What are six to ten character traits Winston exhibits in Part I?  

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teachersage's profile pic

teachersage | (Level 2) Educator

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In the first part of the novel, Winston exhibits the following character traits:

1. Fearfulness. Winston has been indoctrinated to be afraid of everything. There are no actual laws in Oceania, so anything a person does or thinks is potentially a crime. Winston is frightened of writing in a journal and experiences "black terror" when he notices Julia, a person he does not yet know, glancing at him. He fears being observed on the viewscreen in his flat and fears being detected for committing thoughtcrimes.

2. Violent fantasies/desires. Initially, Winston has assimilated the violence of the regime. He can't do much more at first than record the plot of a violent war film he saw and write "down with Big Brother" in his journal. He has graphic, violent fantasies about Julia before he gets to know her. He participates fully in the Two-Minute Hate.

3. Curiosity: Winston has a huge to desire to know objective reality. He remembers that the Party did not invent airplanes. He wishes he could remember the rest of the "oranges and lemons" rhyme. He clings to his childhood memories. He goes into the Proles' territory seeking physical manifestations of the old days, such as the paperweight he buys. He wants to know.

4. Appreciation of beauty: Winston loves the physical qualities of the old-fashioned journal he buys and the look of ink on a page. He loves the beauty of the piece of coral in the wavy glass of his paperweight. He appreciates Julia's beauty and appreciates it when she puts on makeup.

5. Rebelliousness: Winston pushes back against the state. He wants to be his own person, dangerous as that is, and he acts on his desires. He meets Julia secretly, and he wishes to be part of a political rebellion.

6. Optimism/wishful thinking: Winston wants to believe in an organized underground movement opposing the regime and wants to believe O'Brien is part of it. Despite the fact that he keeps saying he knows he and Julia will be caught, he acts out of wishful thinking, such as that O'Brien is on his side and Mr. Charrington a harmless old man.

7. Capacity for relationship: Winston is able to actually love Julia, which works to humanize him and defuse his violent fantasies. The two create something like a normal domestic love relationship in the room above Mr. Charrington's shop.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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  • Winston is fatalistic.  In other words, he thinks that the worst is going to happen to him.  You can see that right away at the end of Chapter 1.  As soon as he writes "Down With Big Brother" in his diary, he knows he's dead.  He wants to rip up the pages but he figures there's no use -- no matter what, he's dead.
  • He's rebellious.  You clearly have to be very rebellious to want to go against the Party in this society.  The fact that he writes the diary is proof enough of that.
  • He's individualistic.  By this, I mean that he wants to have an identity and memory of his own.  That's why he says that the freedom to say 2+2=4 is the basis for everything.  He wants to decide for himself what is true and what isn't.

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