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Leiningen Vs. The Ants

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A hero is “one that shows great courage” according to Webster’s Dictionary. In Leiningen versus the Ants by Carl Stephenson, the protagonist Leiningen can be considered a hero. Not only does he risk his life to save his peon workers and farm, but he is respected by all in every way, shape, and form. Although he has many advantageous characteristics, he also has some that are quite dubious, making a slight dent in his bold delineation. In total, Leiningen has both positive and problematic attributes, but overall he can still be viewed as a heroic figure.

Many positive features contribute to Leiningen’s character. Being extremely confident by nature, Leiningen uses this trait to help him in all possible ways. In addition to being confident, he is also authoritative, prepared, and self-assured. As quoted on page 552, “Even here, in this Brazilian wilderness, his brain had triumphed over every difficulty and danger it so far encountered.” This quote proves his responsibility and past-experience, all of which add to his remarkable farming skills. Because of these many accomplishments, his peon workers look up to him with great awe and respect. When it came time for Leiningen to break the news to the peons of the ant’s expected arrival, they did not panic because neither did their boss.

“But so great was the Indian’s trust in Leiningen, in Leiningen’s words, and in Leiningen’s wisdom, that they received his curt tidings, and his orders for the imminent struggle, with the calmness in which they were given. (Page 552)

This is yet another one of his positive attributes, for Leiningen enjoys a challenge and had worked hard to build his plantation. With all these traits, Leiningen is surely cut out for being a hero. He has sincerely amassed the support of most, resulting in his role as a leader for everyone.

Too much of a good thing can be, in fact, bad; which is why that along with positive attributes, Leiningen has some problematic ones as well. Sometimes he becomes overly-confident in himself resulting in his audacious actions. In fact, Leiningen believes that he, a mere human, is better than God himself.

“Moreover, during his three years as a planter, Leiningen had met and defeated drought, Hood, plague and all other вЂ?acts of God’ which had come against him - unlike his fellow settlers who had little or no resistance. This unbroken success he attributed solely to the observance of his lifelong motto: The human brain needs only to become fully aware of its powers to conquer even the elements…intelligence, directed aright, invariably makes man the master of his fate.” (Page 552)

Because of his reckless and overly-confident nature, he put the lives of many on the line of death. But on top of this, Leiningen is also very lazy at times, too. “…the farmer [Leiningen] ate his supper with considerable appetite and went to bed. His slumbers were in no wise disturbed by the memory of the waiting, live, twenty square miles.” (Page 559) Basically, while his peon-workers slaved away preparing for attack throughout the whole night, Leiningen slept soundly and placidly without a care of the coming monsters. Trapped



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