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The Psychoanalysis of 1984

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The Psychoanalysis of 1984

The social structure of George Orwell’s 1984 is based on Freud’s map of the mind and the struggles between the id, the ego and the super ego. The minds of these individuals living in this society are trained to think a certain way. Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis can be applied to Orwell’s 1984. Using Freud’s psychoanalytic approach, 1984’s main character Winston Smith is portrayed as the one who goes against the ideas of the Party. In a Freudian point of view, Winston’s character represents a mind where the id is the driving force and where the ego and superego are ill developed in the views of the Party. Freud describes the psychoanalytic process as something that is normally used to treat patients with metal disorders, and in the eyes of the party, Winston is seen as one that has a mental disorder. The procedure that Winston undergoes directly parallels Freud’s psychoanalytic process.

In the beginning, Orwell shows that Winston’s id takes over when he first decides to write in a journal. During his rush of rebellion, Winston’s id unconsciously forces him to write “Down with Big Brother” in his diary. Winston’s suppressed id drives him to act upon his ultimate thought and desire without filtering them through the ego and super ego. Winston’s id for an instant makes him believe that he is outsmarting the Party, however once he realizes what he as done Winston’s ill developed superego begins to kick in and he quickly becomes overwhelmed by the idea that he will be caught. In a Freudian perspective, Winston’s continuous anxiety of getting caught stimulates the id which then further influences him to rebel against Big Brother.

In Freud’s psychoanalytic process he explains how dreams can bring...

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...he views of the Party. "Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don't care what you do to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the bones. Not me! Julia! Not me!" (Part 3, Chapter 5). Winston’s mind is considered cured the moment that he turns on the one person her truly loves.

At the end of the novel, Orwell describes Winston as a cured patient who has over come his metal disease. “He had won the victory over himself: he loved Big Brother” (Part 3, Chapter 6). Both Freud and Orwell break down the components of a person’s mind in the same way. Orwell’s character, Winston, depicts the different parts of the human mind so described by Freud. In Orwell’s 1984, he uncovers the same components of a human mind as seen by Freud, the instinctual drive of the id, the perceptions and actions of the ego, and the censorship imposed by the morality of the superego.
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