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1984 mini essay

1984 “Mini Essay”:
Rebellion is one way of coping with the oppression of a totalitarian regime. Part Two of Orwell’s
1984 reveals both the benefits and the negatives of non-conformity.
One of the fundamental themes in 1984 is that rebellion takes many forms and can be as
minor as a split-second facial expression, or as grand as a Revolution. It also brutally explores the
consequences of rebellion grand and small, as well as non-conformity, or unorthodoxy in the context
of both the world of 1984 and totalitarian regimes or dystopias as a whole.
Right from the first chapter of the novel it is foreshadowed that Winston’s rebellion will
ultimately bring about his demise, encapsulated in the phrase in Winston’s Diary “Thoughtcrime
does not entail death, thoughtcrime is death”. But it is also life, a way to hold onto your sanity in an
insane world, it is only through his rebellion, both in his writing of the Diary and his affair with Julia,
that Winston is able to cope with the oppression of the Party. That rebellion, minor as it may seem,
as Winston himself ponders, is a political act. Making love, simply being human, is a political act of
rebellion. And in this political act Winston finds a kind of peace. In his own words “the process of life
had ceased to be intolerable, he had no longer any impulse to make faces at the telescreen, or shout
curses at the top of his voice”. It is yet another irony of the novel that only through death, not
entailing death, but actual death, can one truly be alive in the truest sense.
And yet there is a heavy cost in rebelling, a cost greater than death. Perhaps the greatest
dramatic irony in the novel is that to rebel, to be “insane”, to be “a minority of one” is that in doing
so one entails the certainty of the Party’s victory over you. All those who are unorthodox, who rebel
so that they might live a life of their own are taken by the Party, without exception. To be “insane”,
is to be made “sane”, in the world of 1984 it is inevitable. The ultimate cost of rebellion, in 1984, is
not for the rebel in question to lose, but for the Party to win, the Party doesn’t “destroy” its
enemies, it “changes them”, to claim its ultimate victory over the human psyche. And this is
foreshadowed, even overtly stated, long before Winston’s ordeal in room 101 in part 2. “If they
could make me stop loving you, that would be the real betrayal”. And it is, the ultimate victory of the
party is destroying the love between Julia and Winston, a victory made possible only through their
rebellion. That is perhaps the greatest irony in a novel built around perpetual juxtaposition and
The benefits of rebellion and the negatives are encapsulated in Part Two of the novel, which
is the third of the book most devoted to the rebellion Winston and Julia undertake, and the benefits
they reap as a result. But it also significantly foreshadows the consequences, so much so that Part
Three can hardly be said to be a twist in plot, but instead a realization of what was already known in
Part Two, from the very beginning of Part One in fact. Obrien himself warns them that they will be
caught, tortured and killed, that rebellion itself, to paraphrase Winston, does not entail defeat, it is
It is in Part two, the zenith of both the novel and Winston’s rebellion, that the novel’s
statements are made most bluntly and its greatest irony is explored. The inevitable end to rebellion
is foreshadowed, and even overtly stated. And yet the freedom of rebellion is also explored, and it is
in Part Two, even as Winston brings about his own demise, that he is the most free.