1984 Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

1984 book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Where is there a physical despcription of Winston in "1984" by George Orwell?

Expert Answers info

Thomas Mccord eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write2,306 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

To find a physical description of Winston Smith, take a look at Part One, Chapter One. In the third paragraph, Orwell informs us that Winston is "smallish" and has a "frail figure." He has "fair hair," a "sanguine" (red) face, with skin that has been roughened" by "coarse soap" and the cold winter.

Winston, therefore, is a pallid and worn-out man. Note how his appearance mirrors that of his home, Victory Mansions, a crumbling and dilapidated apartment block owned and operated by the Party. This is significant not only because it gives the reader an idea of Winston's appearance but because it also gives a sense of what life is like in Oceania.

Through this description, then, Orwell shows us that living under a totalitarian regime is not only psychologically and emotionally damaging, it also has a profound effect on a person's physical health.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

blacksheepunite eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write276 answers

starTop subject is Literature

We learn about Winston's appearance in the beginning of 1984

The physical description of Winston, like the description of the Victory Appartments, shows us how pathetic the average man is in 1984. Winston is scrawny, red-faced, out of shape and he has a varicose ulcer that makes it difficult for him to even climb a flight of stairs. He is unhealthy and run down. When compared to the rugged manly features of Big Brother, he seems even more pathetic.

Winston is an unlikely hero. Where most heros are above average, he is below. In fact, he is nothing like a classic hero. From his physical description, we understand we have a protagonist who is not fit for the role--he should be strong, but he is weak. This makes him more attractive on some levels, for he is very much an underdog. It is not likely that a man in his condition will succeed in changing the world. 

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

morrol eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write337 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

There is not much physical description of Winston in George Orwell's novel "1984". In the 1984 Signet Classic version of the book, the speaker uses the description, "His hair was very fair, his face naturally sanguine, his skin roughened by coarse soap and blunt razor blades and the cold of the winter that had just ended"(6). Many other physical descriptions of Winston are temporary. One example of this is after he drinks some "Victory Gin", "Instantly his face turned scarlet and the water ran out of his eyes"(8). Winston's actions and thoughts are far more important in this novel that his physical description.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial