1984 Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

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What is Big Brother's function in 1984?

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Big Brother is a father figure, who, like Stalin or Hitler, is supposed to be deeply beloved, honored, and obeyed by all the people in his country. He is a symbol of the state and the Party. The Party wishes for him to become the only being anyone loves and to be followed with slavish, mindless devotion.

Big Brother is a threatening father figure, too, which the motto most associated with him suggests: "Big Brother is watching YOU." This motto could mean that he is watching over and protecting each of his people, as a good leader might, but in reality, it means that the Party has its citizens under constant surveillance. Any deviation from orthodoxy is severely punished.

One of the chief signs of Winston's deviance, in the eyes of the Party, is his hatred of and desire to destroy Big Brother. However, by the end of the novel, he has adopted the proper slavish attitude of complete devotion to this figure.

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In 1984, Orwell wants us to view Big Brother as an omnipotent, dystopic god (who doesn't...

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