“In 1984, discuss the ending of the novel. Explain precisely how and why the ending appropriately or inappropriately concludes the work.”
The ending of 1984 is not pleasant. The sense that love conquers all, or that good triumphs over evil is wanting in Orwell’s conclusion as he harshly tortures the main character, Winston, in to physical and physiological submission. Winston’s sense of self is brutally ripped from him and he, a weak human being, is unable to prevent this loss because the physical pain imposed on him by the government, in this case the party, limits his desire and ability to rebel. Winston succumbs, he gives in to mental slavery and in the process betrays his love Julia. Orwell’s conclusion of his novel 1984 is more than dismal to the majority of the readers, this is not to say it is a bad ending, but it definitely presents a dark and real concept; the importance of freedom and our limits as human beings. The reality of the matter is that Orwell’s goal in concluding his novel the way that he does is not to provide the reader with a sweet and comfortable taste but to stir thought and to open his audience’s eyes to the reality in which we live and the dangers of our actions as a society. Consequently, the ending of 1984 more than appropriately concludes the work because it is only through Winston’s painful and uncontrollable mental defeat that the audience can truly comprehend the horrifying consequences of a society controlled by a communist totalitarian government.
After Winston has been tortured, he comes to the realization that he is physically limited. Although he does not want to give in to the ministries ideas and although he does truly loves Julia, he accepts the ministries “truth” and undoubtedly betrays Julia for the sake of physical peace. With this Winston presents an important fact; we, as human beings are limited by our physical desires. “And perhaps you might pretend, afterwards, that it was only a trick and that you just said it to make them stop and didn’t really mean it. But that isn’t true. At the time when it happens you do mean it. You think there’s no other way of saving yourself and you’re quite ready to save yourself that way. You want it to happen to the other person. You don’t give a damn what they suffer. All you care about is yourself” (Orwell 292), says Julia when she is recapitulating her feelings as she betrayed Winston for the sake of stopping the torture. Later on Winston thinks to himself and realizes that this is true, “ He had not merely said it, he had wished it” (Orwell 293). The party knows that human beings are limited and use this fault against the citizens of Oceania. The torture, the sexual repression, room 101, pornosec, are all forms of physical control. Winston, at the conclusion, understands that as long as he remains limited by his body, there is no use in rebelling. In a way, he is a slave of himself and as mortal humans we all are.
Although it is not literally stated, it is understood that Winston will die in the end. In a way however, Winston is already dead. He has been ever since he first committed thought crime, “theyll shoot me I dont care theyll shoot me in the back of the neck I dont care down with big brother they always shoot you in the back of the neck in dont care down with big brother—” (Orwell 19). Winston knows that thoughtcrime is death and in the end in is death that awaits him. A difference from his original perception of death however is that Winston dies a slave. He dies mentally when he gives in to the party’s truth and he dies loving big brother. He knows that it would be rebellious to die hating the party, “They would have blown his brain to pieces before they could reclaim it. The heretical thought would be unpunished, unrepented, out of their reach for ever. They would have blown a hole in their own perfection. To die hating them, that was freedom” (Orwell 281). Winston however has...
Cited: Orwell, George. 1984: a Novel. New York, NY: Published by Signet Classic, 1977. Print.
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