From Professor Roth's
Phil105: World Myths and Legends
World Myths & Legends/PHIL 105
College Book Hero Project/Home & Family
October 13, 2009
The story of Hee-Sook Lee and her daughter, Joyce Kim Lee, is by far the most heroic story in the Home and Family section of “Listening is an Act of Love”. Hee-Sook is an exceptional hero to me and displays several qualities that define a hero. I grew up in a family that was very loving and affectionate; both my nuclear and extended families shared this practice. Being raised in this type of atmosphere has made me very appreciative of my family and provided me with a level of support and comfort I feel nothing else could replace. My grandfather was the rock in my family until last April when he passed away. He was always an extremely caring, loving, delicate, and sensitive man; it wasn’t until after his death that I saw how much of a positive impact he had on the way my family treated each other. My family has him to thank for teaching us to be so warm and open with each other. I consider my grandfather to be one of the greatest hero’s of all time. He has touched the lives of everyone he has met and shared many of the same characteristics as Hee-Sook.
Hero myths generally create guidelines on how to live and also establish a motivation for following those rules. Hee-Sook clearly demonstrates this idea when she teaches Joyce about her three daily phrases to use in your good, happy marriage. Joyce learns to express, “I love you”, “Thank you”, and “I’m very sorry”. When Hee-Sook informs Joyce of these three phases, she is demonstrating the importance of following certain guidelines in life. Hee-Sook also establishes a motivation for practicing these three phrases by explaining to Joyce what a positive affect it will have on her marriage and family.
Hero myths are also responsible for connecting people in the community which is exactly what Hee-Sook did. She learned about being affectionate and saying “I love you” in a relationship while she was attending an English Bible class and observing the interaction between young American couples. When she got married and began to express the same affection to her husband, many other Korean couples began to take notice and practice the same behavior, which up until then was not common practice in their culture. Not only did Hee-Sook connect with the people in her church community, but her and her husband were able to connect with other Korean couple’s and teach them something valuable about the American culture.
Hee-Sook is so passionate when she tells her story; she provides explanation and purpose behind the importance of how we treat our spouses and family, and how important just a few simple words everyday can be. Hee-Sook accomplished something great, that most first generation Korean’s at that time either did not know much about or were too afraid to practice. Hee-Sook’s persistence when teaching her husband the importance of affection and saying “I love you” proves that she endured a true test of dedication and strength, both of which are characteristics of a hero. The actions of Hee-Sook were for the greater good of society and drastically improved the lives of many people around her.
The most distinguished quality of a hero myth is that the hero takes off on a departure, fulfills a task, and then returns to tell about it. This is revealed when Hee-Sook first comes to America from the Korean culture, learns about the customs of American couples, and then begins to exercise them in her own household, soon accomplishing the goal of having it a daily practice and spreading the tradition to other Korean couples. All these qualities make Hee-Sook a hero to me, and I am sure to many other families around the world. Today there are many people who forget to admire their partners and forget about what’s important in a marriage; Hee-Sook is a hero because she hasn’t lost sight of what is important in life and has remained selfless throughout her marriage to better her family and the community around her.