The Virginian essays are an assignment taken from Diane’s American Literature Course

The Virginian, written by Owen Wister, is about a young man, called simply “the Virginian.”  He is seemingly perfect, though he maintains that he has many faults. He is the hero of the book and is humble, wise, and good.  Though he never claims Christianity, he values the morals taught by the Bible. He is humble, but not a liar. For instance, when he is praised for attaining the role of foreman, he does not lie and say that someone else can do it better, because he knows that is well-equipped for the job; instead, he modestly accepts the praise.  He is wise, for which his boss rewards him by giving him the position of foreman. He is good, demanding justice, but never unnecessarily picking fights.

The book of Daniel in the Bible is about Daniel, a faithful servant of the Lord.  Daniel is another seemingly perfect hero, but he too is humble, wise, and good. He is humble, giving all the glory for his actions to the Lord  He is also wise, handling difficult situations in a manner pleasing to the Lord. The Lord has blessed him with wisdom and knowledge and he gives all the glory back to God, showing his humility and goodness.

Achilles is a Greek demigod.  Though he is seemingly invincible, he is also very prideful and does not hesitate to use deceitful tactics to defeat his enemies. Achilles is thought invincible because his mother dipped him in the River Styx, therefore making him invulnerable to mortal wound; however, part of his heel was not immersed, making him vulnerable to injury in that one spot.  He is very prideful, like most of the other gods and demigods in both Greek and Roman mythology. Also he does not hesitate to use deceitful tactics against his enemies. When he is chasing Hector around the walls of Troy, and the goddess Athene offers to help him, he instantly accepts, though she helps him by deceiving Hector.




“What makes a hero?” This is a question people have asked for decades.  In the books, The Virginian by Owen Wister, and The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, there are heroes, namely the Virginian and Hiawatha.  Though there may be differences in the books’ heroes, the similarities are plentiful.

The book, The Virginian, is a western novel about the intricate love between a hero, the Virginian, and a local school teacher. He remarkably beats the expectations of being a hero when he saves his sweetheart Molly from the rushing river.  Also, he continually protects his homeland. He has quite a solemn manner, and has the air of one you could trust. He is refreshingly humble. The Virginian is a hero and should be looked up to by other western writers as the original western hero.    

Hiawatha, on the other hand, is a hero, but he is also a demigod.  It does not mean that he is any less a hero, but his magic mittens give him the extra boost that the Virginian did not possess.  Even though he does have special powers, Hiawatha always uses them for good, especially when he disposes of the king beaver and brings the carcass to his own wedding feast where his sweetheart Minihaha is.  When in the presence of Hiawatha, one feels powerless against his perfection. With the magic mittens and boots, the hero, Hiawatha, is close to unstoppable.

Although there are some differences in both classic characters the similarities are quite a handful.  They both have a special someone they each admire, both have incredible qualities that are quite rare, and both use those powerful characteristics for the good of their neighbor.  




Owen Wister and Louis L’Amour, wrote the western novels The Virginian and Daybreakers.  Both of these novels were set in the west. These novels are a part of a time and place where men could solve problems with words, and if that failed, weapons.  The Virginian is the hero in The Virginian and Tyrel Sackett is the hero in Daybreakers.  The two heroes have many similarities worth noting.  

For instance, the Virginian sits alone and just thinks about things as stated in the book, “Books lay open around him, education enveloped him.” Tyrel Sackett, the hero in the novel Daybreakers, also contemplates things.  As an example, Tyrel thought, “I slept little that night thinking if I did the right thing.” Also, the Virginian loves to read, especially the books his sweetheart Molly loans him. Now, Tyrel loved to read once he learned.  Tyrel would buy books before he knew what they were about. Another similarity that stands out, is that the Virginian does not go after women. He is always polite and courteous to the married women who sought him. Tyrel is also polite to women and does not go after them, but frankly, he stays clear of women altogether, especially after mistaking the laundry wash house, full of women, for the men’s washroom.  My favorite similarity in these to heroes is that they do not brag about their skills; they have quiet confidence. The Virginian does not brag about his skills as a cowhand. Nor does Tyrel brag that he is the fastest gun in the state of Texas.

Even though there are many similarities, one difference does stand out.  The Virginian has no family ties, but Tyrel has his brothers and mother to help and support him in life.  Tyrel has an advantage. In the end, the similarities in personality and daily life far outweigh the differences. I did enjoy both the characters, but Tyrel I enjoyed the most because he tried to avoid killing people as much as he could.  It made for a less violent book.




In the western story of The Virginian, written by Owen Wister, the main character, known as the Virginian, is pretty much a typical hero.  He has good looks, good character, and is very humble. In the story of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom, a slave in the antebellum  South, is also a hero. Though not exactly typical, because he is killed before the end of the book, he still has the characteristics of a hero.  He has a good character, good morals, and is very humble. When compared, they have similarities, but they also have difference that make them each heroes in their own way.  

The Virginian never claims to believe in God, as Uncle Tom does. However, he has moral standards that are shown when a good friend of his is caught rustling cattle.  In spite of his friendship, he ends the rustling and the man is hanged. Uncle Tom’s standards are shown after he is bought by a cruel master. In spite of his master’s cruelty, Tom does what is right, even though it costs him his life.  Both the Virginian and Uncle Tom have moral standards that they hold themselves to, in spite of the consequences.

The Virginian is very humble.  Although he seems to do no wrong, he always considers himself flawed, like the rest of mankind. When given the job of foreman, he tells the boss that he hopes he can do a good job, instead of boasting.  Uncle Tom is always obedient to his masters. In spite of his ill treatment, he never responds sharply, or gets angry. Bot the Virginian and Uncle Tom are always humble.

Because both men hold themselves to their standards and are humble, they are similar heroes.  But they have differences as well. The Virginian is a free man, while Uncle Tom is a slave. Uncle Tom is killed before the end of the book, while the Virginian lives happily ever after with his wife, Molly.  Because these men are each different in their own way, the books comes to life.

Most books have heroes, but each hero is a slight bit different giving color to the book.  The Virginian and Uncle Tom are similar but different enough to give color to their separate books.  


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