What are the three main conflicts in the novel, 1984? How are they resolved?
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The three main conflicts in George Orwell's 1984 are:
1. Individual (freedom) vs. the state: Winston is limited by the state in terms of every right and freedom imaginable, namely free speech and privacy. He is constantly surveilled, and all attempts to record thoughts are prohibited. The main symbol in the novel is the boot crushing the face of its citizens. Torture is the only real memory that should remain:
He felt the smash of truncheons on his elbows and iron-shod boots on his shins; he saw himself grovelling on the floor, screaming for mercy through broken teeth. He hardly thought of Julia. He could not fix his mind on her. He loved her and would not betray her; but that was only a fact, known as he knew the rules of arithmetic. He felt no love for her, and he hardly even wondered what was happening to her. He thought oftener of O'Brien, with a flickering hope. O'Brien might know that he had been arrested. The Brotherhood, he had said, never tried to save its members.
2. The state vs. language: the Ministry of Truth is a propaganda machine that attacks the English language, whittling it down to the bare minimum, a kind of technical, utilitarian language that replaces personal words in order to prevent rebellion.
Whenever he began to talk of the principles of Ingsoc, doublethink, the mutability of the past, and the denial of objective reality, and to use Newspeak words, she became bored and confused and said that she never paid any attention to that kind of thing. One knew that it was all rubbish, so why let oneself be worried by it? ...In a way, the world-view of the Party imposed itself most successfully on people incapable of understanding it. They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening. By lack of understanding they remained sane. They simply swallowed everything, and what they swallowed did them no harm, because it left no residue behind, just as a grain of corn will pass undigested through the body of a bird.
3. The past vs. the present vs. the future: the state cuts off history from its citizens in order to create a vacuum of control. In this way, the citizens of Oceania are cut off from each other and the outside world: they do not know who they are fighting. They do not take pride in their families' histories, only the state's history, which is all propaganda.
Even at that time Winston had not imagined that the people who were wiped out in the purges had actually committed the crimes that they were accused of. But this was concrete evidence; it was a fragment of the abolished past, like a fossil bone which turns up in the wrong stratum and destroys a geological theory. It was enough to blow the Party to atoms, if in some way it could have been published to the world and its significance made known.
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