Man vs. Society: This is the central conflict of the novel, as Winston Smith tries to forge his own way in a society that does not allow for individual thought. He begins to write a journal reflecting his hatred of Oceania and the way this life which is forced upon...
Man vs. Society: This is the central conflict of the novel, as Winston Smith tries to forge his own way in a society that does not allow for individual thought. He begins to write a journal reflecting his hatred of Oceania and the way this life which is forced upon him isn't a life at all. He longs for the freedom to make his own choices and to be free from the Thought Police and Big Brother's watchful eye. Of course, he also wants to live, so he doesn't say these things outright, even hiding his writing from the telescreens, and is careful with whom he shares his true feelings. Eventually, society wins after the Thought Police learn of his deviation from their norms; they torture him and push him to sacrifice Julia in order to save himself. Big Brother converts Winston to follow their prescribed order of society, leaving no one in Oceania with the power to think for themself any longer.
Man vs. Technology: The Party monitors all movements, conversations, and even thoughts of the people in Oceania via telescreens, microphones, and hidden cameras and microphones. No one can escape the intrusive presence of Big Brother, and most have learned to passively comply with the government and pay little attention to the ways the government spies on them. However, Winston learns to hide from the telescreens to compose his journal and believes that his meetings with Julia are private. Ultimately, the technological powers prove greater than Winston's efforts to hide from them, and he is caught with Julia by a hidden camera. The government, therefore, successfully ensures control of its citizens with advanced technologies.
Man vs Himself: This becomes especially evident in the final pages of the novel, when Winston is faced with saving himself or Julia. This destroys his sense of self, as he loves Julia and has always believed that the government could never force him to betray her. He struggles with survival and longs for freedom but believes himself incapable of inflicting harm on Julia. However, when faced with rats chewing off his face, his inner resolve breaks:
But he had suddenly understood that in the whole world there was just
ONE person to whom he could transfer his punishment—ONE body that he could thrust between himself and the rats. And he was shouting frantically, over and over.
"Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don’t care what you do to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the bones. Not me! Julia! Not me!"
Winston betrays the loyalty he believes he has to Julia and, most importantly, to himself when faced with his greatest fear, and by doing so, he succumbs entirely to the will of the Party.