Essay, Pages 4 (822 words)
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 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 purchases many things in the ordinary shops, which is against the laws.
Because “the party members were supposedly not to go into ordinary shops” (Orwell 6). 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.
Winston also 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.
Showing once again that he is just trying to simply live a normal life and have the freedom to wright down his thoughts.
“More commonly, people who had incurred the displeasure of the party simply disappeared and were never heard of again” (Orwell 44). If you broke the law of big brother at all you would be punished and tortured. 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). “Even if it were only once in his whole life.
The sexual act, successfully performed, was rebellion” (Orwell 68). 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.
“War is peace/freedom is slavery/ ignorance is strength” (Orwell 40) shows the backwardness of this Big Brother government. Winston is set in his ways until the day he dies, with his goal being “to die hating them”- referring to Big Brother and the party. He knows that he could possibly be caught when he said “the first step had been a secret, involuntary thought, the second had been the opening of the diary, he had moved from thoughts to words, and now from words to actions.
The last step was something that would happen in ministry of love” (Orwell 159). Yet he still continues to rebel and is subjected to taking all the torture he knew would come his way; “Questioners new were not ruffians in black uniforms but party intellectuals, little rotund men with quick movements and flashing spectacles” (Orwell 241) in order to gain freedom.
Winston is showing characteristics of a hero because no matter what pain and consequences he is going through he is still willing to fight hard against being completely ruled by the government in order to live a free life-style. Winston shows how much of a hero he is when looking for O’Brien to join the brotherhood, saying that “We believe that there is some kind of conspiracy, some kind of secret organization working against the party, and that you are involved in it.
We want to join it and work for it” (Orwell 170). As O’Brian began asking questions if he is to fully committed to being a part of the brotherhood and Winston agrees, showing bravery for him committing thought crimes and other acts of rebellion.
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.