Homework Help

What is the role of the brotherhood in "1984"? Does it exist? Are there...

user profile pic

revos5 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 8, 2008 at 11:46 AM via web

dislike 1 like

What is the role of the brotherhood in "1984"?

Does it exist? Are there perhaps two brotherhoods of which one is controlled by the government which Obrien is part of, and one Winston never found? Any specific functions that the Brotherhood has? I'm a bit confused about brotherhood, hope you can help!

2 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted June 11, 2008 at 10:48 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

The Brotherhood is the secret, anti-government organization headed by Emmanuel Goldstein.  Whether or not the organization really exists is not made 100% clear, but it is doubtful that it exists. More likely, it, as well as Goldstein, are made up by the government of Oceania as a means of seeking out revolutionaries and anarchists.  Also, by letting people believe that this person and organization exists and then by showing people the terrible fate that befalls those who join or associate with this organization, the Party, keeps people in line. People see or hear about the tortures carried out against anyone who tries to go against the Party and their fear of that happening to them keeps them from going against the Party.  In the story, Winston tries to join the Brotherhood and that is how O'Brien traps Winston and Julia who eventually are tortured into loving Big Brother and the Party.  Essentially then, the Brotherhood is merely bait dangled by the Party to catch those who might want to overthrow the government.


user profile pic

parama9000 | Student, Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted January 31, 2014 at 10:03 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

It essentially is the bait of the Party. It is logically concluded, though subject to further speculation, that the Brotherhood does not exist, but that it is a concept that people should not relate to, as it represents an enemy of the Party, and if they associate with the concept, they have committed a thoughtcrime. It is to test the citizen's loyalty to the Party potentially.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes