What does one think of when the word “hero” comes up? The meaning of a hero is affected with the main character in a book, play, or motion picture, which is usually identified with great qualities. But what if that is not the case? What if our hero is a cowardly guy with a varicose ulcer on his best ankle and is physically unsuited?
Meet Winston Smith, the primary character in George Orwell’s book, “1984”. Winston belongs to the Outer Celebration, and is under the judgment of the Inner Celebration, living under a mask that he is a devoted follower of Huge Bro as those who do not follow Big Bro are vaporized and are never to be seen again.
No one has the guts to rebel as even believing various ideas can result an individual to be vaporized, with everyone being enjoyed at every moment of the day. Winston feels annoyed through the Party’s laws as he can not even think what he desires and soon leads to him rebelling.
Winston’s journey reveals that he fails to rebel versus the party in the end. However, Winston is suggested to be a hero as a hero is validated through his actions, rather than by his ending; Winston reveals characteristics of a hero through rebellious mindset to do what is right, his bravery to rebel versus Oceanian law, and the perseverance to keep rebelling up until the very end, as emphasized in the book “1984”. In the very start of the book, Winston currently shows attributes of a hero as he commits acts of rebellion against the unjust laws of the Party. He frequents the Prole district and stores in normal shops; buying numerous products from the past. In Oceania, the act of purchasing such items is against the law as “Party members were supposed not to go into regular shops” (Orwell 6).
Winston slips through the district and buys a journal as “At the time he was not conscious of wanting it for any particular purpose. Orwell 6)The fact that Winston buys products from the Prole district often shows how he enjoys doing these defiant acts considering that it permits him to go back to the past. Winston shows his defiant mindset again as he repeatedly writes “in big cool capitals DOWN WITH BIG BRO” (Orwell 18).
Winston can not openly revolt since Oceania is filled with telescreens to spying neighbours. There are even occasions such as the Two-Minutes Hate where citizens comply with propaganda. Winston rebels by his eyes as “there was an area of a couple of seconds throughout which the expression of his eyes may conceivably have betrayed him.” (Orwell 16) Winston is a defiant male who revolts for flexibility in a totalitarian society, demonstrating how he validates his actions as a hero.
After Winston staggers through thinking of whenever he must rebel even more, he satisfies Julia quickly later on and chooses to rebel together. He no longer wonders if he should rebel, he rebels due to the fact that it is the right thing to do to acquire liberty. He formally begins his disobedience with Julia by making love to her “even if it were just as soon as in his entire life. The sexual act, effectively carried out, was disobedience. “(Orwell 68). This shows how Winston is brave by even getting in touch with Julia, as it can end in both of them being vaporized in the end.
Winston continues his act of bravery by pursuing a location where he and Julia can continue rebelling in private; he leases the space above the antique store. Here, the both of them commit more criminal activities that might entitle them to death. For instance, Winston stops “to talk with Mr. Charrington for a couple of minutes on his way upstairs.”(Orwell 150) in a society in where trust is unusual. Winston likewise pertains to this space to discuss more acts of rebellion with Julia, and naturally, they also continue to make love in spite of it protesting the law.
Winston achieves the title of a real rebel when he looks for O’Brien to sign up with the Brotherhood, stating that “We believe that there is some sort of conspiracy, some sort of secret organization working against the Celebration, which you are involved in it. We want to join it and work for it.”(Orwell 170) At this point, Winston recognizes that there is no turning back as O’Brien “started asking his concerns if he is to completely commit to being a part of the Brotherhood and Winston concurs, revealing excellent bravery for dedicating believed criminal offense and other acts of disobedience. His bravery for devoting these bold acts reveals Winston in a heroic light, as he combats the Celebration with much heavier criminal offenses.
Winston is dead set to persevere up until the very end. His ultimate goal is “to pass away hating them”- with “them” referring to the Party and Big Sibling. Winston does not reject that he would be captured; “The primary step had actually been a secret, involuntary idea, the second had been the opening of the diary. He had moved from ideas to words, and now from words to actions. The last action was something that would happen in the Ministry of Love.” (Orwell 159) However, he continues to rebel by enduring both physical and mental torture; with “questioners now were not ruffians in black uniforms however Celebration intellectuals, little rotund guys with quick motions and flashing spectacles” (Orwell 241).
Soon, he deals with O’Brien torturing him through electric shocks so Winston can be transformed into caring Big Sibling, where Winston still doubts the certainty of the Party. O’Brien brings up that “The earth is as old as we are, no older. How could it be older? Nothing exists other than through human awareness.” (Orwell 265) Winston retorts back, saying “However the rocks are full of the bones of extinct animals– mammoths and mastodons and enormous reptiles which lived here long before male was ever become aware of.” (Orwell 265) Winston “obeyed the Party, however he still hated the Party.” enough to say “I hate him” (Orwell 282), positioning a problem to the Party as one must accept the Celebration or Big Brother completely.
Being broken, Winston “knew that he was in the incorrect, but he preferred to be in the wrong.” showing that he still has the drive to continue to fight for freedom, as he still desired it severely. This triggers him to go to Space 101- and he betrays Julia due to his fear of rats. It is easy to see that everyone ends up betraying what they like most, as the function of the abuse is to change anything you enjoy most with Big Bro.
His perseverance shows how Winston- in spite of failing- is a heroic character as he attempted to hate Big Sibling up until the very end. The cautionary tale of “1984” highlights Winston as a hero through his dedication to rebel as far as he could, his nerve for acting in rebellion, and showing the ideal mindset for what is right; making him an outstanding lead character for a hero is defined through what one does, and not by what takes place to the hero.
Albeit the awful ending, does Winston’s failure to reach his goal knock him from a hero status? In the end, the trustworthiness of Winston being a hero is ultimately up to the reader as he can just be a hero if he fits the meaning of a hero. The question is, what is a hero?