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Word Count: 485
Interpretation of Todorov Todorovs text Facing the Extreme defines and categorizes the idea of virtue by using real examples found in texts poems and diaries of survivors of the extreme times leading up to and during World War II The heroic idealism of soldiers such as Colonel Okulicki General Tadeusz Bor-Komorowski and Brigadier-General Tadeusz Pelczynski is overwhelming It is apparent that it would be harder to deter these men even than it would be to pronounce their names correctly It was their belief that any shortcomings that their supplies brought them could be compensated for by the sacrifice of Polish sweat and blood The portrayal of these military figures is ripe with direct references to heroic values such as courage perserverance loyalty etc However Todorov states later that there are also ordinary values that are much more suited towards applications in times of peace These values are dignity caring and the life of the mind While all of these values in essence are good they can conflict with each other For instance dignity is the epitome of freedom while caring demands some restriction of freedom According to Todorov there are two classes of virtues those of heroism and ordinary virtues Heroism implies an incredible act that pursues the upholding of some ideal whether possible or not with complete loyalty to that abstract concept The hero may fight against society making him extraordinary in order to introduce an abstract notion such as the nation into infamy On the other hand ordinary virtues can be seen as those on a smaller scale but that is not to say that they are any less valuable While heroism serves the concept ordinary virtues serve the specific individual recipient of the deed Todorov presents two versions of heroism as well Heroism is characterized by the value put on the ideal a value higher than that put on the heros own life Death is the ultimate end to the heros
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