2. acquaint the reader with the harsh and

2. The
introductory chapters in George Orwell’s 1984,
acquaint the reader with the harsh and oppressive world of Oceania. The reader
experiences this world through the perspective of Winston Smith, a protagonist
in the novel. Orwell illustrates Winston’s life in a society that is controlled
by a totalitarian regime; the Party. Like many other citizens in Oceania,
Winston is subjected to physical and phycological cruelties, however, his individualistic
and pensive qualities cause him to question the orders of the Party. His
ability to recognize the oppression that is wielded upon the population, induces
a desire to rebel against the party. Winston expresses his lack of freedom and
his inability to fulfill his sexual desires, which strengthens his yearning to
rebel against the party. This is evident through the countless ‘crimes’ that
Winston has committed, for instance, Winston purchases a diary as a means of
self-expression. However, the act of writing in a diary promotes free-thinking,
and develops emotional intimacy – which are shocking and ‘alien’ notions in
this society. This unpardonable crime is Winston’s first overt act of
rebellion. It is evident that Winston despised the Party’s oppression,
presumably for most of his life, however, this event is when his hatred finds
an active expression. The event is significant as it implies that Winston is no
longer an ordinary citizen of Oceania. It is Winston’s ‘awakening’, which makes
him fundamentally different than others in the society. Orwell writes,
“Orthodoxy is unconsciousness”, which implies that the population must unconsciously
accept everything that the Party proclaims, and any citizen that does not
completely submit and accept the Party is considered “unorthodoxy”.  Winston’s instinct to rebel and secretly
write in a diary, signifies that he is unorthodoxy, as he opposes the views of
the Party. In writing this diary, Winston also performs a “thoughtcrime”; a
thought that is considered ‘illegal’, as it that can pose a threat to the Party.
As Winston frantically writes “DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER” several times in his diary,
he states “thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You
might dodge it successfully for a while, even years, but sooner or later they
were bound to get you”. This foreshadows that Winston will be caught in the
near future. In addition, this event also reveals an aspect of Winston’s
personality to the reader. It illustrates his sense of fatalism, as he passively
accepts that he has already been caught by the Party. Winston convinces himself
that he will be caught, no matter the degree of the crime. He knows that
committing more crimes will increase his chances of being caught, but his
paranoia and helplessness causes him to rebel even further. More over, the mere
act of writing in a diary, depicts the extensive control of the Party. It helps
the reader gain a better understanding of the totalitarian control over the
population. It is evident that Winston underwent extreme measures and
precautions while purchasing and writing in his diary. Orwell uses Winston’s
experience to demonstrate the difficulty of rebelling against the Party. 


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