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  1. sunnior
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    sunnior New Member

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    individuals with some kind of greatness = people who are famous?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by sunnior, Dec 17, 2008.

    many of my friends think I should only focus on the celebrities in history such as great scientists like Einstein or artists like Van Gogh, when I'm writing something about the greatness of individuals. But I think if a person with some kind of merits in humanity, say one is always ready to help others who are in trouble can have the greatness. It's not necessary for individuals to become famous to have some greatness. Is this right?

    I'm not a native speaker. I hope I have described my case clearly.
     
  2. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    This is probably true. I can think of a few folks who are anything but great but are still famous. Fame tends to have nothing to do with how great you are but rather how many people notice the things you do (Having friends in certain places helps too).
     
  3. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    In your writing you focus on whoever you want. Don't let your friends dictate who you want to write about. Some of the best writing is about people we've never heard of before.

    Non-famous people can do great things and be great people. Some of history's most famous people were total scumbags, so doesn't it stand to reason that some of history's most forgotten or negligible people can be great?

    Fame is a matter of perspective. Lots of famous people really did little to deserve their status. There must be droves of wonderful people out there who would rise to fame if only they were in the right circumstances, but they're not. They should have some interesting stories anyway.
     
  4. ZionsRodeVos
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    ZionsRodeVos New Member

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    I believe everyone has the potential to achieve greatness. Also, there are many great people who do not seek to become famous.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that we all have a different way of measuring greatness. Someone you think is a great person your friends may think is not a great person. Just because I think a person you've never heard of is great doesn't mean you will think they are great just because I tell you things about the person that have made them great in my opinion.
     
  5. othman
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    othman Member

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    talking about people who have achieved greatness...Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse is one of the greatest. He was a WW1 medic and died in the battle of the Somme, he was also one of only 3 people to get two Victoria crosses. You know how so many people died at the Somme, he went into no-mans land and saved people...if you read up about what he did in the Somme he is truly great.
     
  6. jwilder
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    jwilder Member

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    Write about any character in history you wish. Van Gogh, or his neighbor who fed stray cats in the winter and donated money to the poor. Both can be considered great. Van Gogh just got better press. Both stories are equally worthy of being told. Write the one to which you are most attracted. Every family on earth can tell stories of great men who's names aren't in the history books. That doesn't make those men any less great than someone who gets an entire chapter in history.
     
  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Fame VS Greatness

    They should correspond one to the other, but often they do not.

    Somewhere in the world today there is a person giving of himself/herself on a daily basis for the sake of others.

    This is a person possessed of greatness whose name we will never know.

    Somewhere in the world today there is someone being chased by paparazzi because their new sex video has just hit the internet.

    This is a person possessed of no greatness and yet everyone will know their name within 10 minutes time.
     
  8. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    The "greatness" of a person, real or fictional, will be determined by the quality of your writing. A weak writer can borrow "greatness" from history's celebrities, but a truly talented writer can create a story from which readers derive a sense of having met a truly special character.

    I once knew a gardener at a local orphanage, a stooped old man with time worn hands and heavily tanned face from a lifetime of working outside. The kids loved the old groundskeeper...he seemed to know a little about everything. He would help them with homework problems or listen patiently as a pre-teen raved about her first "true love". And, he never criticized, although he often asked questions that caused them to think about their choices in life...and they listened to him. The man spent his days mowing lawns or shaping bushes, yet he always took time out from his duties to meet the needs of the kids.

    Many years later, I was invited to fill an open position on the Board of Directors for that orphanage. I was honored by the opportunity and took my place at the table in my first board meeting. Everyone chatted while we waited for the Chairman of the Board...he was late, as usual I was told. Then, the door swung open and in walked the old grounds keeper. I expected him to take a seat along the wall in preparation to answer some questions about the property. He did not sit at the wall. Several board members greeted him by his first name as he took his place at the head of the table. Yes, the lowly gardener was in charge of the entire orphanage. Children never knew that their problems, needs and desires...feelings they might be hesitant to share with the officials...those candid comments made to a lowly outdoors man were heard at the highest level. After the meeting, the old man hesitated to exit, looking both ways down the hall to make sure no children would see him as he slipped quietly out of the orphanage. He was Chairman of the Board for nearly fifty years and when he passed away, the vast majority of tears were shed by former orphans who had grown to love him.

    His place as Chairman of the Board was filled by the orphanage's cook...Mamma Ruth. And so the cycle repeats. To me, Chester the gardener was a truly great man.
     
  9. de la vega
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    de la vega Member

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    What a beautiful example. And well-written, too :)
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sunnior...
    all i can do is echo all of the above...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  11. mercy
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    mercy Senior Member

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    Wow, that is a wonderful story. It brought a tear to my eye. Is this fact or a fictitious example?
     
  12. ArckAngel
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    ArckAngel Member

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    If you want to do a bit of research in the concept of great men in history, Carlyle 'On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History' is a great resource. Thomas Carlyle has in many way forged the way we view the greatness of people. Anybody who reads it, will start noticing his influence every writer of the Victorian era and since. I found it very interesting as well, though I've herd many people curse his name.
    Just a suggestion.
     
  13. giselle_zella
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    giselle_zella Member

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    Fame does not always constitute greatness, and greatness should, but very often doesn't constitute fame. There are many famous people who have done nothing exemplary in their life - who cannot possibly be called great. Conversely, and unfortunately, there are many great persons who have gained very little or no fame but can be considered great heroes in every sense of the word. The famous people who are great are simply the ones who have had coverage...but they were once unknown too, and that doesn't make them any less great.
     
  14. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    mercy - True story with name changes for obvious reasons. Some day I would love to tell his story, but before he died he asked me to keep his identity and role secret. I'm not sure how to honor that promise and, at the same time, share this compelling human interest lesson as a role model for society. I also can not write a fictionalized version because anyone who knows me would quickly identify the orphanage from my participation as a board member. "Chester" swore all of us on the board to secrecy and we've kept the promise...to this day, none of the grown up kids know the truth.
     

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