George Orwell “1984” Essay
George Orwell “1984”
In George Orwell’s “1984”, Winston Smith and Julia live in Oceania, where their actions become a subversive force that the “Party” must control. Oceania, located in Europe, represents a totalitarian society in its purest form during the 1940s. Many aspects of Wilson’s and Julia’s daily life in Oceania are monitored and controlled by the “Party.” From the telescreen to the thought police, every action is under constant surveillance. In order to rebel against Big Brother, Winston and Julia commit a series of crimes without knowing that O’Brian, a member of the Inner Party, is watching them intently. O’Brian then deceives Winston and Julia into believing that he is part of the revolutionary group called the Brotherhood. Winston and Julia’s betrayal becomes inevitable after their capture because of the psychological supremacy of O’Brian and the Party. Winston’s physical and mental torture and brainwashing by O’Brian and the Ministry of Truth in the name of the Party is what ultimately leads to his psychological break down.
Winston’s rebellious character portrays him as a radical, who has the strength to defy the party and its principles. Winston and Julia secretly meet and it becomes apparent that she shares his rebellious ways. Learning that she has engaged in sexual acts with numerous Inner Party members, Winston finds hope. Winston and Julia, however, rebel against the Party for different reasons. Winston wants to end the harsh oppression of the party while Julia’s rebellious acts are more self-centered. Winston first demonstrates his hatred of the Party and Big Brother when he writes in his diary “DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER”. He knows at that very moment a camera might see the written words on the page. Winston continues to flirts with possible arrest by the “Thought Police” for a thought crime, which is any written or though of rebellion against the Party.
Julia’s rebellious behavior is more to gratify herself, rather then the destruction of the party. Julia defies the party in search of personal pleasure. She is content with her life in Oceana because she does not consider a better life not under the oppression of the Party. Julia is interested in the present time with Winston, rather than in exposing the Inner Party secrets. Julia is more rational then Winston because she sets up secret gatherings in places where she knows they will be safe. At Winston’s and Julia’s first private meeting, Julia’s true colors begin to shine. Cautiously, Winston asks, “Have you done this before?” and Julia replies, “Of course. Hundreds of times-well, scores of times, anyway replied Julia.” Here Julia enlightens Winston about the corruption within the Party, which is music to his ears. Winston is pleased to hear that corruption exists within the Inner Party because the Party is supposed to have very strict rules and regulation that do not allow corruption within. Winston knows that any anarchy that exists within the Party is a sign that corruption can take over and lead to the Party’s defeat.
Winston believes the Proles are the only group who can organize and revolt against the party. Winston considers the Proles, who are outside of the Outer Party and who live in the worst conditions as the main laborers in Oceania, as “…human beings,” while he mentions, “we are not human.” At this point Winston has complete disregard for the Party even though any thought against the Party’s ways means death. Winston reckons that hope for freedom lay only in the hands of the Proles and in turn, the Proles are the only source of revolt for Winston.
Even though Winston and Julia start helping each other, they eventually commit crimes that lead to each other’s betrayal. Their subversive behavior comes to the attention of the Party and eventually leads to their capture. Winston and Julia arrange secret times to meet in the forest and in the upstairs bedroom of Mr. Charrington’s shop. They do this even though they are well aware of the fact that the Party would vaporize citizens of Oceania who are considered threats and have their entire existence erased.
After the capture of Winston and Julia, O’Brian tortures Winston physically and psychologically to the point where there is no emotion left inside him, besides the love for Big Brother. “But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.” There is no will to fight left within Winston. The only things that he held with importance were Julia and the idea that one day, the Brotherhood would thrive. O’Brian breaks him down and takes away the one person he cherished. When he loses his feelings towards Julia, all of his
will is lost and the only love he has is for Big Brother. O’Brian does not want to simply torture Winston, but to psychologically force him to forget his past ways and accept Big Brother.
Even though O’Brian is able to successfully brainwash Winston and Julia into contradicting their prior beliefs, at first Julia still thinks that the Party “can make you say anything-anything- but they can’t make you believe it. They can’t get inside you.” Soon, however, she figures out that this is utterly wrong. Julia is ignorant as to how much power the Party holds. She believes that they could force you to say anything, but could never force you to feel or think a certain way. In reality, O’Brian does indeed have the psycholog
ical power to not only make one believe something, but to wish it as well. “They can’t get inside you,” she had said. But they could get inside you. “What happens to you here is forever,” O’Brian had said. Here Julia and Winston realize how wrong they are. O’Brian uses the only thing in the world that can make Winston betray Julia. O’Brian breaks Winston down with the torture and at this point he realizes he no longer feels the same way for Julia because he has betrayed her. “At the time when it happens,” she had said, “you do mean it.” He had meant it. He had not merely said it, he had wished it. Winston was no longer mentally capable to withstand O’Brian’s force to change him.
By means of torture O’Brian physically and mentally forces the love of Big Brother upon Winston. O’Brian accomplishes this goal by the torture in room 101. The room plays a significant role when Winston is locked up in the Ministry of Truth because a fellow prisoner tells him that he would do anything not to return to room 101. The room instills a sense of fear into Winston. O’Brian cleverly sets Winston up so that the only way out of room 101 is to place someone else in his shoes. O’Brian wants Wilson to betray Julia, and when faced with his greatest fears he breaks down and says, “Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don’t care what you do to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the bones. Not me! Julia! Not me!” Winston is put against the one thing in the world that he loves. O’Brian believes that in time of fear one will do anything to get himself out of the situation. He wants Winston to give up Julia because he knows that she is the one person that could raise Winston’s spirits. Once Winston betrays Julia, he can no longer confine in her and therefore ultimately forced to be alone. Winston has no choice but to confine in and seek the love of Big Brother.
The subversive force the Party had to control was Julia’s sexuality and Winston’s pursuit for the truth. They had to contain it before Winston’s beliefs spread to the people of Oceana. The Thought police would observe the people and cameras on the streets, so that no one would consider opposing the Party. “Thought crimes” and “face crimes” were thoughts and facial jesters that showed the Inner Party that rebellion was within. The thought police would arrest residents of Oceana for even the thought of deviance towards the Party. Winston and Julia believed they were stronger then the Party and that they could outsmart it.
Their love for each other turned to a love for Big Brother after the psychological breakdown by O’Brian and the Party. O’Brian took them to the point where nothing was tolerable, and the only option was to give up the person you love and put them in your shoes, so that you would not have to endure it. At this point, there was no longer a will to stay together and deceive the Party. Once Wilson had been brainwashed and betrayed Julia, he was no longer the same person. “Under the spreading chestnut tree I sold you and you sold me” emphasizes just how betrayal became the downfall of Winston’s and Julia’s subversive force.