Myths and Heroes (Baccalauréat expression orale en anglais)

I will talk about the notion of Myths and Heroes. A myth can be defined as a false notion or legendary story about a person who do something unusual and so become heroes. That is to say someone exceptional and a role model as well. I will illustrate my point with two figures of the 20th and 21st centuries: Nelson Mandela and Bill Gates. So we can wonder why these men can be regarded as heroes. First I’d like to talk about the role of Nelson Mandela. Then I’d mention the role of Bill Gates.

First of all, Nelson Mandela was a lawyer and a deputy president of the African National Congress (ANC). His role in South Africa is of paramount important. Indeed in this country, after 1942, there was apartheid. Black people were discriminated against. They did not have the rights to vote. They were forced to live in townships (Soweto for instance). They had to have passbooks to go and work in white districts. All public places were segregated.
But The ANC was a multi-racial nationalist movement trying to bring about political change in South Africa and therefore Mandela fought against apartheid. He sacrificed himself to the cause he believed in despite the hazards he faced. He spent 26 years in jail.
And thanks to him, apartheid was abolished in 1992.
Black people in South Africa really became citizens. He managed to change the lives of his fellow-citizens and to pacify South-Africa. That is why he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and why he can be regarded as a legend in a myth.
Indeed he is just a citizen who became the emblematic figure of the struggle against apartheid. He made thing change thanks to his very personality his own charisma and the strength of his ideas.

Then in another domain, Bill Gates can be regarded as a hero. To start with, he made technology evolve. He created a famous operating system called Microsoft and his work changed people’s lives. It became easier to have access to computers in developed countries.
He is a self-made man and a successful businessman who is regarded as a hero in the US, even more so when he became a philanthropist. Indeed he does not keep all the money for himself. He began to sacrifice it to make the world better. He finances scientific institutes to find solutions to health issues for instance.
Nevertheless, poor countries in Africa are also his preoccupation. He understood that computers are not the main priority in those countries. People need basic welfare. That’s why he created the $21bn Bill and Melinda Foundation which is devoted to healthcare and development and the distribution of vaccines.
He is a billionaire who is seeking the improvement of other people’s lives. What he has done help people worldwide He is a modern hero in a myth.
Indeed he illustrates the myth of the American Dream. The American dream means that all people living in the United States can, by his work, and his determination, be successful even if he started with nothing. And the billionaire Gates stopped school and whatever he managed to become one of the richest in the world.

To conclude, we can say that Mandela and Bill Gates are heroes because they managed to do something for other people instead of seeking their own fame or profit. They have written myths, that is to say an incredible story around their name. They made things evolve. But heroes like Bill Gate can show that money can be regarded as a form of power.

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