In George Orwell’s 1984, Winston Smith feels frustrated by the oppression and rigid control of the ruling Party of London, which prohibits free thought, sex, and any expression of individuality. The people of his nation, Oceania, are watched every minute of every day by “Big Brother”, an omniscient leader who can only be seen on “telescreens,” but never in real life. Winston illegally purchases a diary in which to write his criminal thoughts, and becomes fixated on a powerful Party member named O’Brien, whom Winston believes is a secret member of the Brotherhood, the legendary group that works to overthrow the party. He also begins a covert affair with Julia, a co-worker, which is of course, a terrible crime. In the long run, Winston commits a form of suicide through his actions. Judging by Smith’s behavior, he would rather rebel against “Big Brother” as long as possible and accept the consequences for his actions, than fall victim to the Party’s control over all thoughts and individuality.
Even at the beginning of the novel, Winston does not want to sacrifice his freedom for the Party. He purchases the illegal diary and begins writing several questions he has about the people suddenly involved in his life. His mind wanders off to thoughts about the dark-haired co-worker of his, and when he looks down, he sees that he has been writing the unthinkable, thoughtcrime As it’s called in newspeak, Oceania’s language. His page has “DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER” written over and over again. He knows that this action will lead to capture and punishment, but his feelings about this Party are too overwhelming to keep to himself. He is trying to express his inner emotions without verbally rebelling against the Party.
Smith also has views on sex that show his thought that freedom should be granted, and it is terrible to have “Big Brother” watching every action. He”s divorced because his wife couldn”t produce the baby the Party expects, and wouldn”t consider sex for any other purpose because desire is thoughtcrime. He is drawn to Julia because she is “corrupt,” which means she enjoys sex and has previously taken several lovers. Knowing he will be punished, he falls in love with her. Winston cannot stop this love he has for Julia, and even though the Party outlaws such relationships, Smith feels he has nothing to lose. He needs to keep his freedom.
Finally, Winston is given a copy of Emmanuel Goldstein’s book, which he reads aloud to Julia in a room above the store in which he had purchased his diary. In his final attempt to defend the Brotherhood, he is seized by soldiers and it turns out he had been fooled all along. He is taken to the Ministry of Love, and tries his hardest not to give in to the brainwashing and torturing given by O’Brien, who had fooled him all along. In the last scene, Winston is taken to the dreaded Room 101, where his worst nightmare, the most horrible thing that could happen to him, does. A cage full of rats is strapped to his face, when finally, his spirit is broken, and he is released to the outside world. He had done all he could to live a free life even with the presence of “Big Brother,” but his fight was finally ended.
George Orwell claimed, “Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you.” Which is exactly what happened to Winston Smith. His rebellion was not one that was foolish and too outspoken. He silently tried to defeat the Party for his personal happiness, and in the end it cost him everything he had fought for, and his love for Julia. He had learned to love Big Brother, which was his ultimate fear when trying to live a life of individuality. The Party had defeated him.