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Winston Smith’s Downfall
In the repressive society of Oceania in 1984, Winston Smith lived a restricted life in which all activities were aimed towards the good of the Party. Political and intellectual freedom were completely non-existent. With no laws separating right from wrong, the whole population lived in fear, which resulted in easy control by the government. People who broke the law by committing “thoughtcrime” were dealt with by the Thought Police and were either “vaporized” or sent for rehabilitation at the dreaded Ministry of Love. The only kind of emotion the people were allowed to show was love for the Party; love was not permitted between husband and wife and minimally between parents and children. The children of this time were horrible, indoctrinated completely on the goodness of the Thought Police and Big Brother. Mandatory children’s groups, The Spies, encouraged children to turn their parents in if they were caught committing thoughtcrime. The English language was being destroyed by the Party, who’s language, Newspeak was beginning to become used more frequently. The object of Newspeak was to reduce the number of words in one’s vocabulary, therefore reducing one’s opportunity to have free thought. At the Ministry of Truth, Newspeak words were being used to transform all literary works of the past into an acceptable state for the present. It was factors such as these that prompted the intellectual rebellion and desire for knowledge which ultimately caused the downfall of Winston Smith.
As time passed, Winston Smith had a growing awareness of himself as an individual and of the fear that the Party invoked into every aspect of life. His decreasing ability to remember events of the past disturbed him, as he wondered what life was like before the Revolution. His rebellion towards the Party begins in a small way, when he begins to keep a diary for “the future, the unborn.” He began to go to the area of London where the proletariat class, or proles lived, in search of a connection to the past. He finds a man named Mr. Charrington who seems to be the tie to life before the Revolution, the owner of an antique junk shop with rooms for rent above it. His revolt takes a serious twist when he begins a forbidden love affair with a beautiful young girl named Julia. She, too, feels hatred toward Big Brother and the Party, but her defiance towards them were physical while Winston’s was emotionally and intellectually more than physically. The inevitable outcome of Winston’s actions became real as he and Julia are arrested by the Thought Police.
Locked away in the Ministry of Love, Winston Smith realized his fate. His desire for the freedom, his tragic flaw, was destroyed during his torture and severe brainwashing by the Party. A visit to the terrible Room 101 forces Winston to forget his prior values and thoughts. After a tremendous rebellion and rehabilitation by the party, Winston’s flaw ceases to exists, for “he loved Big Brother.” and belonged to the Party on all levels of life.
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Fiction, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Literature, Culture, Newspeak, Winston Smith, Thought Police, Thoughtcrime, Julia, Ingsoc, Proles, 1984
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