Why, in 1984, does O'Brien call Winston the "last man"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In George Orwell's 1984, O'Brien calls Winston "the last man" in reference to Winston's rebellious spirit, which O'Brien feels must be subdued. In calling Winston the last man, O'Brien is pointing out that he is an isolated individual in the sea of people who have accepted the Party or given up trying to fight. Winston is a rare person in that he actually sees himself as an individual rather than as an unthinking part of the Party. O'Brien encourages Winston to accept the futility of resisting the Party. Winston believes that the spirit of humanity will eventually overthrow the Party, as masses of people will one day fight back. O'Brien's response is that Winston, by being the last man, is alone in this fight for humanity.

In a conversation between O'Brien and Winston in part 3, chapter 3 of the novel, Winston tells O'Brien that he considers himself a man and believes that the spirit of man will eventually defeat the Party. O'Brien responds to Winston's comment by saying, "If you are a man,...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 638 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team