1984: Nineteen Eighty-four and Winston Smith Essay

Submitted By shannonkowal
Words: 650
Pages: 3

Kowal 1

In George Orwell’s 1984, the protagonist, Winston Smith, faces many different forms of torture, more specifically near the end of the novel. He is captured and taken to the Ministry of Love for betraying the Party. Winston is put through four different stages of torture. During this process, Winston loses his right to having his own thoughts and beliefs. The time leading up to, and once he betrays Julia it causes Winston mental pain; and he is faced with his biggest fear-rats. These are all examples that the worst torture Winston endures is purely mental, and not physical. To start, Winston loses the right to believe what he chooses when he undergoes the psychological torture with O’Brien. He uses physical pain to force Winston to believe what the party says is true, even if Winston knows keep down that it is a lie. The moment where Winston honestly believes what O’Brien is saying is after O’Brien repeatedly shocks him, and he finally sees five fingers, even though O’Brien was only holding up four: “But there had been a moment-he did not know how long, thirty seconds perhaps-of luminous certainty, when each new suggestion of O’Brien’s filled up a patch of emptiness and became absolute truth.” (270-271) Another example that shows Winston is losing the right to having his own opinions is in the middle of Winston’s torture; he is trying to tell O’Brien his own thoughts about the Party, but O’Brien stop him. Winston says, “You are ruling over us for our own good’, he said feebly. ‘You believe that human beings are not fit to govern themselves and therefore____’ He started and almost cried out… ‘That was stupid, Winston, stupid!’ he said. [O’Brien] (275) Winston completely loses the right to having a voice in his society. Next, as Winston undergoes torture, he would never think to betray Julia. However once he does, it really affects him. All Winston ever does is care and love Julia, and then he discovers that she betrays him right away. O’Brien says to Winston, “She betrayed you, Winston. Immediately-
Kowal 2 unreservedly. I have seldom seen anyone come over to us so promptly.” (271) Later on, once Winston is released, he runs into Julia and it is quite awkward: “There did not seem to be anything more to say. The wind plastered their thin overalls against their bodies. Almost at once, it was embarrassing to sit there in silence.” (306) The idea that Winston has now lost Julia, along with his freedom of thought and choice is