What crime does the main character commit in 1984?
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.