Why do we create superheroes? If we are multi-layered, wonderful yet flawed, sometimes strong and sometimes not, why does Emily need to create a perfect man? If Emily’s father is a narcissistic bastard, can she be protected from him by a nice even-tempered man? Not in Emily’s mind. Emily needs a hero to counteract the brutality of her father. Enter Reid, the best friend, to play the part. Reid has already been cast as her superhero, the antidote to her father. Reid’s strength and admirable qualities are elevated, and his flaws are quickly dismissed. The person that she has created as flawless, noble, and fierce cannot have weakness because that would distort the superhero that she has created to protect her from her father. We see this in a passage from Pages in the Wind, when young Emily daydreams about Reid, and what he will grow up to be:
Reid is waiting for the day that he is taller and stronger than my father, and will tower above him in height and mental acuity. His childlike heroism will be replaced with a fierce resolve to rid me of the terror of my father. He’ll look like one of those Roman warriors, handsome and larger than life, capable of anything and afraid of nothing. Reid will be there for justice, to free me from this prison of pain that father has built around me. He will take him down, yes, but for the sake of justice and the love he feels for me. Reid has been sadly aware of the savage cruelty had I have endured, and he will someday avenge this tyranny, even though I have never uttered a single word to him about my life. He knows. He just knows.
When times are dismal, do we look for a fearless warrior? By definition, do both extremes carry similar traits? Are leaders asked to be ruthless, bold, and cunning? Emily needs a hero to combat her villain, but she is unaware that she is creating him. What happens if her superhero leaves? Is she left unarmed? What she doesn’t realize is that the person that left is her. She created him, she breathed him into life. Will she ever see that these super-qualities really belong to her? What then?