"We've Got Work to Do"
Sacrifice, Heroism, and Sam and Dean Winchester
By Amy Garvey
Sacrifice isn’t part of my everyday vocabulary. I’m not usually asked to give up much that really means something to me. In my life, offering one of the kids the last chocolate chip cookie or missing an episode of Supernatural because somebody’s got a recital or a baseball game that ran long qualifies as a major hardship. (Stop looking at me like that.)
The Winchesters, on the other hand, have “sacrifice” stamped all over their well-fitting torn jeans. It’s not surprising–the Winchesters, as envisioned by Eric Kripke, are heroes, a family of men who fight the nastier elements of the supernatural and save lives in the process. And being a hero generally goes hand in hand with a boatload of sacrifice.
Look at some of the biggies, at least by popular culture’s standards: Superman, Batman, Buffy. Each of them heroes in their own particular way, and each of them missing a fair-sized chunk of what most folks want out of life.
The Winchesters aren’t superheroes, though. They lack the super strength, X-ray vision, or a whole bat cave full of techno-toys that have to go at least a little way toward easing the pain of missing out on a normal life. Dean and Sam Winchester are simple, sturdy Kansas stock, at least when we meet them, and no more super-powered than a couple of sawed-off shotguns, a working knowledge of Latin, and a fine example of American heavy metal can make them. And their choice of family business–”saving people, hunting …