George Orwell: 1984 - Minor Character Analysis

Authors Avatar


Syme – Parsons - Withers

'I think it spoils it when they tie their feet together. I like to see them kicking. And above all, at the end, the tongue sticking right out, and blue--a quite bright blue. That's the detail that appeals to me.' (52)

Winston’s Attitude towards Syme =

  • Winston’s attitude towards Syme can be glimpsed from the following excerpts:
  • “It was his friend Syme, who worked in the Research Department. Perhaps 'friend' was not exactly the right word. You did not have friends nowadays, you had comrades: but there were some comrades whose society was pleasanter than that of others.” (51)

        Clearly, one can see how Winston feels somewhat friendlier towards Syme as he says indirectly         says that Syme is ‘pleasanter’. Immediately, after the first counter, Syme is portrayed as a         character who is definitely closer to Winston that many other of his ‘comrades’.

  • “Unquestionably Syme will be vaporized, Winston thought again. He thought it with a kind of sadness, although well knowing that Syme despised him and slightly disliked him, and was fully capable of denouncing him as a thought-criminal if he saw any reason for doing so. There was something subtly wrong with Syme. There was something that he lacked: discretion, aloofness, a sort of saving stupidity. You could not say that he was unorthodox. He believed in the principles of Ingsoc, he venerated Big Brother, he rejoiced over victories, he hated heretics, not merely with sincerity but with a sort of restless zeal, an up-to-dateness of information, which the ordinary Party member did not approach. Yet a faint air of disreputability always clung to him. He said things that would have been better unsaid, he had read too many books, he frequented the Chestnut Tree Cafe, haunt of painters and musicians. There was no law, not even an unwritten law, against frequenting the Chestnut Tree Cafe, yet the place was somehow ill-omened. The old, discredited leaders of the Party had been used to gather there before they were finally purged. Goldstein himself, it was said, had sometimes been seen there, years and decades ago. Syme's fate was not difficult to foresee. And yet it was a fact that if Syme grasped, even for three seconds, the nature of his, Winston's, secret opinions, he would betray him instantly to the Thought Police. So would anybody else, for that matter: but Syme more than most. Zeal was not enough. Orthodoxy was unconsciousness.” (58)

        From this thought train, we can see that Winston is convinced of Syme’s fate however, there is         an element of sadness in it. Winston has no doubt that Syme cannot be trusted with any of his         own opinions as Syme would immediately betray him but nevertheless, he felt sadness engulf         him at the thought of Syme being vaporized. Besides, Winston views Syme as a very intelligent         and devoted member of the party. There is no admiration in Winston’s mind for Syme, who is the         role model the party wants to create in any party member; obedience, devotion, motivation,         orthodoxy, and zeal are all qualities which Winston suggests Syme to posses. However, Winston         also associates an element of sadness with Syme’s vaporization due to his intelligence and lack         of cautious self-conduction.

Join now!

Winston’s Description of Syme =

  • “He was a tiny creature, smaller than Winston, with dark hair and large, protuberant eyes, at once mournful and derisive, which seemed to search your face closely while he was speaking to you.” (51)

  • “His mocking eyes roved over Winston's face.” (52)

Winston’s description of Syme creates an image of a rather tiny yet very keen and intelligent ‘creature’. The important part about Syme’s appearances the portrayal of his eyes. They are described as protuberant and mournful and derisive. Moreover, they are repeatedly mentioned afterwards as well as the example of the ...

This is a preview of the whole essay