Winston Smith's Evolution in Orwell's 1984

Topics: Nineteen Eighty-Four, Ingsoc, Future Pages: 3 (1234 words) Published: March 23, 2006
Orwell's 1984

Eleven years prior to the beginning of the action in 1984, Winston Smith accidentally comes across a photograph of three men: Jones, Aronson, and Rutherford. The "party" had contrived a plot to prove the three guilty of treason. The picture, however, because of its true location and date in relation to the party's false scenario, shows the men's innocence. The picture provides Orwell's protagonist, Winston Smith, with "concrete, unmistakable evidence of falsification" of the past (64). Winston finally realizes, eleven years after the fact, that he held in his hands a document that could "blow the party to atoms" (67). For thirteen seconds before sending the picture into the memory chute, Winston Smith had in his hands the fate of Oceania. Winston latently wants that power again, and the novel is propelled by that desire. Winston's entries in the diary that he bought from Mr. Charrington provide the first signs of his desire to regain that power. However, writing what he can remember as the truth in his diary does not release him from the control of the inner party, from his pigeonhole of mental duress. The party controls every facet of his being, including his dreams, in which the only remnants of his past surface. Therefore, to realize the truth about his past, in his time away from work, he must physically remove himself from anything that represents the party. He must leave the alcove in which he writes; he must leave the Victory coffee, cigarettes, and gin, and he must escape at least the idea of the telescreen in his apartment to know what is truly happening around him. As O'Brien says, "Who controls the present controls the past" (204). In the room above Mr. Charrington's shop, Winston finds a way to leave the party mentally, to control the present, and to consequently control his past. One focal point of Winston's journey and a symbol of, among other things, control over the present, is the paperweight. Prior to his purchase of the...
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