Compare the relationship and characters Essay
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As Winston continues to write his diary, he begins to write it as though it were for O’Brien to read. Despite the fact that Winston has been having a relationship with a woman called Julia, he still feels the need to look toward O’Brien for approval of his ideas. When O’Brien invites him to his house, Winston begins to believe that in fact, O’Brien is a conspirator against the Party. Winston visits O’Brien and admits to being a “thought criminal”.
O’Brien tells Winston that “The Brotherhood”, a shadowy organisation run by Emmanuel Goldstein that is working against “the Party”, does indeed exist.
O’Brien is thorough and concise in his explanation. We see very subtle clues however, that O’Brien could be leading Winston into a trap. He is unsurprised to hear Winston repeat the quote from his dream “we shall meet again in the place where there is no darkness” and repeats it himself as though it were repetition of a previously held conversation “‘in the place where there is no darkness’ he said, as though he had recognised the allusion.
” (Page 185) He also say’s earlier “we are the dead” (Page 183). This was something Winston had said earlier in the book that O’Brien couldn’t have heard unless he had been spying on him.
Despite this Winston’s admiration grows for O’Brien to almost worship. Again this reinforces Winston’s weakness. Despite the fact that O’Brien could easily be a member of the thought Police attempting to entrap him, he is quite willing to admit to being a thought criminal. Even though O’Brien gave off a suggestion that he may have been spying on him, Winston suspicion is not aroused and in fact his admiration of O’Brien is increased. O’Brien seems to be everything Winston is not. Winston is neurotic, nervous and physically weak.
He lacks the power to change the world he lives in and looks to others to take the initiative and lead him in his revolt against the system. O’Brien is so calm, cool and collected. He gives off an air of inner strength and power this is accentuated by his strong physical form. Despite this he also has a softer, kindly side to his nature. He seems to have all the answers to Winston’s questions and makes him feel safe “When you looked at O’Brien’s powerful shoulders and his blunt-featured face, so ugly yet so civilised, it was impossible to believe he could be defeated” (Page 183).
Winston shows all the classic signs of looking toward O’Brien as a father figure. Later on after receiving “the book” from O’Brien, a piece that Documents the true state of the world and how to bring down the party, Winston is captured by “The Thought Police” He is taken to the “Ministry of Love” There are no windows and the lights are constantly on. Suddenly the statement “the place where there is no darkness” comes into focus. What had seemed like a positive analogy with the Darkness alluding to the unpleasant world of 1984 is turned on its head.
What was really meant was that the place where there is no darkness is actually a jail, where the lights are never turned off. Winston still has a blind faith in O’Brien and futilely believes that O’Brien may try and save him. However, O’Brien and Winston are about to meet again, but their relationship is about to enter a new stage. When O’Brien appears at the door of his cell, Winston even now deludes himself into thinking that O’Brien has been captured.
However he soon puts Winston straight indicating that he is Winston’s incarcerator and telling him “You knew this Winston” and adds “you have always known it” (both Page 251). After a series of beating that degrade Winston to a state of almost complete humiliation, O’Brien begins to interrogate him. O’Brien begins by breaking him down with a series of torture techniques and drugs. In one instance, O’Brien takes Winston’s symbolic stance that “Freedom is the Freedom to say 2 + 2 = 4” and through a series of Electrocutions makes Winston start to believe that 2 + 2 actually = 5.
O’Brien tells Winston that by controlling memory and records, that “The Party” can dictate reality “who controls the past controls the future and who controls the future controls the past” (Page 260). O’Brien also tells Winston that they do not intend to punish him, but simply convert him to their ways of thought, before he is executed. O’Brien has undoubtedly become Winston’s tormentor, putting him through horrendous torture. He has broken Winston down and begins to undermine all of his free thinking ideas. O’Brien and Winston move toward a Teacher/Pupil relationship.
Like a promising student Winston questions O’Brien’s beliefs, forcing him to justify them. Whilst O’Brien almost sees Winston as a proti?? gi?? e, trying to show Winston the error of his ways “He had the air of a Doctor, a Teacher, even a Priest, anxious to explain and persuade rather than punish. ” O’Brien also displays an ability to read Winston’s mind. It may be that he has a telepathic power, but it could also be the scientific approach that O’Brien seems to take with everything he does. He is an expert in the subject of thought.
I believe that he has studied Winston in immense detail over many years and can actually predict his thought patterns. O’Brien has already thought out their conversations in his head and predicted Winston’s responses. He is an experienced interrogator and probable member of the Thought Police. It is likely he is able to pick up from a person’s expressions and body language what they may be thinking. I also think that the link between them may have seen O’Brien take a special interest in Winston, maybe the same thought patterns had crossed O’Brien’s mind at some stage in his life.
Eventually Winston is almost completely “cured”. However, he retains his love of Julia. O’Brien decides to expose him to his worst fear in Room 101. Winston wears a mask that allows rats to be released on his face. He has an immense fear of Rat’s and finally screams out for them to be released on Julia instead of him. Finally O’Brien has reached through into his soul and Winston is truly defeated. The book ends with Winston drinking coffee in a bar where Traitors live out their days before execution. Winston has abandoned all his ideas of free thought and rebellion.
He realises that rather than hating Big Brother, he actually loves Big Brother. O’Brien and Winston’s relationship goes through several stages. It starts with Winston seeing O’Brien as a hope, somebody who might be having the same thoughts as him. Then he believes O’Brien will be the freedom fighter who will put an end to the totalitarian state the world has become. Finally he becomes Winston’s tormentor, inflicting pain on him in order to “cure” him of his “disease”. Through all this though O’Brien and Winston’s relationship maintains a theme.
Winston looks up to O’Brien as somebody with immense Power, who can protect him and control his destiny. Even during torture when O’Brien is unseen Winston believes he is there, orchestrating the beatings and keeping him alive. He believes blindly throughout that O’Brien is his saviour. In the end perhaps O’Brien does become his saviour. Winston finally is released from the fear of Big Brother and detection for thought crime. He loves Big Brother and looks forward to his execution. In the end, despite the tragedy of his failure, Winston finally seems to be able to face his fate alone.