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In 1984, why does Winston say "we are the dead"?

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supercrazy | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 25, 2007 at 5:02 AM via web

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In 1984, why does Winston say "we are the dead"?

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rivingo | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted March 26, 2007 at 2:24 AM (Answer #1)

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From the beginning of the novel winston realises that thoughtcrime is death, he writes in his diary: "thought crime does not entail death, thought crime is death".

Winston thinks about the future, not only what it might look like but also what it might hold for him.

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drewster123 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 4, 2007 at 5:49 AM (Answer #2)

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Another reason for saying "we are the dead" may have something to do with his and Julias personalities, as they both think nothing like anyone else in their day and age. Their train of thought is how most people probably thought before the revolution with Big Brother. As most people that lived during the pre revolution are dead now, he refers to him and Julia as the dead. I'm pretty bad at explaining this sort of thing though so if anyone else got the same kind of read off of the quote feel free to jump in and say something.

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bn123 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 6, 2007 at 5:19 AM (Answer #3)

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By 'we are the dead' I think that winston is saying he know the thought police are eventually going to get him and kill him. He know that it is just a matter of time and that he is already marked to be 'the dead'.

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grade12 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 27, 2009 at 7:49 AM (Answer #4)

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"She did not understand that there was no such thing as happiness, that the only victory lay in the far future, long after you were dead, that from the moment of declaring war on the Party it was better to think of yourself as a corpse" (p.135) or (p.142).

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puyol9 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 28, 2010 at 6:31 PM (Answer #5)

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foreshadowing, check pg 230 where he repeats himself

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ecofan74 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted June 17, 2010 at 9:44 AM (Answer #6)

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This is a very important statement in the novel.  When Winston states that "we are the dead," it follows a statement that speaks more to Winston's above assertion.  Winston insists that "She did not undertsand that there was no such thing as happiness, that the only victory lay in the far future, long after you were dead, that from the moment of declaring war on the Party it was better to think of yourself as a corpse."  On the surface of it, it would seem that Winston, having decided to take on the Party, has already come to see himself as a corpse - perhaps not immediately, but soon, and it would be permanent.  What efforts he and Julia make in their struggle against the Party will not bring about effect they themselves will enjoy.  It is for later generations to see the benefits of their works.

Furthermore, from early on in the novel Winston realizes that being convicted of thought crime is tantamount to a death sentence (or vaporization sentence, I suppose).  What he and Julia are contemplating will surely lead to their capture as thought criminals - which ultimately it does. 

When taken into a larger context, however, "we are the dead" could reference the death of the individual self.  That is, the death is not a physical death; it is a metaphorical death.  All that defines them as individuals will be taken away, as it is through the process of O'Brien's interrogation of them in the Ministry of Love.  In this sense, Winston's statement is a definite instance of foreshadowing.  Winston and Julia (and the rest of society) are the dead...and the Party has killed them, or at least their will to individuality.

 

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parama9000 | TA , Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted January 31, 2014 at 11:48 PM (Answer #7)

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It probably means that everyone conforms now that there is no strain of indivisualism, that individuality is dead in that sense. Also it could mean that they are doomed to be discovered eventually if they commit an act of deference against the Party or a criminal act in the name of Law.

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acompanioninthetardis | TA , Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted July 30, 2014 at 2:22 AM (Answer #8)

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Because he basically realizes that everyone is the same, there is no uniqueness, they are all a bunch of zombies following orders from above, they are like machines easily replaceable and not really worth much, so therefore he concludes they are dead, lifeless, without uniqueness. 

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