A Helpless Hero in George Orwell's 1984

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A Helpless Hero

In the totalitarian society created in “1984” by George Orwell, the only factor one can

own is their rebellion. Of course the choice is available to defy Big Brother, but the

result is inevitable. You can live as a lie, or die as the truth – which will vanish just as the

one who revealed it. Orwell presents this “heroic” figure as just the opposite. Physically

and mentally, Winston is the exact opposite of the generic image of a hero. Winston

appears to be a lanky, skinny middle-aged man. Winston is a quiet, intelligent, pensive

man who in the end is the cause of his own demise. The interaction with certain

characters, the decisions he made, and didn’t make, all added to his strong, yet

vulnerable personality, which in the end caused this “failure.”

Elements that contributed to Winton’s downfall were his own intelligence and

reflectiveness. Winston naturally always questioned what reality really was as his work

for the Ministry of Truth is one of the most risky jobs; he knows everything. With

knowing the past, he creates the truth from scratch. Due to his curiosity, he constantly

questions his work, Big Brother, himself etc. The moment he wrote “DOWN WITH BIG

BROTHER” in his diary, he knew he would not live. His sense of paranoia about the Party

also is underlying; that the Party inevitably will catch him. With that, Winston knew that

those are all “thought crimes” and that no matter what, the Thought Police would come

after him.

Secondly, as mentioned above, his sense of fatalism coaxed him into taking unnecessary

risks. That carelessness ultimately led him to trust and confide in people without really

questioning it, as there was no reason to anymore. For example, trusting O’Brien and

renting the room above Mr. Charrington’s shop are decisions that the rational Winston

would not go through with. With him thinking he has nothing to lose, he ended up...
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