Critical Analysis Essay on Charles Yu's Hero Absorbs Major Damage

Published: 2023-01-28
Critical Analysis Essay on Charles Yu's Hero Absorbs Major Damage
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Virtual reality Character analysis American literature
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1122 words
10 min read

In the story "Hero Absorbs Major Damage" the protagonist is the leader of a team inside the virtual world. However, it should be underlined that the story is comprised of two worlds- the one inside the game and the one outside the game. To this end, virtual reality refers defines a computer technology that takes a user to a replicated or imaginary world either through movies, games, or flight simulations. The technology simulates the presence of the real world where they experience the virtual world through a combination of multi-projected environments or physical spaces and can interact with the virtual world in real-time. Accordingly, a wholly immersive virtual reality can generate synthetic stimuli to several physical senses of the user. The most common sensory display in VR is the aural, visual, haptic, and vestibular (balance). Therefore virtual reality is a medium that takes the user inside the media, and if it is well-done, the user's brain treats this as if it were the real world.

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Virtual reality has a strong effect that leads the human mind to adapt to that environment. From the story, the Hero has been able to experience this, and it is in this reality that he meets his teammates. The technology takes users into a world where they can do supernatural things like flying, teleport, or create objects out of thin air. Although the brain does not seem to mind, however, it carefully relies on crafted attention and design of the individual's physical and emotional state. Specifically, when it comes to see-through virtual reality headsets, a key objective is to superimpose virtual content onto the real-world environment of the protagonist to provide them with extra information about their surroundings. Such an affordance makes it possible for the virtual user to relate with the virtual content that is only visible to them (Kronauer & Ittner, 2009). Besides, the virtual content might deliberately or otherwise be rendered superior to the people the virtual reality user interacts with, possibly disrupting the interaction by resulting in a violation of established social norms. For instance, in the current case, the primary role of the Hero is to lead the team in a mission that involves killing their enemies.

Another prove that the inside the video reality was more important to the protagonist is supported by the fact that he was the leader of the team. He had a mission to accomplish, and therefore if he backed out of this environment, he would betray his teammates.

"........As in: We Shall Follow You. You. As in, me. Me. As in, the Hero. It all made sense after that. The odd feeling I'd always had, some kind of fixed radius around my position. If I moved left, the group moved left. Actually, if I moved left, the whole battlefield moved left. No matter what I did, I always seemed to find myself in the centre of the action. Here. I am Here." (Newitz, 2012)

Being the leader, all other parties inside the game would be blinded, and they would not know the path to follow. It is his role to make critical decisions such as selecting the way giving advice, leading the pack, and even selecting weapons and vetting new team members as demonstrated when Krugnor joins the team.

Further, it has been identified that for virtual reality, popular action games introduce the user to characters that possess abilities that are superior to those of a natural human being. Further, virtual reality exposes the user to the situation on a deeper level than is the case in the natural world. As such, the user lives is a world that is not familiar to non-users, and this becomes their new reality. Accordingly, the experiences of the user in virtual reality are deeply immersed, such that they become part of the protagonist. Therefore, the abilities presented by the virtual reality role are customized to match those of the user (Kronauer & Ittner, 2009). These facts support the position that the environment inside the game is more important to the protagonist than that outside the game. For instance, the Hero becomes scared and shows his concerns for the team at the end of the story. Even when he is presented with two choices; the path of Legends versus the path of Honorable Death, he ultimately opts to remain the Hero and returns to fight with his friends and teammates to the end.

".....No one said it would be easy, or fun, or good, or clean, or that I would have any glory or comfort or a moment of rest in all of my days. But if I have anything at all, I am still the Hero. I am here. This was my story. This is my problem. I'm going back down there to fix it." (Newitz, 2012)

Typically the statement above shows how the inside the game environment is essential to the protagonist. They are willing to risk their lives for the sake of his teammates even though from the outside the game environment, these characters are not real.

Another sign for the importance of the inside the game environment to the protagonist is his emotional feelings. The Hero falls in love with the character 'Trin', and this makes him jealousy of the shopkeeper and even Krugnor just because he thinks that Trin loves them and not him.

"Trin isn't even fighting, she's just standing there staring at the dude's muscles while he brandishes his +3 broad- sword. I'm not even sure I could pick that thing up." (Newitz, 2012)

The strong attachment and the emotional connection with the teammates justify why he is willing to work with them till the end and get the reward not just for himself but for the team. Therefore, for the Hero, the virtual reality environment is essential, and one that shapes how he thinks feels and behaves.

In summary, exposure to the virtual world through gaming has been attributed to a change in the gamer's expected social norms. Specifically, individuals like the Hero who have been exposed to the virtual environment for long demonstrates a shift in behaviour by abandoning the natural social norms and taking-up the new social rules inside the game. For example, the Hero can kill without any remorse while inside the game. It is on this basis that it can be concluded that virtual reality creates a new world where the users feel comfortable to participate than they would while in the outside the game environment.


Kronauer, B., & Ittner, J. (2009). Constructs of desire. Lewisburg [Pa.]: Bucknell University Press.

Newitz, A. (2012). Read a thoughtful story about gaming from Charles Yu's new collection, Sorry Please Thank You. Retrieved 23 July 2019, from

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