Although he is deeply repelled by the pettiness and hypocrisy of life in society, Aldington does find in the world possible sources for individual redemption. What, for Aldington, are the...

  1. Although he is deeply repelled by the pettiness and hypocrisy of life in society, Aldington does find in the world possible sources for individual redemption. What, for Aldington, are the potentially saving experiences of life? Why do they seemingly fail to save George Winterbourne? 

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the potentially saving experiences of life is the sense of honor and dignity with which individuals embrace being in the world.  For Aldington, George is a hero precisely because he chooses honor and a sense of dignity that the world around him does not.  George realizes the futility in the emotional configuration between he, Elizabeth, and Fanny.  Part of his disenchantment and anxiety surrounding this set up is because he wishes to find a more dignified answer that they wish not to engage.  Both Fanny and Elizabeth have taken other lovers, preventing any reflection about the choices made and the lack of honor with which they approach life.  In the army, George comes to value the camaraderie amongst the soldiers with whom he fights.  He is repulsed by the undignified way in which life is so easily snuffed out through war. George values the honor in standing along side fellow soldiers amidst a condition that shows no respect for human life.  It is in these examples in which Aldington shows George to possess the capacity for individual redemption.  This is where his heroism lies as it represents potentially saving experiences of life.

George's approach to honor in the world hopes to bring meaning and redemption to a setting where both are not as present.  The people and settings around George lack his own sense of dignity and redemption.  Due to this, this aspect of George's condition potentially fails to save George.  Striving to find something worthwhile in the condition of No Man's Land or between Fanny and Elizabeth, George stands up to the hail of bullets that ends up killing him.  George's desire for dignity and honor in a world that would not reciprocate it does not save him from it.  Though possessing potential characteristics that could save him, George dies a hero embodying that which the world and the people in it lack.

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