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How does Winston Smith display a sense of courage throughout 1984?

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tremblay94 | Student, Grade 11 | eNoter

Posted October 28, 2010 at 8:01 AM via web

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How does Winston Smith display a sense of courage throughout 1984?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 28, 2010 at 8:05 AM (Answer #1)

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I would say that Winston displays a sense of courage at most points in the book, right up until the time that O'Brien is about to let the rats go and eat through his face.  Really, his whole life for most of the book is one long act of courage.

If you think about it, so many things that Winston does in the book are putting his life in danger.  Just to give two examples:

  • he starts to keep a diary and he starts it with "Down With Big Brother."  Right there, he has committed himself to opposing the whole system -- this is an act that will likely lead to his death and yet he does it.
  • He starts an affair with Julia.  This is also something that could get him killed.  Even so, he starts it and he continues it.

Just about everything Winston does is in the book is illegal and can get him killed.  The fact that he continues to do them demonstrates courage.

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aiacia | eNoter

Posted October 26, 2012 at 1:28 AM (Answer #2)

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Yeah, I think I like this answer, Winston is not a coward at all, in fact he really was courageous (I think I have to write in the past tense, cause it's supposed that he's dead), it's just the treathing of rats that might open his face, that really made his breaking point!

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