Homework Help

In 1984 by George Orwell, how does Big Brother affect the development of Winston?

user profile pic

stephanaynay623 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 1, 2013 at 4:42 PM via web

dislike 1 like

In 1984 by George Orwell, how does Big Brother affect the development of Winston?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 2, 2013 at 1:03 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

Winston defines himself in stark opposition to Big Brother.  Yet, in a complex way, Big Brother helps to give reason to Winston's existence. He becomes so subsumed with rebelling and eliminating Big Brother's sense of totalizing control that Winston is unable to sense that he will never be able to overcome the magnitude of Big Brother's rule.  Big Brother's demands are what Winston rebels against.  For example, his sexual affair with Julia is motivated as an act of political resistance against Big Brother as opposed to anything in terms of intimate emotions for Julia.  This same of defiance to Big Brother is what drives him to keep the diary.  In these instances, Big Brother impacts Winston, who sees his own existence as something that must counter Big Brother's.  

Orwell constructs Winston to be one who is almost as much a victim to Big Brother as anyone else.  Winston is overcome with his desire to counter and defeat Big Brother, losing perspective in the process.  In this way, Winston has become victim to the Postmodern condition of "resurrecting the dead in order to kill it."  Big Brother has impacted Winston's development by ensuring that Winston has no identity outside of Big Brother.  This is seen as Winston seeks to establish defiance of Big Brother and when he has to capitulate to him in the end.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes