1984 Essay, Research Paper
There is a reoccurring theme in the novel 1984, by George Orwell. The main character, Winston Smith is often fantasizing about his utopia, and dreaming about past events. In a world where everyone is controlled and everything is decided for you, Winston relies on his subconscious mind to maintain his sanity.Winston works rewriting the past in a department for the Party. His memories of the past are usually the opposite of the Party’s version of the past. Winston is very confused about whether or not he is losing his mind. His dreams reveal the reality of the Party and the truth of the past, enabling him to trust his own instinct of what is right and wrong, keeping it clear in his mind what the past was really like. In one dream Winston envisioned his mother and his baby sister sinking into a well or lowering off the side of a ship – he wasn’t quite sure. He felt as if they were being sucked towards death. He knew they were sacrificing their lives for his own. Winston realizes “…that his mothers death, nearly 30 years ago, had been tragic and sorrowful in a way that was no longer possible” (Orwell 28). He believed that the feelings of tragedy, privacy, love, and friendship were things of past times. The memory of his mother’s death saddened him because he knew that she had died loving him, all the while he was too young and selfish to love her back. The loyalty his mother had for him does not exist in 1984. There is only fear and hatred and pain. Winston had another dream of the disappearance of his mother. He remembered a time of chaos and depression when he was about 10 or 12 years old. His father had disappeared sometime earlier. Food was scarce but his mother did what she could to comfort her children. Winston was always hungry, and that drove him to steal bits of food from his sister’s plate. “He knew he was starving the other two, but he couldn’t help it; he even felt he had a right to do it” (134). A chocolate ration had been issued and the family had a two ounce piece for the three of them. Winston, of course, demanded the whole piece. His mother responded by telling him not to be greedy. She gave him the majority of the piece and the rest to his little sister, but he stole it from her. She started to cry while Winston ran away with the chocolate. His mother held his baby sister in her arms, trying to console her. It did not produce more chocolate, but it was only natural for her to do it. His mother was an unusual woman, yet intelligent, noble and pure, “her feelings were her own, and could not be altered from the outside” (136). He realized that in those times if you loved someone, you loved them from the bottom of your heart, no matter what. If you had nothing else to give, you gave love. Contrasting this with today, Winston recognized that the Party persuades you to think that impulses and feelings are unimportant, ultimately robbing you of your power. Whatever happens really makes no difference, in the end you are vanished. What mattered then were individual relationships, nowadays people had become hard on the inside. Emotions are the only weapon against the Party, they cannot stop you from loving someone, because it isn’t something you can control. After he had eaten the chocolate he felt ashamed, but that lifted when hunger stroke again. His mother had disappeared by the time he had returned. While Winston was sitting in his cell at the ministry of love, a memory floated into his mind. He remembered playing a board game with his mother, while his sister watched. She had gone out to buy the game of Snakes & Ladders because Winston had been whining of boredom. It was a cracked board, and poorly made. Winston was very disappointed with it, but he became intrigued when his mother started to play. “For a whole afternoon they had been happy together, as in his earlier childhood”. “His affection for her had temporarily revived”(243). Winston suddenly pushed this thought out of his mind as if it were a false memory. At this stage of Winston’s life he no longer believed that this was the reality of the past, he thought it was a false memory. He could no longer distinguish between fact and fiction; he now believed the only love that existed was that for Big Brother. He did not want to admit that his memories of the past were the truth. This is the turning point for him, where he no longer uses his memories to guide him.In the same respect as his dreams, Winston fantasizes to keep his hopes up. He has fantasies about his utopia the Golden Country. The Golden Country was an old pasture with a path, and a molehole here and there. There were elm trees that swayed faintly in the breeze. Somewhere that couldn’t be seen was a stream with willow tress. Winston dreamt of the golden country so often that he wasn’t sure if he had seen it in real life. He had pictured Julia (at that time she was “the girl with dark hair”, before they had met) coming toward him in the field. She had thrown her clothes aside with a graceful, careless gesture. This impressed him. Not her nudity, but the way she did it. It was as though Big Brother, the Party and the Thought Police had been swept aside; you could do what you wanted a notion of ancient times. It was this possibility that gave Winston something to look forward to.When Winston and Julia met on their first getaway she took him to the countryside outside of London. It looked very similar to what he had seen before with a footpath, pasture and elm trees that swayed in the wind. Winston asked Julia if there was a stream nearby and she confirmed that there was. “It’s the Golden Country – almost”, Winston had told her (103). Julia and Winston acted out their desires, like in his fantasy. Julia was exactly what Winston had wanted. She wasn’t pure or perfectly good. He wanted her love, but also he wanted “the animal instinct, the simple undifferentiated desire: the force that would tear the Party to pieces”. This newfound love for Winston was like a blessing. It was his weapon against the party, in this lifetime that was definitely something to be grateful for. Furthermore, Winston had bought a glass paperweight from Mr. Charrington’s Antique shop. He found the inside very intriguing. It had a depth to it, even though it was transparent. He thought of the outside arch as the sky and the inside as a complete little world. He imagined he was inside, along with Julia and their apartment. The symbolism of this paperweight indicates that Winston feels protected from reality of the real world, the Party. The outside glass is his protection. The inside contains his Golden Country and perfect relationship with Julia, transparent and free of flaws. They have a stronger emotional bond than the average relationship of those days. This is his escape from the harsh reality.The dreams and fantasies that Winston has allow him to remain in a positive state of mind; it is because of this that the Party does not overpower him. Winston and Julia had a conversation about the lies of the Party. Julia learnt at school that the Party had invented airplanes. Winston argued that airplanes had been invented long before the days of the Party. Julia, also did not remember that 4 years prior, Oceania had been at war with Eastasia. She thought they had always been at war with Eurasia. The fact that Julia did not remember these things “frightened him a little” (127). Julia is clearly not the only person who doesn’t know this factual knowledge evident to Winston. Winston’s memory is what sets him apart from others. The Party has failed in making him believe their lies. He has won, so far, by remembering the truth and trying to remind others.Winston and Julia visit O’Brien at his home. They told him that they believed that there was a “…secret organization working against the Party” and they wanted to join (140). Without hesitation Winston agrees to: give his life, commit murder, commit acts of sabotage, betray his country, and even throw sulfuric acid in a child’s face. Neither Winston nor Julia agreed to be separated from one another. Winston is definitely devoted to oppose the Party, and it is evident that he would do whatever it takes. Although, from his dreams he has realized that his love for Julia is his firearm against the Party and he finds strength and support in her.When Winston began to regain his health in the ministry of love he began to dream a great deal. They were all surpassingly happy dreams. He would dream himself into the Golden Country with his mother, Julia and even O’Brien. “Such thoughts as he had when he was awake were mostly about his dreams” (227). Previously he had told O’Brien that he believed that even if he gave up, the spirit of mankind could overthrow the Party. He had almost completely given into the Party but he had not betrayed Julia. Winston did not want to give up the possibility that the Party could be destroyed. Finally, at the end of the story Winston gave into the Party, but willingly. He had made a good effort to remain an individual but he decided it just wasn’t worth the struggle any longer. Winston knows the truth deep down. We should learn from his example to trust our gut feelings and believe in ourselves. Winston didn’t let anyone change him and neither should we. It is important to find strength in yourself and in the relationships you have with others.
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