Critical Review Final Draft
Major Daley had attributes of both a villain and a hero. Although Major Richard J. Daley is a complex hero, in Mike Royko??™s Boss the story is told as an epic because he has the features of a traditional hero, but Royko also highlights the questionable actions Daley made as the cities Major. Part of Mike Royko??™s story is accredited to legend and myth because when the same stories are told time after time from different sources, the assumption can be made that not all of it is going to be entirely true. In many parts of the book, Royko is repeating conversations Daley had with others. This adds on to the theme of the book being a Chicago epic and showing the story as questionable to the reader??™s eye. There is no doubt that Major Daley helped Chicago grow as a city but how far did he go to do it. Major Daley help construct many landmarks of Chicago, which was seen as heroic, but with his power he supplemented to corruption and the segregation of the city. Royko shows Major Daley as a product of Chicago because it??™s true that Daley did not start corruption but he did add to it.
Similar to the image of Daley is Frank Lucas in the film American Gangster, a heroin drug dealer from Manhattan, who is smuggling the drug into the country from the Far South East Asia. Frank Lucas does not seem like the typical hero for the people of Manhattan, just as Daley doesn??™t seem so either, with Chicago??™s reputation with corrupt Politian??™s. But Frank Lucas, parallel to Daley, was a complex character, who always gave back to his community even if the money he made was corrupt. The film shows there are two sides to the American dream which can relate to Daley??™s accomplishments as the major of Chicago for twenty years. One side is what Daley thinks is best for the people and the other side is what Daley thinks is bests for him as a politician. Franks Lucas??™s intentions were not to hurt anyone but if it was necessary to get to the top, then he did not mind. This is similar to how Daley thought because he was not an unethical man but many of his actions were. This film is a drug-world epic, and Frank Lucas is the complex hero because of all the good and bad he did to get his power.
Major Richard J. Daley, during his terms in office, helped the construction of O??™Hare International Airport, McCormick Place, the University of Illinois at Chicago campus, the Sear Tower, many expressways and subway construction projects, and other major Chicago landmarks. OHare was a main point of pride for Daley. He did many heroic things to make Chicago the big city it is today. But a major issue that Royko tries to illustrate in Daley??™s term as the Major was that he always tried to talk around the racial segregation in Chicago. Royko was not saying Daley was a racist but he was questioning why he did not try to change the issue. For example in the text Royko says, ???It was 1964, the civil rights movement was sweeping across the land??¦First Kennedy, then Johnson, had placed themselves firmly on the side of fair play and integration. Daley in his public utterances was with them.???(Royko 133) Sarcastically, Royko is saying that Daley only said he was with them to have to image of a good guy but did little to change the lives of blacks in Chicago slums. He did not care, all he wanted was there vote to them turn around and say, ???There are no ghettos in Chicago.???(Royko 134)
Mike Royko also shows how Major Daley is seen as a heroic figure but was not afraid to use every one the way he wanted. When he was around African Americans he wanted to help them but when he was around racist political figures, African Americans were Negros to him. He made sure while he was living in Bridgeport that community would excluded Blacks and Latinos from living there. As long as he had every ones vote in did not matter if he was being a hypocrite. To Daley, African Americans were going through what all over ethnic groups would go through when they came to America. When any one would go ask him for help for the black communities he would simply reply, ?????¦let me tell you something about those people??¦ should lift themselves up by their bootstraps like our grandparents did??¦???(Royko 140) It seemed that Richard Daley did not even have an open mind about changing. He would not even consider changing even when it came to a nun or his son??™s teacher-priest.
Richard Daley knew he was a racist; he knew what he needed to say to be admired by his voters. He was content with his beliefs, even during a period of social change for blacks. Similar to Daley was Frank Lucas but Lucas was content with the fact that he was turning his people to addicts in order to get rich. They both used their people to get successful and abuse of their power. Daley knew that he had to play both the racist and the black advocate to be at the top. Just like Daley, Lucas had to act like one of the guys from the neighborhood and then he acted like he was on the police side. They both played the role that would be convenient at the moment. For example, during Daley??™s third term he was starting to feel the pressure of Chicago civil rights movement and he did not know how to play both roles any more. The School Superintendent, Benjamin Willis was the target of the protest groups but Daley would not fire him. ???If Daley gave in, the whites would have been mad??¦he figured he??™d always get the black vote, but the whites had already shown that they??™d go for someone else??¦ Besides, Willis was useful to Daley.??? He thought the more they picked on Willis the more the spot light would be off of him.
Of course, it is said that you are not a hero if you do one thing wrong. In the dictionary hero is a person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life. One can say that Richard Daley did risk his life every day on the streets of Chicago as the major and he sacrificed most of his personal time to the city of Chicago to make it the city it is today. One can also assume that because he contributed too many of the big landmarks of Chicago that he is a heroic figure.
On the other hand, and epic can depend on who is telling the story because imagining an African American wrote Boss, Richard Daley would be far from a hero because of his beliefs and limited help he gave to the black schools, not to even mention the segregated communities he has carved in the city, that mostly still exist to this day. Major Richard Daley has given the city many nice attractions but who have they mostly benefited Most defiantly, they have benefited the rich, powerful whites. The complexity in his character shows that he is human that had a heroic personality but his actions were only heroic to those who profited from them. Royko shows Daley??™s terms as an epic because to some he was seen as a hero but his actions prove otherwise.