The best way to understand the character of a society is to examine the character of the men and women that the society chooses as its heroes or its heroines.
Character of a society, so complicated as it is, has always been a heated topic among social science scientists, the study of which involves people, customs, environment and various other aspects, physically and psychologically. Concerning this, the author suggests that to understand the feature and values of a society, it is best to examine the character of the men and women that the society worships, which, in my eye, gets the point in some sense despite that it ignores other measures effective in studying a society. To better present my viewpoint let me illustrate it in details.
To begin with, admittedly, since character of heroes or heroines, whether factual or imaginary, reflect, at least from a specific visual angle, mainstream values and moralities that a society and its member worship, the author's assertion gets the point in this sense. Rev. Martin Luther King, leader of the crusade fighting for equal right and against racial discrimination and segregations, is admired by the majority of American people, even scores of years after he delivered the renowned speech--"I have a dream"--that inspired and encouraged thousands of black people to strive for equal rights. This precisely mirrors one thing that all Americans ardently pursue and advocate: democracy--that is, all men are created as equal, regardless of race,nationality, and origin. Without efforts of Martin Luther King, blacks may still be separated to the back of buses and inflict what forcefully impose on them. Similarly, in the fight against gender bias, two heroines, Susan Stanton and Elizabeth B. Thorn,have been forever remembered and memorized for their contribution in paving the way for women rights, which, again, reflects that the American society is one that worships equal rights for women and men.
While the foregoing example involves heroes and heroines in social science, people,devoted themselves to natural science and humanity areas, that are admired by general populace can also aptly illustrate the credibility of the author's assertion. A society whose members worship Galileo, one who bravely and perseveringly overthrew Ptolemy and Aristotle altogether with evidence collected by turning his own-made telescope to the universe, is very likely to be one emphasizing truth and righteousness, and less likely to compromise when confront power and authority; similarly, a society whose member admire Ludwig van Beethoven, the German musician whose status is unparalleled and who composed the most famous Pathetique and Moonlight, masterpieces that have strike a cord with numerous audience, is probably one stressing artistic appreciation and the pursuit of what is eternal and universal--beauty. In short, heroes and heroines a society respect may be a mirror for the mainstream ideology and practices.
Nevertheless, by broadening this assertion to the extent that heroes and heroines are the best source of studying the character of a society, the author draws too hastily a conclusion, with other ways such as studying history, politics, legal systems, education, etc, also available. As we all know, the US is most characterized by its diversity of nationality, including Indians as native citizens, Spanish-Americans, Latin-Americans, Black-Americans, and Asians. However, to get a full understanding of this phenomenon, one can only turn to the American history, studying of which affords the answer that the War of Independence, the westward movement as well as the gold rush all contribute to this hodge-podge of nationality. Furthermore, studying of school curriculums of a society also tells us something about the contemporary and probably future characters of a society, due to the indisputable fact that children are the future and hope of a society. For example, that curriculums of American elementary and middle school are filled with courses nurturing creative thinking as well as innovative ideas and reject courses requiring pure memorization aptly show the significance of creation and innovation in American Society.
In summary, from all the discussions above, we can safely draw the conclusion that the author is fundamentally right in pointing out one way to learn the character of society. However, this assertion is somewhat one-sided in ignoring other methods, say, history and education.
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