2. Theintroductory chapters in George Orwell’s 1984,acquaint the reader with the harsh and oppressive world of Oceania. The readerexperiences this world through the perspective of Winston Smith, a protagonistin the novel. Orwell illustrates Winston’s life in a society that is controlledby a totalitarian regime; the Party. Like many other citizens in Oceania,Winston is subjected to physical and phycological cruelties, however, his individualisticand pensive qualities cause him to question the orders of the Party.
Hisability to recognize the oppression that is wielded upon the population, inducesa desire to rebel against the party. Winston expresses his lack of freedom andhis inability to fulfill his sexual desires, which strengthens his yearning torebel against the party. This is evident through the countless ‘crimes’ thatWinston has committed, for instance, Winston purchases a diary as a means ofself-expression. However, the act of writing in a diary promotes free-thinking,and develops emotional intimacy – which are shocking and ‘alien’ notions inthis society. This unpardonable crime is Winston’s first overt act ofrebellion. It is evident that Winston despised the Party’s oppression,presumably for most of his life, however, this event is when his hatred findsan active expression. The event is significant as it implies that Winston is nolonger an ordinary citizen of Oceania.
It is Winston’s ‘awakening’, which makeshim fundamentally different than others in the society. Orwell writes,”Orthodoxy is unconsciousness”, which implies that the population must unconsciouslyaccept everything that the Party proclaims, and any citizen that does notcompletely submit and accept the Party is considered “unorthodoxy”. Winston’s instinct to rebel and secretlywrite in a diary, signifies that he is unorthodoxy, as he opposes the views ofthe Party. In writing this diary, Winston also performs a “thoughtcrime”; athought 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.
Youmight dodge it successfully for a while, even years, but sooner or later theywere bound to get you”. This foreshadows that Winston will be caught in thenear future. In addition, this event also reveals an aspect of Winston’spersonality to the reader. It illustrates his sense of fatalism, as he passivelyaccepts that he has already been caught by the Party. Winston convinces himselfthat he will be caught, no matter the degree of the crime.
He knows thatcommitting more crimes will increase his chances of being caught, but hisparanoia and helplessness causes him to rebel even further. More over, the mereact of writing in a diary, depicts the extensive control of the Party. It helpsthe reader gain a better understanding of the totalitarian control over thepopulation. It is evident that Winston underwent extreme measures andprecautions while purchasing and writing in his diary.
Orwell uses Winston’sexperience to demonstrate the difficulty of rebelling against the Party.