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Winston's Downfall in 1984 Essay



George Orwells 1984 is a novel about a heavily controlled society. Life in Oceanian consists of no privacy, public mind control, government surveillance and perpetual war. Winston Smith is a civil servant and his fatalism and rebelliousness sets him apart from his nature. He has a strong hatred towards the Party and constantly tries to test the limits of it. In this novel, Winston was an example of outward conformity and inward questioning. His rebelliousness caused him to perform actions he wasnt allowed to but soon after Winston felt fear for he thought he would get caught. Life in Oceanian province of Airstrip One is not the best but of course the people are forced to believe that they are in the best times of their life. For them, life was supposedly worse before and through the generosity of Big Brother, they are living in a better environment. If the government says that two plus two is five when in reality it is four, the correct answer is five. Everything the government says is the truth and there are no other facts beyond it.

Winston is curious how and why the Party exercises such absolute power. He hates the Party with a passion but yet, he feels fear towards them. One of the reasons for his rebellion, and eventual downfall, is his sense of fatalism. He strongly believes that the Party would catch his act of rebellion and punish him severely. He wrote down in his diary Down with Big Brother but soon felt a rush of fear thinking the Thought Police would catch him for committing a Thoughtcrime. Keeping a diary was an act of rebellion on its own. People werent allowed to keep diaries since that allows them to think. Winstons brain and his body acts in complete opposite ways. He questions himself why he has to live by the rules of the Party but in public, he makes sure to be careful of his actions. He makes sure to rage during Hate and doesnt perform any suspicious actions in his own home since the government could see him through the Telescreen.

Party members were supposed not to go into ordinary shops ... ("dealing on the free market," it was called), but the rule was not strictly kept, because there were various things, such as shoelaces and razor blades, which it was impossible to get hold of in any other way.(Page 6) Winston enjoys small acts of rebellion to begin with, as he frequently visits ordinary shops in the prole district and purchases items from the past. Purchasing items from the past wasnt necessary because the government made up the past. If razor blades arent mentioned in their version of history textbooks, such items werent necessary. They were both breathing fast. But the smile had reappeared ... round the corners of her mouth. She stood looking at him for an instant, then felt at the zipper of her overalls. And, yes! It was almost as in his dream...By which a whole civilization seemed to be annihilated. (Page 157) Having dreamt of it for a while, Winston chooses his rebellion in Julia. He chooses to have sex with her as an act of rebellion and for his personal pleasure.

Winston eventually gets caught in his rebellious acts by the betrayal of OBrien. After months of torture, Winston outwardly obeys the Party, but inwardly does not resign his rebellious spirit. He obeyed the Party, but he still hated the Party. ... In the old days he had hidden a heretical mind beneath an appearance of conformity. Now he had retreated a step further: in the mind he had surrendered, but he had hoped to keep the inner heart inviolate. He knew that he was in the wrong, but he preferred to be in the wrong. (Page 229) Because he believes that he will be caught no matter what he does, he convinces himself that he must continue to rebel. He lives in a world lacking of any real hope so he gives himself false hope, fully aware that he is doing so.

Winston Smiths ultimate downfall is when he betrays Julia, the person he loved. He was threatened that dozens of hungry rats will eat his face. Scared by this, he screams that he wants Julia to be torture instead. OBrien was expecting this to happen and fully satisfied with this act, Winston was free to go. Winstons act of rebellion eventually caused him to conform inwardly and outwardly. Towards the ending of the book, Winston is sitting at the Chestnut Tree Caf, where dismissed Party members go to drink. He starts to reminiscence a moment of happiness with his mother and sister, but thinks it must be a false memory. He looks up and sees a picture of Big Brother on the Telescreen, making him feel happy and safe. As he listens to the war news, he reassures himself of both the great victory he has won over himself and his newfound love for Big Brother. Before, he was just outwardly conformed and inwardly questioned to himself but after all the torture, he seemed to have lost his true rebellious self. He had been tortured to love Big Brother and now he felt a sense of security when he saw Big Brother.

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