In 1984, how does Winston react to the Two-minute Hate?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Living in a world dominated by war and hate, Winston Smith finds himself immersed in a society in which his individuality is lost as telescreens are everywhere as "Big Brother watches." Even his expression of emotion is dictated in his world of eternal warfare.

Winston works in the Ministry of Truth, where, ironically, he rewrites history. As Orwell's narrative begins, Winston returns home and begins to write in a secret diary. He recalls the Two Minutes Hate during his workday:  As usual the face of Emmanuel Goldstein, the enemy of the state, comes upon the screen and the crowd shouts its hatred at this face. For a time, Winston shouts with them. But, he is yet capable of individual thought, so he looks around and projects his hatred upon the girl he has previously noticed. And, then, oddly enough, he finds himself hating Big Brother and preferring Goldstein. He looks over at O'Brien and wonders if the man has observed those minute instances in time in which Winston has thought on his own and has actually been sympathetic to Goldstein, who advocates freedom of speech and thought.

He was abusing Big Brother, he was denouncing the Dictatorship....advocating freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom or thought....

Since the purpose of the Two-Minute Hate is unison, unison that is encouraged by giving hatred and fear a face, a name to loathe, Winston's independent thoughts are heretical, and he fears that O'Brien, who works near him, has read his mind and seems to be saying to him,

"I know precisely what you are feeling. I know all about  your contempt, your hatred, your disgust.

Worrying that his eyes may have betrayed him, Winston looks at O'Brien and the man seems to have a look that says, "I am with you...I know precisely what you are feeling."

Thoughtcrime they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while,...but sooner or later, they were bound to get you.

He turns to his secret diary where he sits undetected by the telescreen. Then, he writes in his diary repeatedly: "DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER." As one of few who can yet see things objectively, Winston exercises his belief in the past, and secretly becomes an enemy.

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