In George Orwell's 1984, why would Winston let the room from Mr. Charrington despite knowing the likely ultimate consequence?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is no mere coincidence that the main character is named Winston, name of a famously heroic historical British figure who epitomized independence, strength of character, a certain rebelliousness: "Never, never, never surrender!" Indeed, Winston of 1984 refuses to surrender his humanity to the Thought Police. He desires, above all, to be a man--to feel like a man, to think like a man, to live like a man. 

Winston's heroism is "heartfelt." He is an "everyman," ordinary--his last name is the commonest of names, Smith--, but with an independent mind that wishes to have expression; he needs to express himself and to share this expression in order to feel human, in fact. Curious about past history and real existence and fond of Julia for her rebellious acts, Winston cannot keep himself from truly living, even if it is for but a short time. When Julia tells him after they have had an erotic encounter is the woods that she has repeated this action many times, Winston paradoxically congratulates her because of hers and others rebellious actions. He does not dislike the coarseness of her language about the Party members, although no one is to speak in this way. With Julia, Winston feels alive; his spirit sings much as the little thrush they see does.

It spread out its wings, fitted them carefully into place again, ducked it head for a moment, as though making a sort of obeisance to the sun, and then began to pour forth a torrent of song. In the afternoon hush the volume of sound was startling. Winston and Julia clung together.

But, like the song of Thomas Hardy's "darkling thrush," there is a certain fatalism to Winston Smith. So, sensing that he will come to an end regardless of what he does, Winston dares to be an individual and truly live, if but for a brief time.