1984 & Human Insanity

Topics: Nineteen Eighty-Four, Paradox, Interrogation Pages: 3 (921 words) Published: March 6, 2007
In 1984, George Orwell's Party's definition of sanity and salvation is a paradox to the real definition of sanity and salvation. The author used the protagonist, Winston Smith, to portray the "insane" but real definition of sanity. During the interrogation process, O'Brien, a member of the Inner Party and supposed Brotherhood, is trying to prove to Winston that he persuades himself that he remembers events that never happened and that he is "...unable to remember real events" (203). O'Brien then mentions an example about three men who were falsely accused and that Winston actually held the evidence proving them innocent in his hand was all a mere delusion. After O'Brien showed Winston the document in which he thought he had seen, he soon realized that he had. Once Winston had glanced at it, the document vanished as O'Brien tossed it into the nearest memory hole and told Winston that it did not exist--that he was insane. Winston kept strong in believing that he had seen it before and that he was sane (204). After more questioning, Winston was worn out from the electrical shock dial that O'Brien kept increasing as Winston gave an incorrect answer. O'Brien then asked him if the past had real existence. Winston, feeling helpless, did not know the right answer or if the right answer was even right. He didn't know whether "yes" or "no" was the answer that would save him from the pain (205). He was so mentally confused that he did not which answer he felt was correct. The way he thought was said to be insane, yet he never wondered if he was. Sanity lies in what the government wants you to believe and Winston doesn't want to believe in it; therefore, he was insane. This is a paradox because it has contradictory qualities to the real definition of sanity. Orwell used the antagonist, the Party, to portray the "sane" bug apparent definition of sanity. Again, during the interrogating, O'Brien tells Winston that he makes up imaginary things and doesn't remember what really...
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