Beowulf and A Modern Day Hero

Beowulf was a great leader among his people during his day and age. It is interesting to note what was demanded of a leader. Courage, Valor, Intelligence, all of the usual stuff as far as heroes are concerned, and all the unusual stuff as far as men are concerned. This paper will seek to answer the question “If Beowulf were here today, would he be an XEROX sales manager?” More specifically, this paper will show that Beowulf embodies most of the characteristics that modern day individuals deem important. He is who Americans would consider as a hero. Why is this question worth asking? The culture’s hero embodies the characteristics of what it deems important. Due to the cold war, and nuclear weapons our hero’s are no longer men who make a killing on the battle ground. They are men who make a killing in the market place. The Characteristics that Beowulf exhibits would make him a producer in the market place--a hero of today. The story of Beowulf is strikingly similar to real-life modern day examples of corporate turn arounds.
One of today’s biggest heroes is a man by the name of Frank Pacetta. That this man is a hero at all is noteworthy. Who is he? He is a sales manager for XEROX copiers. He is described as single handedly leading one of the worst sales districts in the XEROX corporation to the top district in the nation. They’ve written books about this guy. One book entitled The Force was written by a reporter who went to live with the sales people in this district to experience what thier lives were like. Pacetta has written his own book entitled Don’t Fire Them, Fire Them Up. He was described as “the maverick manager” with the “rebel style” by The Wall Street Journal. All this about a copier salesman. In his book, Pacetta relates what it takes to lead a successful sales force. Certainly an analogy could be drawn between todays sales force and the waring Germanic tribes. Back then, they sent there bravest men out to fight battles to claim territory in a land where unclaimed territory was scarce. Today we are sending our sharpest business people out to claim market shares, today’s version of territory.
Pacetta’s story begins when he is sixteen. His father has just posted his C’s he recieved in private school. Pacetta had promised his father A’s and B’s, but the boy did not deliver. At a young age, the boy is considered lazy. He makes a great quarterback, because of his ability to rally the team, not necessarily because of his athletic ability. Beowulf is descibed as the same way in the beginning. A young guy with a lot of potential. His fight with Breca is a testament to his strength and stupidity. He is also alluded to as lazy kid while he is a kid.
Beowulf’s battle with Grendel is his rite of passage. “The Wise men in no way reproached him for that venture...they encouraged the man renowned for his spirit” (45). Pacetta’s rite of passage is his promotion to a sales manager in Cleveland. Beowulf, in his first appearance in a real struggle is asked to defeat Grendel. A creature that no man has been able to conquer. Beowulf is not relying on years of experience or knowledge. In fact, what little we know of Beowulf would suggest that, while he possessed great strength, he was not all that wise with it’s use. Beowulf infers that leaders are born. There is something inside of them that makes them who they are. Beowulf’s first task is a great one. The most menacing one at that time. The hero is not a veteran. He’s a rookie.
Pacetta is the same way. This guy has been denied the sales manager position three times. He had talent. He was considered a great salesman, but they did not feel he met the qualities of a manager. He was too immature. Eventually, he is promoted. XEROX does the same thing that happens in Beowulf. When they had a troubled district, they sent the young guy to fix things. The one who is unproven, suggesting that they believed that some innate quality that Pacetta had was better than experience. In