What crime does the main character commit in 1984?

2 Answers | Add Yours

amymc's profile pic

amymc | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

Winston Smith commits thought-crime in the novel 1984.  This is a type of crime in which the offender's thoughts conflict with or defy the current laws or beliefs of the society.  The thought-police identify this crime through the actions of the offender either through the sophisticated and widespread surveillance of the society or through another individual turning that person in.

Thought-crime is hard to define and equally hard to prevent.  Winston's thoughts eventually manifest themselves in his desire for a forbidden physical relationship, his desire for personal reflection through his diary, and his desire to join an underground movement against Big Brother.

He is punished as all thought-criminals are:  through a terrifying visit to the Ministry of Love, Room 101.  While some thought criminals are completly vaporized both physically and historically, Winston is, after torture, brainwashed to reintegrate harmlessly into society.

 

We’ve answered 318,951 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question