Devin presents an interesting case for Clifford as a heroic character. I would like to disagree for several reasons, most of which are founded in an opposing interpretation of what it means to be a hero.
Clifford wants, it seems, to be a hero according to the examples Devin presents in his argument. “He wants to live life and be free of the rigid, lifeless house.” The issue present in this statement is the use of the term want. Clifford wants to be a hero, however, his personality seems to contradict the definition of a hero in that a hero does, and does not want to do something. A hero may be reluctant to accept the challenges laid out for them; however, he or she eventually realizes their destiny and then seeks to achieve it. For example, we can turn to the film Star Wars for an example of the reluctant hero. Han Solo claims that he is simply involved in the affairs of Luke and Leia for the money. However, in the end, Solo realizes in the end, when receiving awards, thanks, and praise for his heroic actions that although his motives were wrong, he seeks to do the right thing (helping the rebellion) for the sake of fighting against that which is morally wrong. Clifford does not accomplish such a goal. Once he and Hepzibah leave the house, a moral triumph for the two, he returns to his former self upon exiting the house. He cannot escape it, and is unable recognize his call to greatness.
Yet another example of Cliffords inability to answer the hero’s call is on the train. Devin is right to say that “the businessmen on the train don’t see what Clifford sees”. However, soon after Clifford’s soliloquy comes to an end, he is once again overcome with a feeling of tiredness. His heroic moment fades because he is unable to escape himself.
One might say that a hero constantly struggles with him/herself. This I do agree with, however, it seems that Clifford is unable to be heroic because he cannot overcome his own motivations. A hero comes to terms with their own problems and transcends them. In the case of a hero such as Spiderman, Peter Parker recognizes that his original motivations were to fight to avenge the death of his uncle, which he then overcomes, recognizing that “with great power comes great responsibility”. He then fights for the sake of fighting against those who represent that which is wrong. Clifford, on the other hand, seems to fight for the sake of his own survival, rather than for the sake of those who surround him, such as Hepzibah, who dedicated her life to him and Phoebe, who cares for him deeply.