James Benjamin Byron

by Colby from Pickerington

This iceberg represents Ben's emotions.  (
This iceberg represents Ben's emotions. (

A hero is someone who is looked up to by one or many. A hero is not always a good person. In most cases someone is considered to be a hero because others can closely relate to their situation or feelings. Most often heroes are famous, but in some cases heroes can be as simple as a relative who you look up to.

I believe that for some people it is important to have a hero. If you are going through a rough time in life it is good to find a person who has made it through, so that you can try to follow their footsteps. Others may want to become their own hero. Some may find that looking up to someone else does not always help you.

In this novel Ben portrays many characteristics as a hero. From the very beginning he looks after his brothers. They are all going through a rough time and all need someone to look up to. During most of the book they resent their father and have no one to look up to. Ben's younger brothers Dylan and Gerry both look to him. Whenever Jim, their father, tries to force Gerry into learning how to swim. Instead of helping him he forces his head into the water. Ben tackles his dad and tells him to leave Gerry alone. "I watched for what felt like hours. I felt myself go ice cold over my ears and down my spine. Then I raced into the water and jumped on Dad." "The Great Wide Sea" (64). Later in the book their father, Jim, tells them that they're going to cross over a reef. Ben speaks for the three kids and tells his dad no. "When you first start out on a boat, being on the deep ocean makes you nervous. You're always imagining falling off the boat, and somehow the fact that the water is so deep makes it seem more dangerous. But after a while, you change. After a while, you realize that it's the boat that's keeping you out of the water, and you want the boat to be safe. Then you get nervous when you can see sand sliding by under your keel." "The Great Wide Sea" (68). Near the end of the book when the three brothers are struggling to survive there is a part that shows what all leaders go through at times. Questioning reality. "And all those books-- Swiss Family Robinson, Robinson Crusoe, The Cay. People did it that way, I knew. So where was our miracle? We didn't get one. We just got hungry." "The Great Wide Sea" (204).

During your life there will be many people that you look up to. Whether it is an athlete that you want to compete like or a president that you want to lead like. But in this case my hero was an ordinary teenager. After going through the death of his mother he had to help keep the spirits of his younger brothers up. The three brothers soon realized that they did not like their dad. Even through having to live on a boat with him, Ben kept their spirits up. He was not always nice or happy to be in the position he was in, but he always got the job done. When they were separated from their dad he made sure that they stayed safe and alive. He kept them going as they lived on the island. And when the time came where he had to get help he found a deep sea fishing boat who contacted land. He had his two brothers and himself saved from sea and sure death. And he did it all as a sixteen year old.

1.What was home life like before your mother's death? "Most often my brothers and I did our own thing. Mom and Dad occasionally argued, but never in front of us."

2.What were your initial feelings when you found out about your mother's death? "Disbelief. Sheer disbelief. I had no idea what to think or to feel."

3. What kept you going through the arguments with your father? "Knowing that Mom would've wanted me to stay strong. If she could do it then I can."

4. What made you start to dislike your father? "When I first saw him trying to get rid of every memory of Mom."

5. Did you ever think about what examples you were setting for your brothers? "I was always thinking about it, but that didn't mean it would stop me from the things I was saying or doing."

6. What was life on the boat like? "Terrible. We couldn't ever get away from each other. The word privacy did not exist on the Chrysalis."

7. How did you maintain sanity when on a remote island? "I knew that if I began to lose it then my brothers would too. A 6 year old does not need to go through that."

8. When did you decide it was time to get help? "When I realized that Dylan needed help that I could not give him. His leg was severely injured and I could do nothing."

9. What were your thoughts when you realized you were getting saved? "I thought about Dylan and Gerry. I hoped they were still alive and waiting for me."

10. From here on out what will your relationship with your brothers be like? "I believe that we will be as close as brothers can be. When you come so close to death with someone you gain a friendship that you cannot get otherwise. Unless you've gone through it you wouldn't understand."
This link is about icebergs. Though the actually iceberg is irrelevant, its symbolism is meaningful. Ben throughout this story has many thoughts and feelings. He holds back most of them and only some are shown. Like an iceberg he only shows a little portion of his true self.

Page created on 4/17/2011 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 4/17/2011 12:00:00 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Iceberg - ~ Wikipedia