Governments can lead their populations to be their own and do great things, or it can take total control and brainwash their society into believing everything they tell them. In the book 1984, George Orwell explores the human mind when it comes to power, control, and corruption. The protagonist, Winston, wrestles with oppression in a dystopian society where individuality doesn’t exist. This book is set in Oceania, a place where the Party scrutinizes human actions with its leader Big Brother, who seeks control over the population by implementing restrictions, surveillance, and propaganda. The main characters of 1984 reveal themselves to be good, righteous people who struggle against a controlling government.
Initially, the characters of 1984 are good because they have a need to be brave to get through the struggling times the government puts them through. To Begin, Winston describes the nightmarish world he lives in by introducing it as “you had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every moment scrutinized” (Orwell 6-7). The characters are forced to be brave because he lives in the dark, pessimistic world the government has created. Furthermore, when Winston returned to the room, “his mother had disappeared…Nothing was gone from the room except his mother and his sister” (135).
Winston never knew what happened to his mother and sister, but always suspected they had been vaporized. He had to be brave because he didn’t have his family anymore and was all alone. Lastly, O’Brien tortures Winston through the three reintegration stages of “learning, understanding, and acceptance” (215). Winston has to be brave because of the cruel torture O’Brien is putting him through, so his perspective will alike with the government’s. So overall, 1984 characters were brave to get through times of struggle.
Secondly, the characters of 1984 are good because they fight for better conditions. To start, Winston demonstrates his defiance and revolutionary view by using a diary as a secure place to keep his thoughts, for example, repeatedly writing “down with Big Brother” (19). Even Though Winston is aware expressing or even having thoughts against Big Brother is considered a thought crime, he can’t accept their philosophy.
Moreover, Winston writes about the present so that people in the future will have an accurate view of the past (35). Winston wants future generations to know what a harsh world it used to be, so they have true knowledge about the past in case future governments will try to hide it from them. Finally, Winston goes against the party and O’Brien and explains that even though the party says two plus two equals five, it actually equals four (206). Winston defies the government’s point of view and says what is correct and the truth. In conclusion, because they fought for better conditions, the 1984 characters are good.
On the other hand, people believe the characters of 1984 are intrinsically corrupt people who should not serve the role of protagonists because they do bad things. First of all, Winston has an illegal relationship with Julia (106). The characters are corrupt because Winston’s affair with Julia boosts his ego and so continues with hope other rebels will unite with him against the party. Next, it is revealed of Julia that “she had her first love affair when she was sixteen, with a party member of sixty” (109). Julia is a corrupted character because she just sleeps around with different party members. This argument displays hasty generalization because not every character in Oceania has their first loved affair at age sixteen.
Lastly, after Winston and Julia’s journey together, played is “under the spreading chestnut tree, I sold you and you sold me” (241). Julia and Winston are both corrupted characters because even though they had feelings for each other they call each other out in an attempt to protect themselves. This argument shows hasty generalization because not every character in Oceania gets caught for doing something bad and sells out someone close to them in attempt to save themselves To conclude, though others believe the characters are corrupt and should not serve as protagonists, their ideas prove to be false.
In Conclusion, the main 1984 characters show themselves to be good people who struggle against a controlling government throughout the story. The characters are good because they need to be brave to get through struggling times the government puts them through. Also, they are righteous because they rebel against the party because what the government is doing wrong. In this story, the government controls and brainwashes its society into believing everything they tell them.
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