Final Reflection – 1984

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Hopefully, you have finish the novel, 1984. Our time with the Winston ends with these lines: “Two gin-scented tears tricked down the sides of his nose. But is was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He has won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother” (297). 

Explain your reaction to the end of 1984

Read the Afterword (p.312) 

Here is a link if you do not have the text: https://sites.google.com/a/susanpiercelavc.com/susan-pierce-english-103/home/of-interest/archive/fall-2010-weekly-assignments/fromm-afterwword

The Afterword was written in 1961. Please read and respond to one of these points:

  • What mood is 1984 an expression of?
  • How can human nature be changed?
  • This book is a “powerful warning.” What is it a warning for and how can we take heed?
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11 comments

  1. Omar Hekal

    My reaction to the ending of 1984 was that i was shocked, i mean we all witnessed winston deteriorate but i dont think anyone thought he would break down. but eventually he did and that make me sad because this is a realistic ending to this book, at least in my opinion. I think so because i think eventually if anyone is pushed or tortured hard enough they will eventually break down. I think human nature can be changed by maintaining the same amount of torture/pressure and letting go when needed. The book is a warning of how the population can get controlled if the right people attempt it and can be dangerous for the citizens if they give in to the regime.

  2. Evan

    At the end of the book I wasn’t so shocked about what Winston did. I felt that sooner or later he would have put himself before anyone else, and in this situation he did. He made a promise to Julia saying no matter what they will both go through they will be together through thick and thin. Winston did not fulfill this, after us readers visualized the images flowing through our minds about how he was being tortured, we all thought that he would keep fighting and keep holding on . Instead he accepted the ideology of the party and he gave up Julia his only true love. He metaphorically crushed his paperweight in which Julia was the coral that he shattered. When Winston had said those last few lines “Two gin-scented tears tricked down the sides of his nose. But is all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He has won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother”

    I feel that all along it was never about anyone else , it was all about his own personal struggle going against himself to believe that Big brother is the one he should ultimately follow.

    • Evan

      Afterword

      George Orwell wrote this book for a reason. During era of 1948 this was the time of when the British were taking over India and occupying them. In the afterword it George clearly states that there are warnings and life and if these warnings aren’t watched a monitored that , in the course of history mankind all over the world will be affected a huge deal , due to different rulers and what they believe in . Something I took away from 1984 is that if there is something unjust in society, I shouldn’t just sit back and watch it become more and more active with society . I should stand up for what is right , and listen to my gut feeling . This goes for our generation and the next , if we don’t people will loose their most human qualities and will become “soulless automatons”

  3. JP Fagan

    I wasn’t shocked by Winston’s actions. There had been some foreshadowing in the book relating to what Winston’s decision was going to be. Even though he had made a promise to Julia, he still betrayed her and sided with the Party. The Party did well in convincing Winston to follow their ways again, but there should have been some sort of emotional response from Winston towards Julia. He made the promise why not stick to the promise. Even though he had been tortured, some people would do anything for their loved one, seems that Winston is not one of those people. Accepting the ideology is not what I was hoping for, or even any other reader, “we” hoped that he would keep fighting for what he believed in.
    Human nature could be changed in the way of “monkey see, monkey do”- what this means is that one country sees another doing an action. They would want the same or they would want to rebel against what they don’t have. This could change the entire human nature because everyone would be the same. This could be a warning of what is already happening in some countries and what is about to happen in other countries. Orwell had an idea, the idea of being watched by his own government and maybe it started happening back then already, or maybe the governments have learnt one or two things from Orwell.

  4. Ziad El Tabbal

    How can human nature be changed?

    I was very quite shocked at the end of “1984”. Early in the novel I felt that Winston would become the savior of the people of Oceania. But this all changed when he was caught and was tortured. At that point I had a feeling that maybe it was the end for Winston and his ideas of freedom, he has been caught, he will become one with the Party. It is very easy for human nature to be changed. People strive and survive for their own self, when a time comes when it is between life and death the human can change instantly. In Winston’s case, he felt that he would never betray Julia and would never want anything bad to happen to her. This changed when Winston saw his biggest fear infront of his eyes. Winston immediately wanted the rats attack Julia rather than himself. His nature changed, he was changed, O’Brien and the Party changed him forever.

  5. Maria Prado

    I personally thought that Winston was never going to change the way he thinked about the party. The extend to which Winston was both physically and psycologically tortured was impacting. It is truly incredible the force that torture has on an individual’s believes. At the ending of the novel, the transformation that Winston had gone through was so great that it was almost impossible to accept this new protagonist.
    As for the afterthought, the mood of 1984 was of hopelessness about the future of man. And thus the warning to the audience is that unawarely we will become ‘soulless automatons’ as mankind will lose their most human qualities unless the course of history changes. This is how human nature can be changed; los sing every trace of individuality, of love, of critical thought without even being aware of it.

