In 1984, what values of society are revealed through Winston Smith's alienation?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The rejection of Winston's personal values might lend great insight into what society values.  For example, Winston is very passionate and authentic about his beliefs.  Keeping his diary, articulating his dislike of his coworkers, and even his relationship with Julia are all examples of his pure desire to rebel against The Party and the government control of Big Brother.  While he is passionate about this dissent, it reflect a social value of ascent and total conformity.  At the same time, when he is captured and is forced to confess and recant regarding his relationship with Julia, there is a genuine sense of torment about it.  This reflects how social control supersedes all, a value that Winston does not share.  Winston's alienation is the result of believing and sharing a consciousness that is diametrically opposed to what society believes.  In identifying his beliefs, we can understand what society rejects, and in seeing what Winston disdains, we can see what society upholds.

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