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What is the role of Syme in 1984?

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soccrkidz13 | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted January 18, 2012 at 6:22 AM via web

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What is the role of Syme in 1984?

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 18, 2012 at 8:19 AM (Answer #1)

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Characters might be flat or round, static or dynamic, but in 1984, Syme plays a specific role.

In my opinion, Syme is a foil to Winston. A foil is a character intended to help show a main character's traits by being opposite in many ways. While Winston is just your average regular guy, Syme is depicted as rather intelligent. This intelligence further demonstrates that intellect is not valued in this society, because Winston knows that Syme will ultimately die. This discrepancy in how each of the characters reveal their thoughts makes readers empathize even more with Winston. Readers want him to keep living to keep the story alive and hopefully watch him overthrow Big Brother.

Other differences that help show contrast include devotion to Big Brother, level of excitement for the Party, and level of directness in communication. Winston knows to be quiet about his thoughts, Syme blurts out his every idea. Syme clearly loves Big Brother, while Winston wants to take him down.

This contrast also develops readers' eventual disappointment in Winston. Readers realize he does not have all it takes because they have seen more intelligent characters, like Syme.


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aiacia | eNoter

Posted October 26, 2012 at 1:12 AM (Answer #2)

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I think Syme was a very violent being, he liked to see the hangings in a special way, so that the prisoners who would be hanged should still to his opinion suffer more, Syme might have thought of himself as pretty intelligent, in reality he was not, he was way to talkative, he was also one of these people who tried to make use of Winston, I deduct that from the fact that Syme asked for razor blades to Winston, why wasn't he asking that to anyone else, and it was said in the book that he was a philologist, but the fact that he worked just in the same underrated kind of position as Winston pretty much made it clear to me, that he was not as great a philologist as he might have wanted to be, cause it might be true that the really great workers of the Newspeak-dictionary were, I think Inner-Party-members!

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