1984 George Orwell Discussion Questions

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14. Following his capture in Mr. Charrington’s spare room, Winston undergoes a process of “philosophical cleansing” and re-education against which he valiantly, but unsuccessfully fights. Discuss Winston’s “capitulation” at the hands of O’Brien. How is Winston brought to “love Big Brother?” In sacrificing Julia, how has Winston, in essence, signaled his own end? Classically, O’Brien broke Winston with fear and pain. Winston was shocked, beaten and starved almost to the point of death, but throughout all of it, he had not betrayed Julia, yet. When O’Brien brought out the rats, Winston’s worst fear, in Room 101, he had the option of betraying Julia or allowing the rats to eat his face. “The mask will fit over your head, leaving no exit. When I press this other…show more content…
These starving brutes will shoot out of it like bullets. Have you ever seen a rat leap through the air? They will leap onto your face and bore straight into it. Sometimes they attack the eyes first. Sometimes, they burrow through the cheeks and devour the tongue”(Orwell 299). Fear consumed Winston completely and utterly. Like anyone in a situation as this, anxiety took over Winston and he eventually shattered into a million glass shards. “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!”(Orwell 300). In 1984, everyone is for themselves and it is a free for all. Winston had no choice but to abandon Julia because Winston thought of himself first. At that time when Winston heard the click of the cage, he only thumped terror all around his body. The terror absorbed Winston to the point that he didn’t have room to think of Julia’s safety, but only his. Terror is a very compelling emotion that can drive you to do anything you thought you weren’t capable of and it will consume
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