’ is a nightmare story concerning an authoritarian
state of the near future, and one man’s futile struggle against it.
The story documents the hero, Winston Smith’s tortuous path to final
acceptance of the system.He works in the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth, amending
documents and altering the past. One of the doctrines of the Party is “Who controls the past, controls the present”.
He is dissatisfied with the austere environment in which he has to live and
makes his first small step of rebellion by keeping a diary. He wrongly believes that a member of the Inner Party, O’Brien, is a kindred spirit. This man turns out to be Winston’s tormentor.
His acts of rebellion increase in that he has an affair with another Party member, and they set up a secret love-nest.
All citizens are observed by telescreens, which are placed in people’s
homes, in the streets, and in their workplaces, so that nothing is secret from the Thought Police, who control society.
Winston regards his sexual relationship with Julia as more than lovemaking,
but a political statement against the Party and against Oceania, the superstate in which they live.
There are two other such superstates, Eastasia and Eurasia, with whom Oceania has been at war at one time or another.
Believing that O’Brien is a member of the underground called The
Brotherhood, Winston tells him about his acts of rebellion. Unknown to both Winston and Julia, their liaisons have been monitored through a secret telescreen concealed in their rented room.
The inevitable happens. Winston and Julia are imprisoned and taken away by the Thought Police to the Ministry of Love in order to be cured, or rehabilitated.
It is not sufficient that they will be executed, this cannot happen until
they have been cured.
O’Brien is Winston’s main torturer and Winston receives not only physical
abuse, but also psychological torture.
The process that Winston has to go through is firstly learning, secondly, understanding and finally, submission. The final phase is achieved in the dreaded Room 101, where Winston is forced to face what he secretly fears most. Winston will do anything rather than face this fear, and he ends up betraying Julia, pleading that she should face his fear rather than him.
At the end, Winston is pleased to have been cured.
He feels gratitude and love for Big Brother.