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What happened to Syme? How is his fate connected to the secret O'Brien reveals to...

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val12 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 25, 2010 at 5:58 AM via web

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What happened to Syme? How is his fate connected to the secret O'Brien reveals to Winston and Julia?

George orwell 1984

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mrpoirier | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted May 20, 2010 at 4:49 AM (Answer #1)

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Syme was vaporized.  Therefore, he never existed. This was predicted by Winston in the canteen when they were discussing Newspeak and the 11th edition of the Newspeak dictionary.  At the beginning of chapter 5 in Book 2, it states simply that “Syme had vanished” (147).  There is no further information regarding the specifics of his vaporization.  This is important regarding O’Brien, because when he speaks to Winston in chapter 6, he refers to Syme when he says, “I was talking recently to a friend of yours who is certainly an expert” (157).  Winston assumes that he is referring to Syme, but since Syme is now an unperson, no party member should reference him because he never existed according to Big Brother and the Party.  So, Winston takes this as a hint from O’Brien that he is sympathetic to the underground movement called “the Brotherhood”, because no party member, much less an inner Iparty member, would ever refer to an unperson.  As a result of this brief meeting, Winston and Julia end up at O’Brien’s home where they learn the secrets about the Brotherhood and the Book. 

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