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



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mrpoirier's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #1)

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. 

thetall's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #2)

Syme was eliminated by the party because he was intelligent. The author says,

“One of these days, thought Winston with deep conviction, Syme will be vaporized. He is too intelligent, he sees too clearly and plainly. The party does not like such people. One day he will disappear…”

After a while, Syme went missing and Winston was sure that Syme had been vaporized because not only did he fail to show up at work, but his name was also missing in the chess committee list of which he was part. After O’Brien cunningly affirms the belief of Winston and Julia in the brotherhood and its founder, the two pledge their allegiance to the Brotherhood and state that they would go to any length to advance the course of the Brotherhood in fighting the Party, even commit murder and suicide. O’Brien, who was an inner party member, cautioned them that if the Thought Police found them out the Brotherhood would not intervene and they would have to face the inevitable consequence. In the end after their release from the Ministry of Love, Winston awaits the bullet that will extinguish him.


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