How does George Orwell use Winston to represent human nature in 1984?

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In some sense, all fictional protagonists represent human nature because they are the focus of the novels in which they appear, in which the author is trying to convey something essential and significant about life and about the human experience. Winston in 1984 is an everyman. Orwell makes Winston's mental life—his hopes, his fears, and his sense of dread about the dystopia in which he lives—the central concern of the novel. 1984 is like a transcript of Winston's thoughts, and Winston's plight is a heightened or extreme form of what every human being experiences.

There is something paradoxical, admittedly, about a character such as Winston in an unreal setting who nevertheless represents the essence of actual human nature. Winston goes through trials both inwardly and outwardly that few people can imagine, except for those who have lived in a totalitarian society. In the end he's tortured and brainwashed into a virtual zombie. It is arguably the extremity of this scenario that enables Orwell so strikingly to depict Winston as an emblem of the human condition. We first see him in isolation, unable to share his thoughts and observations with anyone. To an extent everyone is like that, until they begin to connect with others as they mature. Winston finds Julia, and a new dimension of his life arises. He thinks a breakthrough of some kind occurs when he connects with O'Brien, but it turns out to be a massive delusion when he's arrested, tortured, and his life is basically destroyed.

The illusory nature of Winston's belief about O'Brien as a possible ally is a kind of metaphor of the human propensity for self-delusion. Altogether Winston can be seen as a particularized instance of man's hopes, dreams, and even more so his flaws, failures, and desperation, on a massive scale.

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