitlyn Guay

What is an anti-hero?

Many assume the anti-hero is the villain, the antagonist. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. Several famous authors have brilliantly portrayed an anti-hero as their main protagonist: a person who is indisputably flawed, selfish, and possibly even resorts to horrific acts to fight a personal vendetta. Depicting an anti-hero often goes with a similar storyline. Tim Adams, in his TED-ed talk, “An Anti-Hero of One’s Own,” delves into the way writers can use the anti-hero to tell a particular story.

In his talk, Adams explains: “The anti-hero initially conforms, accepting the established views: a typical, unquestioning member of society. The anti-hero struggles to conform, all the while, starting to object, perhaps finding other outsiders which whom to voice his questions, and naively, unwisely, sharing those questions with an authority figure. The anti-hero openly challenges society, and tries to fight against the lies and tactics used to oppress the populus.”

However, unlike the stories we’ve come to known of our beloved heroes, the anti-hero may or may not succeed in his/her quest. She may be slain, or brainwashed once again to remain a mindless drone, complacently embedded in the society she once fought so hard to correct. Or, she may fail due to her own ineptitude to slay personal monsters, such as jealousy, fear of mortality, or self-doubt. Authors can use anti-heros to send a message about something they view is broken in society.

“Our storytelling ancestors calmed our fears of powerlessness by giving us Hercules and other heroes strong enough to fight off the demons and monsters that we suspected haunted the night beyond our campfires. But eventually, we realized the monsters don’t lie out there. They reside inside of us.” -Tim Adams

What examples of an anti-hero have you found and loved?

If you learned something from today’s post, we invite you to share it with a young writer who could benefit from it too! Stay tuned for more writing tips as we count down toward our upcoming Webinar on June 15th, “From First Draft to Published: Self-Editing Techniques for Young Writers!”

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