The first section of the story, Minor Heroism is a first person perspective from the viewpoint of an older Bryan. Is Bryan passing judgement on his father in this section or does he present the information in an amoral tone?

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In this section of the story, Bryan is shown to judge his father negatively from his first person perspective. Even though Bryan gives his father an objective examination, the underlying tone is one of resentment. He expounds negatively on his father's past career in the military, wondering if this employment...

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In this section of the story, Bryan is shown to judge his father negatively from his first person perspective. Even though Bryan gives his father an objective examination, the underlying tone is one of resentment. He expounds negatively on his father's past career in the military, wondering if this employment could be said to have had even occurred. Indeed, despite his past in the military, Richard is described by Bryan to have overly indulged himself and his celebrity status years ago. Bryan argues that this delusion assessment rubbed off on Bryan due to Richard's skewed self perception. Richard's past celebrity status is depicted as overly superficial and lacking substance, so Bryan's initial assessment his father is rendered obsolete as his father's perception is skewed.

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"Minor Heroism" is a short story by Allan Gurganus. The story is divided into three parts, with two different points of view: the first and last parts are from the point of view of Bryan, the son; the middle part is from the point of view of Richard, the father. The first part is told from the adult version of Bryan, who reflects on the personality and life of his father, Richard. The tone of Bryan's voice in the first part of the story is seemingly one of detachment, as if he is reading the obituary details of his father. However, there is an underlying tone, or subtext, of resentment toward his father and the life he has led. When Bryan details his father's military career, it is as if Bryan is implying that Richard's military career was a sham. For instance, Richard was part of the crew that bombed Dresden during World War II, and for this, he was considered a "minor hero" by the armed forces and by the general public. He also received minor celebrity status because of his good looks. This subtly implies that Richard's success post-war was only due to superficial elements, such as his physical appearance, as well as his taking part in a controversial bombing campaign of a German city. It was this "minor" celebrity background that helped Richard launch a successful business in his native North Carolina. When Richard criticizes Bryan for being completely different in personality from him, the latter realizes that the hero he once admired—which is illustrated by the last part of the story, in which Bryan draws his father in uniform, holding his hand as a child—is only a "minor" one, or not one at all. Bryan eventually comes to the conclusion that his father failed to realize that his projection of himself on to his son was not good parenting and most definitely not heroic; this is because Richard himself has a skewed self-image based on his "minor" heroism from long ago.

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