If you were interviewing Winston Smith (Protagonist in Orwell's novel '1984'), what kind of questions would you ask?If you were interviewing Winston Smith (Protagonist in Orwell's novel '1984'),...

If you were interviewing Winston Smith (Protagonist in Orwell's novel '1984'), what kind of questions would you ask?

If you were interviewing Winston Smith (Protagonist in Orwell's novel '1984'), what kind of questions would you ask? 

Expert Answers
karaejacobi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If I were interviewing Winston Smith, I think I would want to focus most on the ending of the novel. This seems to be the oddest and most ambiguous scene in the book. At the end, Winston "loves Big Brother," but I would want to hear more about whether that is true or how it came about. 

Over the course of 1984, Winston became increasingly revolutionary and his evolution, paired with his very common name, is meant to symbolize the everyday citizen's potential change from obedient to rebellious. Winston seems even more dedicated to the cause of rebelling against and maybe even toppling Big Brother than his partner Julia, who seems content with lower-level rebellions like the affair she and Winston have. 

So at the end of the novel, after Winston has been tortured in the ironically-named Ministry of Love and has given up his lover Julia, how does he reach a point where he actually loves Big Brother? I would be curious to hear more about how his stance developed throughout his time in the Ministry of Love. I would want to hear how he felt about O'Brien after learning that O'Brien betrayed him and was disloyal all along. I would want to hear about how he came to the decision to give up Julia and whether he regretted it later. At the end of the novel, does he really not recognize Julia or is feeling guilty? To what extent is Winston actually a government-worshipping automaton? Has he simply learned to keep his rebellious actions and thoughts to himself so as not to be targeted by the Party again? 

Hearing Winston's take on the time in the Ministry of Love and what was going through his mind in the novel's closing scene would be most enlightening. 

davmor1973 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

More than anything, I'd like to ask Winston Smith what kept him going through the daily horrors of living in such a horrendous, totalitarian dystopia. Clearly, he must've had something deep inside him that gave him the strength to fight each terrible day and in doing so surreptitiously defy Big Brother and his repressive regime.

In addition, I'd ask Winston if, at any time, he believed in a higher power. Not the earthly power of Big Brother, but a transcendent one. Maybe that was what gave him the strength to go on. But if so, was it a genuine belief, or was it, like his outward servility to the State, simply a survival mechanism?

Did the obvious, glaring gap between the supposed heaven on earth of Oceania and the sheer hell he had to endure there cause him to turn his eyes skywards and reflect that there might indeed be a heaven, a true heaven not of this world but the next?

lynn30k eNotes educator| Certified Educator

That depends on what stage of the book would be involved....would it be before or after Winston's re-education? Would he know that I am not an agent of Big Brother, in either time frame?

I guess I would want to know what made him different from the majority of the people in his society, that he would dare to do something against Big Brother in the first place. Was it unhappiness? Courage?  If I was talking to the end-of-the book Winston, I would want to know what happened in his brain/body when his thoughts came close to being something that went against his society.

timbrady eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would like to ask him a number of questions:

--- did you really believe that you could escape the thought police in the upper room with Julia?

--- did you ever suspect that O'Brien wasn't what you hoped he would be?

--- how did you deal with Julia's lack of interest in the Brotherhood?

--- I know that in a world without love, you must have felt something for Julia; did you ever doubt that it was "love"?

--- at what point did you know that it was "over" for you?

morrol eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would ask him what he thinks about his job. How does he justify it? I would also ask him what he values most in relationships.

marionn | Student


marionn | Student

did he really believe that such a brotherhood existed? how could he put all his loyalty and his life into a group he didnt even know existed. and it was not as though there were small changes taking place because of the brotherhood. i would want to ask winston what did he think was going to happen by his joining and working for the brotherhood. even the same sounds suspicious, brother-hood. big 'brothers' agents working scretky under a hood.