Winston Smith Symbolism

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In the book 1984, George Orwell uses symbols and imagery within the setting to shape the main character, Winston Smith. Winston is put into a world that he does not fit into and tries to defy all odds. The symbols Orwell uses include Big Brother himself, he is seen on a poster, with the words “Big Brother is watching you”. He is seen as a man gazing down, always watching the citizens. Big Brother symbolizes the Party in its public demonstration; it reassures most, but is also a threat. The poster is a vague representation of how vague the party is too; it made Winston question if Big Brother actually existed. Yet a more physical way for the government to show their presence is to watch the citizens of Oceania through telescreens. They symbolize…show more content…
Winston is alone and seeks people for guidance; he feels that he is weighed down by something he is yet to understand. In the second paragraph of the book he is described as a thirty-nine year old with a “smallish, frail, figure, the meagerness of his body merely emphasized by the blue overalls… his hair was very fair, his face naturally sanguine, his skin roughened by coarse soap” (1984 pg. 2). This is not a natural appearance for a 39 year old - so why is he this way? It’s because the world he lives in has affected him in such a way to be like this. In Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron, certain devices weigh down the main character in order to equalize him with the others. This short story is dystopian; an offshoot to Orwell’s utopian world. Winston too is weighed down by his own society; he is forced to be a lesser version of himself, all for Big Brother. They don’t do anything to physically change him, but if he is thought to break the rules or is simply too smart for his own good, off to the Ministry of Love. In the end, Winston decides to break the rules - he is prepared to die in the name of…show more content…
Charrington, the shopkeeper, seems like a sweet old man, but surprises Winston by being part of the thought police. When the time came, Winston saw Mr. Charrington for the man he was, "he gave Winston a single sharp glance... And then paid no more attention to him...the alert, cold face of a man..." (pg. 224). Orwell made Winston and the reader believe he was a good man, because how could an old man harm anyone? Yet with this, we learn that no one can outsmart Big Brother. In most stories and movies the characters find a way to escape and that's what us readers assume is going to happen. Yet the point of Winston not succeeding, was to teach the lesson that some governments are unbeatable. They are always a step ahead and there's no catching up; only more destruction to something that was so wonderful. When the government captures Winston, his precious paperweight shatters. The paperweight symbolizes his attempt to reconnect with the past, but once it shatters all is lost. Winston is then sent to the Ministry of Love where he meets O’Brien in “the place where there is no light”. O’Brien looks like a trustworthy leader just at a glance, but didn’t surprise Winston when he was not. It seems that Winston is so sure that O'Brien was part of the Brotherhood and everything seems to fall into place. The meeting, the book, all of it, almost seemed too good to be true. What O’Brien did to Winston was what he had planned all along; it was to let him be happy and then take away all
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