For it to end with you making the desicion of what happens to him, was for me deeply unsatisfying. Why was oceania at war all the time? And who were the proles? Whats the point of Orwell letting you decide what happens?
Well I thought the book ended with him being broken and the re education working as he declared his love for big brother ,
Oh you should ask this to be moved to cafe society as theres the place for literature questions
Why was oceania at war all the time? Because people can support a war. Oceania is right! Support Oceania! Rally behind us! What better way to prove your loyalty?
Where on Earth did you get the impression that the reader got to decide what happened to Winston Smith? It was pretty clear in the end that Smith’s will had been broken and that he was now a devoted servant of the State. There was no “You decide!” aspect to it at all.
Were you reading an “Adventure game” version of Nineteen Eighty-Four, or something?
“Suddenly, the Telescreen flares into life. What should Winston Smith do? If you want Winston to stand non-chalantly in front of the screen, go to page 23. If you want Winston to rush past the screen and out his front door, go to page 47. If you want Winston to hide in the corner of his apartment where the screen can’t see him, go to page 50.”
The mind boggles.
That was pretty clear throughout. “Prole” was short for proletariat. They were the commoners, the members of the lower class, the plebeans.
Honestly, these questions almost sound like you haven’t read the book at all, and you’re asking us to help with your homework assignment.
Goldstein’s book (which was written by INGSOC officials, O’Brien among them) explicitly says why Oceania is constantly at war: To use up surplus production without raising the general standard of living. People have to be given work so they don’t have time and opportunity to think about their fate, but at the same time they have to be kept in poverty because Orwell seems to think a wealthy society is more likely to demand rights than a starving one (in contrary to Brave New World, where people are kept silent by giving them more than they want).
Another person who can’t understand why you think the ending is unclear.
He’s broken. The state wins.
“I Love Big Brother”
But… why the sad face??? Its a HAPPY ending! It even said it - he was cured from his disease, and Oceania was winning the war!! Drink some gin, and cheer up! .
Why was Oceania at war all the time? The double-plus good answer is because they were at war with Eastasia. They have always been at war with Eastasia.
Actually, at the end of the book, Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia, hence the battle reports coming from Africa.
And the closing line of the main text (as opposed to the Newspeak appendix) is “He loved [not ‘I love’] Big Brother.”
Hmmm… This is very close to Daniel Quinn’s theory of civilization as outlined in My Ishmael. People are deprived of what they need to sustain themselves to keep them working for the state (or capitalist overlords). No one would would in the factory 40 hours a week of his own desire; they do it because someone else is locking up the food.
I haven’t read the book you cite. Is the parenthetical “capitalist overlords” Quinn’s theory or your comment? I ask because 1984 was Orwell’s scathing indictment of communism and his description of what he thought would be the ultimate outcome of a communist world.
As to the OP, Winston’s acceptance (“love”) of Big Brother was the final element necessary before he could be killed. As a matter of policy Big Brother didn’t kill internal enemies who had not first been converted. The ending of the book wasn’t uncertain in any respect. All hope of independent thought was utterly destroyed. Winston was now just another unthinking part, and completely replaceable. One of the most depressing things I ever read.
In My Ishmael, there’s not a serious distinction between one type of lord & another. Quinn is talking about the likely origin of “civilized” social structures–both state & business. The parenthesis was mine.
Remember that in feudalism, the state is the capitalist. Also in Stalinist statism, etc. In Free-Market capitalism, the state exists to enforce laws, but the economic power is in the hands of whoever can get it together. The state can concentrate this power in its own hands, but lets others do it. The common man, however, is still a worker for somebody.
Moderator’s Note: Hmmm…possibly threatening to veer off into a general discussion of communism, capitalism, totalitarianism, power structures in society, etc…still, it is a discussion of a specific work of literature.
This thread is in Cafe Society. This thread has always been in Cafe Society.
I think the ending is supposed to be “unfullfiling”. 1984 wasn’t written as some sort of light-hearted beach book; it was a polemic, a desperate warning against a totalitarian future which Orwell feared could come to pass. The ending–and the whole book–is supposed to leave you frightened and horrified, so that you go away resolved to never, ever let anything like that come to pass in reality if you can possibly do anything to prevent it.
Man is competely mutable. That was my reading of the whole book. Well, there are several other minor lessons throughout it, too, but I think the whole point was that the worst thing about Oceania wasn’t what it was, but rather that people liked it that way, and that even our “hero”, ideologically naive, would come around given enough pressure.
It was definitely a warning.
I don’t see how you can say the end of 1984 is in doubt. He’s going to be shot in the back of the head, just as he knew he would as soon as he committed thought crime.
However, it took me several reading to see what the ending really means. At least what I think it mean. It’s not really about him being broken. He was broken back in room 101. The end is where he realizes that, as the world is just a boot crushing a human face, he can be a part of the boot. He’s not just a victem of Big Brother, he can be a particpant in his “victories”. Raw power is all there is and now that he’s aknowelged that he also embraces his roll subjugating others. (not that he’s going to do anything other than get shot in the head, he’s now physchologcally participating).
For me, the ending became even more chiling when I though about it this way.
I’ve never thought the bullet to the back of his head was anything more than an analogy to losing the non-Party ideology.
Nope, it wasn’t an open ending. We didn’t actually see Winston Smith’s execution, but it was clear what was going to happen. That we didn’t see the execution is the point, really; we didn’t need to see it, because spiritually, he was already dead.
1984 is definitely one of the most depressing books I’ve ever read, the whole ‘imagine the future as a boot stamping on the face of humanity, forever.’ (Not an exact quotation). It is rare to find a book where the hero loses. Still, it is, IMO, one of the best books ever written and one of my personal favourites. It makes its point with a frightening lack of sentimentality or patronising gentleness - like a boot in your face. And it’s influenced the thinking of so many people, it may well have helped shape our society today. That’s one helluva book.
When I read it, I seem to remember some implication that there might not even BE a war, and that Big Brother was fabricating the whole thing, even to the extent of launching missile attacks on its own cities, and saying “They did it!”
But I think what makes it most interesting, is that it’s impossible to tell from reading the book. It might be at war, it might not; The effects are the same.
Now that is the funniest thread-move-post since I started lurking here…
- waves to Phoenix Dragon *