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Compare the Relationship and Characters of Winston and O'Brien

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1984 by George Orwell is a book that paints a bleak picture for the future world. Published in 1950, the book predicts that the world will be run by three totalitarian super states by the year 1984. The World is now divided into three major states. Oceania - where the story unfolds, Eurasia and Eastasia. These three Super states maintain a constant state of war with each other in order to use up the products of man power. They do this to stop the betterment of the individual, to stop people improving their way of life. This is one of the many ways the Government maintain their totalitarian states. Oceania represents America. Eurasia represents Russia & Eastasia represents China. Great Britain is part of Oceania; however it has lost its identity now being known as Airstrip One. Oceania's government, "The Party", is symbolised by "Big Brother". Big Brother is the all Seeing Eye "BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU". Free thought is forbidden by big brother. It is not clear whether such a person as Big Brother actually exists, but he has a personality cult used by "The Party". Control is maintained by using "telescreens" that allow the "Thought Police" to watch any person at any time. ...read more.


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. ...read more.


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. ?? ?? ?? ?? English Literature Coursework: 1984 - George Orwell Compare the Relationship and Characters of Winston and O'Brien Paul Masterman Page 1 ...read more.

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