Cast of Characters

Winston Smith—Winston is the novel’s central protagonist, a minor bureaucrat who secretly hates the Party and dreams of joining an opposition movement.

Big Brother—His image displayed on posters that appear everywhere. He is the figurehead of the Party, though he may or may not be alive, and might never have even existed.

Julia—She is a younger woman who becomes romantically involved with Winston. She, too, hates the Party, but unlike Winston, can’t imagine defeating it.

O’Brien—He is an Inner Party official who fools Winston into thinking he is a member of the opposition. Later, he is Winston’s chief tormentor and interrogator.

Emmanuel Goldstein—Goldstein is supposedly a former Party leader who later betrayed the Revolution and leads an opposition group called the Brotherhood. He might exist, but he may also be a fabrication. His character is likely modeled on the real-life historical figure Leon Trotsky, a leader in the Russian Revolution later branded a traitor by Stalin.

Mrs. Parsons—A neighbor of Winston’s, she is a nervous and timid woman who seems to be fearful of her own children, one of whom later betrays her husband.

The Parsons’ children—A boy and a girl, they enthusiastically embrace the Party’s call to constantly be on the watch for traitors. The boy shoots a fake bullet at Winston and yells “Goldstein!” at him. The girl ultimately betrays her father to the Thought Police. They represent the Party’s success at undermining the family unit.

Parsons—On the one hand, he seems to represent the epitome of the unthinkingly loyal Party member. Still, even he cannot escape the Thought Police.

Winston’s father—Winston has only vague memories of the father who disappeared during one of the Party’s first great purges.

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Essays About 1984