In the dystopia of 1984, everyone outwardly conforms or at least attempts to. If they fail to do so, they're arrested and killed or brainwashed, as Winston is. But what does inward conformity represent in a society like this? Presumably, it would mean actually agreeing with and accepting everything...
In the dystopia of 1984, everyone outwardly conforms or at least attempts to. If they fail to do so, they're arrested and killed or brainwashed, as Winston is. But what does inward conformity represent in a society like this? Presumably, it would mean actually agreeing with and accepting everything the Party dictates. Orwell has, I think, deliberately left it an unanswered question as to whether anyone in 1984 actually does this.
The most obviously conformist persons in Winston's circle are two men who appear to be opposites: Syme and Parsons. They are also the ones Winston is certain are inwardly conformist. Syme is a brilliant man, an intellectual of the Party who, Winston believes, really does hate "heretics" and genuinely believes in rigid Party doctrine.
Parsons is a man whom Winston imagines Syme thinks of as a "bloody fool," just from the tone in which Syme says, "Here comes Parsons." Parsons, presumably as unintelligent as one can be, also seems an unquestioning follower of the Party. Yet both men end up having essentially the same fate as Winston.
Syme is "vaporized," and Parsons has been arrested for Thoughtcrime, appearing in the same holding cell as Winston. The implication is that no one is safe from the rigidity of the Party and possibly that no one inwardly conforms, though everyone outwardly does so. Parsons has been discovered uttering Thoughtcrime in his sleep by his kids, who, like all children, are taught to have no loyalty to their parents.
The result, then, is that in the dystopia overall, everyone suffers from an extreme tension between what they must present to the outer world and what they inwardly feel. In Winston this practically drives him crazy. We can see this in the uncontrolled scribblings in his diary and, before he gets together with Julia, the hatred he seems to feel toward women in general. These are forms of displaced aggression. One could imagine that a society like this could not sustain itself in the long run.
Far from having turned the population into a mass of unthinking zombies, the Party seems to have done the opposite. In fact, some of the actual totalitarian states of our time have disintegrated, such as the Soviet Union. Others, such as Communist China, have made modifications such as allowing a degree of economic freedom. But Orwell implies that the dominion of the Party will go on forever, in the bleak conclusion in which Winston does sit in the cafe like a zombie, realizing that he finally loves Big Brother.