This chapter describes how various life events are reflected in Jane Addams's books. The early chapters of Twenty Years at Hull-House are filled with Jane Addams's childhood delight with heroes of a certain kind. Caught up in the enthusiasms of her day, she was fascinated by political heroes. Political heroes were heavily featured in the books John Addams paid Jane to read. Indeed, his own political career brought the ideal to life. These were reasons enough for Jane's fascination. Deeper reasons are hinted at in the wheel dream. There was, of course, the problem that most of the political heroes she knew about, whether real or fictitious, were male and she was female. Beneath this gender difference, but linked to it, was the question of whether heroism could only be pursued in the (male) public realm or whether women's private lot of suffering and self-sacrifice was also heroic.
Keywords: childhood delight, political hero, Jane Addams, political career, heroism, self-sacrifice