At the end of the story Winston appears - on the outside -
to love Big Brother.


But Orwell has told us - mataphorically - that
Winston's love for Big Brother is just a show.

To Orwell Today,

Dear Jackie Jura,

I read your response and I quite agree with it. Still, it does not change the point I wanted to make - that I disagree completely with the interpretation that Winston imagining "the long-hoped for bullet enters his brain" has any kind of metaphorical meaning as "birth into God's world". Anyway, there is not the slightest indication in the entire book that his dissidence includes any kind of religious belief. It consists of two essential things - clinging to rational thought (2+2=4) and romatic love to Julia. O'brien sets out to destroy the first and then the second and then Winston is ready to be executed. There is the dialogue between them at the end of chapter 3:

"Tell me" he (Winston) said "how soon will they shoot me?" "It might be a long time" said O'brien." You are a difficult case. But don't give up hope. Everyone is cured sooner or later. In the end we shall shoot you."

I think this makes things quite clear. The event hoped-for is a completely physical bullet entering Winston's brain and ending his life once and for all. From the party's point of view it marks the final successful "cure" of an "ill" mind, and as such to be hoped for (in this concept of "cure", by the way, Orwell anticipated the much later abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union). From Winston's point of view, it can be an event hoped for either because it would be the final release from his torture and degradation or because indeed he is contemplating such a final act of defiance inside his head in the very last seconds of his life. Either way, God and God's world have nothing whatsoever with it.

I have read the book quite a few times and know the passages to which you refer:

Winston's challenge was to pretend to O'Brien (and himself) that he DID love Big Brother while all the while still hating him:

"...He had hoped to keep the inner heart inviolate. For the first time he perceived that if you want to keep a secret you must also hide it from yourself. You must know all the while that it is there, but until it is needed you must never let it emerge into your consciousness in any shape that could be given a name. From now onwards he must not only think right; he must feel right, dream right. And all the while he must keep his hatred locked up inside him like a ball of matter which was part of himself and yet unconnected with the rest of him, a kind of cyst."

"...One day they would decide to shoot him. You could not tell when it would happen, but a few seconds beforehand it should be possible to guess. It was always from behind, walking down a corridor. Ten seconds would be enough. In that time the world inside him could turn over. And then suddenly, without a word uttered, without a check in his step, without the changing of a line in his face-suddenly the camouflage would be down and bang! would go the batteries of his hatred. Hatred would fill him like an enormous roaring flame. And almost in the same instant bang! would go the bullet, too late, or too early. They would have blown his brain to pieces before they could reclaim it. The heretical thought would be unpunished, unrepented, out of their reach for ever. They would have blown a hole in their own perfection. To die hating them, that was freedom..."

They are very remarkable words, and the ending of the book certainly leaves open the possibility that even while "loving Big Brother" he is keeping this bomb of hatred inside his mind, hidden even from himself, but that he really did let it burst out on the very last few seconds of his life.

But do you realise that all of this is a very typical and sophisticated use of none other than DOUBLETHINK, the ability to hold in your mind two contradictory things at once? I am sure that the irony did not escape Orwell. Winston Smith, like all dissidents, is a child of his time and place. The dissident who ENJOYS the work of falsifyng history and who writes such elegant newspeak that he is sometimes entrusted with composing Times editorials is using the party's own central technique of control in order to make his final act of defiance. For me, such touches make the book more convincing. Should such a horrific regime ever come into being (God forbid, if he exists) a dissident inside it would be like that, I am sure.

Adam Keller

Greetings Adam,

I have pointed out the references to the very word "God" in "1984" in previous essays and so your comment that there is "no God" in "1984" is incorrect. Orwell describes God as "the Spirit of Man". It has nothing to do with religion.

Metaphysically - not physically - in the closing paragraphs of the book, Winston is shot. Orwell actually uses the words "the long-hoped for bullet entered his brain". Obviously the reader of these words knows that Orwell wasn't describing a REAL bullet entering Winston's brain.

At the end of the story Winston appears - on the outside - to love Big Brother and now the Party probably WILL, as you insist, physically "shoot him".

But Orwell has told us - mataphorically - that Winston's love for Big Brother is just a show. On the inside - hidden deep away - Winston hates Big Brother.

All the best,
Jackie Jura

metaphysics - noun - the branch of philosophy that tries to explain reality and knowledge; study of the real nature of things; any process of reasoning thought of as abstruse or extremely subtle

metaphor - noun - an implied comparison between two different things; something concrete used to represent an idea, ie "a heart of stone"


Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~