“1984” is a dystopian novel by George Orwell in which there is an unexpected ending. This is satisfactory in conveying the writer’s themes of truth, control and conflict. Orwell is successful in depicting these themes through the use of characterisation, symbolism and key incident. The key incident in “1984” is not expected and this helps to deepen my understanding of the theme of control. The key incident finally occurs when Winston is taken to Room 101. Room 101 is in the Ministry of Love and it is where individuals are exposed to their very own personal fear.
O’Brien explains this to Winston “The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world… In your case, the worst thing in the world happens to be rats. ” O’Brien places a cage, filled with hungry rats, over Winston’s head. Winston, unable to take the torture any longer, screams out “Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don’t care what you do to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the bones. Not me! Julia! Not me! ” and the cage is not opened. Winston has betrayed Julia.
This is the climax of the novel and allows us to conclude that Winston is finally a broken man, unable to love and have loyalty to anyone other than Big Brother. It is ironic because Winston and Julia believed that the one thing the Party could not do was interfere with the mind, “Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull. ” There is also irony in the fact that Winston betrays Julia because the Party has ultimately succeeded in destroying the only thing that they believed made them human. He had made them stop loving each other.
We are confounded by this abrupt change in emotion because Winston and Julia’s love was so strong. This allows us to understand that indoctrination and totalitarianism was employed as a way to convey the theme of control. The events leading up to the key incident are significant because of the subtle ironies hidden within them. When Julia first initiated their contact with a note saying “I love you” Winston expressed to us that “At the sight of the words I love you the desire to stay alive had welled up in him”. This shows that fatalistic Winston will now do anything to stay alive and keep himself human.
He feels he now has a purpose in life, for holding onto truth and memories for the people of the future. Moreover symbolism in the novel helped me to appreciate the key incident as a turning point. Winston buys a paperweight and this becomes a symbol. “The paperweight was the room he was in and the coral was Julia’s life and his own. ” The paperweight symbolises the relationship between Winston and Julia and how they are affected by their setting. The paperweight is the room above Mr Charrington’s shop where, ironically, they believe they are safe and free from Big Brother.
In the room Winston and Julia feel like they have freedom and that they have created their own, perfect microcosm. Their lives appear to be untouchable like the coral in the glass but it is in fact fragile and can be destroyed easily. This is shown when they are caught by the thought police and the paperweight is smashed by an officer. In the room he rents from Mr Charrington there is a picture of St Clement’s Church. Winston associates the Church with the song “Oranges and Lemons” which ends with “Here comes the chopper to chop off your head.
” This is an important foreshadow as it is said by Mr Charrington when he reveals himself as being from the thought police. Furthermore, when Winston is sitting in The Chestnut Tree Cafi?? he remembers his encounter with Julia after their conversion. She looks at him with “A momentary glance full of contempt and dislike. ” This is significant as it is juxtaposition to their feelings before Room 101. It also creates pathos from the reader as we sympathise with Winston because he has lost all the values he previously held important. Whilst sitting in the cafi??
, listening to the telescreen, there is an announcement about the war, declaring a victory on the frontlines and Winston is overjoyed to tears. Ultimately, he is happy to have won the struggle over himself, he loves Big Brother. Winston now awaits his execution, although his soul is already dead. He is a pathetic figure, almost beyond pity and his characteristics are the antithesis of his former self. This allows the reader to understand the theme of control, and why the ending was so unexpected, as we see Winston being indoctrinated and having only the feelings of love towards Big Brother, not absolute hate his previous emotion.
Winston used to represent democracy, freedom and love but Orwell makes sure there is no happy ending. Totalitarianism does not permit such an ending, Winston must be crushed. If Winston escaped, Orwell’s idea of showing the true nature of totalitarianism would have been lost. Therefore when Winston was destroyed, his values were destroyed with him. Orwell’s clever use of characterisation and symbolism successfully conveyed to the reader the key incident and the central ideas of the novel and Winston’s surprising conversion to a dedicated party member of Big Brother.