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1984

Satisfactory Essays
1984, by George Orwell, depicts the psychological progression of Winston Smith, a rebellious citizen among an oppressive government. In such a government, each ministry deals with the polar opposite of its namesake, stupidity is as necessary as intellect, and Big Brother is always watching. Conformity is not the ultimate goal of the Party. It is a side effect of Two Minutes Hate, relentless torture, and a lack of meaningful relationships aside from the love of Big Brother. Orwell so vividly illustrates the crushing brutality of the Party in order to warn the reader that an absolute government with the power to drive a citizen to his or her breaking point will inevitably destroy the core of human drive and independence. Those with the power to exploit personal fears and control levels of commitment through torture can crush anyone, for “in the face of pain, there are no heroes” (Orwell 213). Throughout the novel, the government is notorious for torturing citizens of Oceania in the Ministry of Love. In order to exact true conversion to the Party, various forms of torture, both physical and psychological, are used. During the initial period of conditioning, fear, unpredictable bursts of pain, and repetition are used to destroy Winston's rebellious mindset. It begins with the beatings. At first they are every day, then the frequency wanes and they serve as more of a threat against thoughts of insolence. After this initial humiliation, a dial with numbers is introduced to Winston as a new mode of torture. O’Brien questions Winston and with each stupid answer or lie, the dial is turned to thirty, forty, or even eighty. The random occurrences of bursts of pain train him to be constantly aware of his thoughts in a way that he did not have... ... middle of paper ... ...absolutely necessary, forget something that I knew to be true. Even the concept that Winston can knowingly accept the Party’s lies while fully believing them to be true seems so contradictory to nature. In that way, the novel is fascinating because it reveals what would need to occur for an absolute conversion to lunacy. Therefore, the devolution of Winston’s psyche is especially interesting because it shows the utter destruction required to brainwash a person. Winston’s primitive survival instincts in conjunction with his intellect have to incorporate doublethink into his overall thinking process. This commitment to survival allows Winston to understand that for the Party, ‘reality’ is irrelevant and memories can be false. Orwell uses commitment as well as fear to portray an overwhelmingly grim world as a warning not to let the ruling parties obtain too much power.