Heroism possible succeed”; according to this definition

April 2, 2019 Law

Heroism in the context of modern language has the meaning of a person showing a grand amount of strength and bravery. In George Orwell’s novel 1984, Winston Smith is described as a hero. 1984 represents a world where the government completely controls everyone’s life, by listening to their every word and watching their every move through telescreens. “You had to live- did live, from habit that became instinct- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every moment scrutinized” (Orwell 3). Orwell defines heroism as “ordinary people doing whatever they can to change social systems that do not respect human decency, even with the knowledge that they can not possible succeed”; according to this definition Winston Smith is a hero because he is an ordinary person, he is doing whatever he can to change social systems that do not respect human decency, and he does have the knowledge that he can not succeed.
First of all, Winston can be considered a hero because of the many heroic traits he shows. Winston snuck to buy a diary even though “at the time he was not conscious of wanting it for any particular purpose” (Orwell 6) he knew it was against the law and could have consequences for it if he were caught. By doing this he shows characteristics of heroism as he acts rebellious against the laws of the party so he is able to live a normal life and have the freedom to wright down his thoughts. Winston and Julia rebelled against Big Brother and the party by having sexual relations knowing that “sexual intercourse was to be looked on as a slightly disgusting minor operation, like having an enema”. (Orwell 65). He is showing heroism by being brave enough to have a relationship with Julia knowing that he could be putting both of their lives in danger of being tortured by Big Brother. He is trying everything he possibly can to change the system to be able to have a love life.
“Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don’t care what you do to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the bones. Not me! Julia! Not me!” (Orwell 5). That is the words of Winston Smith after he had been caught rebelling against Big Brother because he professed his love for Julia and was being taken to his punishment room 101. To me that does not quite sound like the words of a hero. A hero does not put someone’s life in danger over their own. A hero is someone who is willing to lay down their life so that others may be saved.
Even though Winston failed at his goal being “down with big brother” (Orwell 18) after being brainwashed and taught to do so he ends up professing his love for Big Brother. He was aware that it was possible for him to be caught and not succeed which is part of Orwell’s definition of heroism yet he still tried and didn’t give up. He kept fighting for what he felt was right and tried to change the social system that was unfair to human decency, which is also part of Orwell’s definition of heroism. To be a hero means that you give all you can to help people, and to try your hardest to protect…although you may not always succeed, as long as you try you should be considered a hero.
Winston is an ordinary person, he did all that he could do to try and change the social system that did not respect human decency and he acknowledged the fact that he would possibly not succeed, yet he still fought for what he thought was right and what he thought the people deserved. Winston’s bravery and his drive to live freely are actions that prove he is a hero. The modern day definition defines heroism as strength and bravery and Orwell’s definition of heroism shows that a hero is a strong willed person who knows when they are wrong but fight until they cannot fight any more for what they feel is right and wrong. According to Orwell’s definition of heroism, Winston fits the part perfectly.


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