  6. Andre Cadiz

    I expected an ending similar to the one that finished 1984 because of the discussions we had in our class before beginning to read the novel. We discussed the time period and in which the book was written and what was going on around the world at that time. I expected the ending because it seemed as if George Orwell would be writing the book as a warning of the dangers of communism in the time of the Cold War. The warning was that everyday life could be that of the people of Oceania if people were not heavily resistant to communism and fought for democracy. At the end of the novel, Orwell also warned that a persons true beliefs could be permanently changed through inflicting (physical and/or mental) pain on an individual.

  7. Yaara Docrat

    Our time with Winston ends with these lines: “Two gin-scented tears tricked down the sides of his nose. But is was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He has won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother” (297). This quote provides the ultimacy of the Party’s power and the success O’Brien achieved in brainwashing Winston to accept the rule of Big Brother. This ending was not what I had anticipated. Initially reading the novel, I believed that Winston would achieve his goal of overthrowing the Party and their rule. When Winston began his relationship with Julia, whom also shared the common belief that the Party was wrong on some level, I had assumed that together they would be able to challenge the government of Oceania. Following this, when Winston finally met O’Brien, I predicted that the Party would have been overthrown by the end of the novel. As the plot thickened though, it was clear to see that Winston would not succeed. Orwell foreshadowed this towards the end of Part 2 and very clearly in Part 3 of the novel. I was disappointed that Winston had not succeeded in his goal and that he was tortured to such an extent that he began to look to O’Brien in love as he was the only figure who could stop the pain. “George Orwell’s 1984 is the expression of a mood, and it is a warning. The mood it expresses is that of near despair about the future of man, and the warning is that unless the course of history changes, men all over the world will lose their most human qualities, will become soulless automatons, and will not even be aware of it.” This quote tells us that the mood that 1984 expresses is that of hopelessness for the future of humankind. It told us the consequences of the world if history did not change and democracy was not imposed. The story depicted the outcome of a totalitarian government and thus was a warning for people not to give in to these oppressive governments.

  8. fabyanblomme

    I was actually really surprised to see that Winston was captured. I really thought that the proletarians and he were going to rebel and defeat the party. But as the book continued, I found Winston strapped to table being tortured. Once he was captured it was clear that he had lost, yet he wouldn’t give in and betray Julia. It was only when the rats came into the story that he could no longer resist the torment.
    The warning of this book is telling us that if we continue as the world is now, and getting worse in terms of being inhuman to others, torturing and controlling people. There’s a possibility that our future world would look similar to 1984.

  9. marlettei

    I wasn’t surprised at all to the end of 1984. I knew that Winston won’t resist and love Big Brother. Even though he was always saying that he hates him, I didn’t understand why he still works for the Party if he has those kinds of feelings towards Big Brother. If he really hates him, he wouldn’t have worked for the Party for many years, he wouldn’t accept the ideology of the Party, and also he wouldn’t betrayed Julia even if he promised he wouldn’t. O’Brien said “There are occasions when a human being will stand out against pain,even to the point of death” (p.284) , but Winston wasn’t really at that point of stage. Everyone has weaknesses, and O’Brien knew that if he uses rats, Winston wouldn’t resist, and that is what happened. Through the book,we saw that Winston showed some courage, and that he wasn’t afraid of the Party, but at the end of the book , we saw the real Winston, weak, and selfish person, to the point that he said horrible things about Julia,his loved one, so that they can do all the bad things to her, and not to HIM.

    The mood “1984” expresses is there is a hopeless future for the human being. George Orwell wanted to show to the world, that over the years, the situation becomes worse. The more it becomes worse, the more the human nature changes. The human nature changes every time. In this world, we saw a lot of things, there are wars, sometimes peace, people are dying or starving, the human nature changes towards those situations. The warning of all of that is that, people change as the environment change, and it keeps changing, at the end, human won’t be the same, our human nature will be changed, we will lose our most human qualities and we won’t even be aware of it.

  10. faarshad

    I was really surprised by Winston reaction in end of the book, because I taught his going to have persevere on his ideas about the party and I believed that his a coward because he lost all of his faith and confidence during a little torture and I still can’t believe that he betrayed Julia the woman who he was deeply in love with! At end Winston was not the person who we identified at beginning and he was completely a new person with new beliefs.
    The mood of 1984 was a disappointment for our future and tells us how power can transform a human to an animal therefor, the warning to humans is that don’t let the environment and pressure around you change the idea and beliefs which are inside you.

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