1984 Literary Essay: Winston Smith, Hero or Not?

Assignment Instructions
Respond to the following in the form of a short essay. Your essay should consist of at least five paragraphs.
George Orwell once offered this definition of heroism: ordinary people doing whatever they can to change social systems that do not respect human decency, even with the knowledge that they can’t possibly succeed.
In Winston Smith, the protagonist of 1984, Orwell creates an ordinary person, an “everyman” who stands for all the oppressed citizens of Oceania. Yet, as the novel closes, Winston cries as his love for Big Brother overwhelms him. Is Winston the novel’s hero, by Orwell’s definition? Is he a hero that readers can admire and emulate? Explain your position by tracing Winston’s actions throughout the novel and considering the results of those actions.
Cite specific examples from the novel in your response. Use the notes you take and the questions you answer in the Student Guide to help you formulate your response.

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