A common theme that pops up in fiction is the idea of homesickness. It’s a feeling that we’ve all probably felt at some point. When I went to college, I spent two weeks hiding in my bed and going to class, nothing more. I did the same thing when I moved from my small town to the big city of Pittsburgh.
When I think about how I dealt with my homesickness, I realize that homesickness can be considered a form of temporary depression. But for the heroes of works of fiction, it seems to be more of a driving force to succeed.
An example of this is how Sam and Frodo of Lord of the Rings fame dealt with their trip from the Shire to Mordor. Both Sam and Frodo express the fact that they miss the Shire. In fact, all four Hobbits feel that way at different times of the story. It’s that drive to see their home again that pushes all four to continue going when all hope is lost. In this case, the Hobbits use their feelings of homesickness to push themselves forward, especially Sam.
Another example is Ron in Harry Potter. While Hermione and Harry, both orphans in the sense that they have no wizarding family, have no ties to a home, Ron is tied to the Burrow and to civilization more than the others. While it is Horcrux-fueled, Ron’s anger from not being about to go home quickly while searching for Horcruxes is enough to put a lot of stress on the trio, to the point that he angrily leaves the group mid-mission. However, Ron storms back and helps defeat Voldemort. The need to go home doesn’t freeze Ron up. Instead, he excels under the pressure.
NuSpock is the same way. When Vulcan is destroyed, he uses the loss of home as a driving force to defeat Nero and set himself on his path. It doesn’t lock Spock in a depression. It makes him angry, yes, but he uses that anger to help defeat Nero in the end.
So why is it that depression freezes me up, but my heroes excel? Well, for starters, I’m no hero. And I would like to think that if, say, I was sent off to war, my wish to see home again would drive me to fight for my home. I was just homesick at college. For guys like the Hobbits, Ron, and NuSpock, they were homesick in a war. Utterly different.