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character analysis Winston Smith from film 1984

character analysis Winston Smith from film 1984

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  • 1. Winston Smith a grey man in a black world Arthur Hall Nümbrecht - November 2010
  • 2. The Character of Winston Smith
    • How does Winston appear ?
    • He‘s dressed in blue as a party member
    • They are blue coveralls
    • His uniformity is meant to make him melt into the crowd; to stamp out the individuality in him
    • In cinematographic terms he stands out slightly because all of the background party crowd appear in grey/black
    • He is aloof
    • He is a loner
  • 3. Winston‘s Character (2)
    • How does Winston act ?
    • He follows the party line at Minitrue
    • He stays mostly non-commital amongst the others in the canteen
    • He writes the forbidden diary out of sight of Big Brother
    • He responds to Julia‘s advances
    • He is out of his depth with O‘Brien
    • He offers love and his thoughts to Julia
    • He is helpless in the face of torture
    • He denies Julia and breaks absolutely in the end
  • 4. Winston‘s Character (3) He reveals his thoughts at significant moments: : [Winston writes in his forbidden diary] Winston Smith : If there is hope, it lies in the proles. If they could become conscious of their own strength, they would have no need to conspire. History does not matter to them. Winston Smith : [reciting poem] Under the spreading chestnut tree / I sold you / You sold me.
  • 5. Winston‘s Character (4) He gets the reactions of others: From Julia: Winston Smith : Look, I hate purity. Hate goodness. I don't want virtue to exist anywhere. I want everyone corrupt. Julia : Well, I ought to suit you, then. I'm corrupt to the core. Winston Smith : Do you like doing this? I don't mean just me... Julia : I adore it. From O‘Brien: O'Brien : What are your feelings towards Big Brother? Winston Smith : I hate him. O'Brien : You must love him. It is not enough to obey him. You must love him
  • 6.
    • Faced with Big Brother’s massive machinery of control
    • there is something of the ‘little boy lost’ about Winston. But who can blame him for being CONFUSED ?
    Confused
  • 7. Concentration
      • When there is work to be done or problems to be reflected upon Winston concentrates hard and shows concentration and focus
  • 8. Rewriting History He is part of the world of Big Brother. He rewrites history for them. He compromises as much as necessary to remain secure within the system.
  • 9. Until he meets Julia he keeps his private thoughts and doubts to himself and his diary. He is an introvert . and he is secretive Introverted and secretive
  • 10. Winston is similar to Julia
  • 11. Winston is different from Julia
  • 12. Peace stolen from the flux When apparently alone with Julia, he experiences moments of peace stolen from the chaos around him
  • 13. Reflective, non-commital and basically passive He listens, he observes and understands a lot but he keeps it to himself until he meets Julia the active yet eventually destructive catalyst in his life ..
  • 14. Winston plays chess with the system The symbolism is visually clear as is his later denunciation of his own actions
  • 15. Co-operative He effectively co-operates in his own brainwashing and destruction when captured and tortured by O‘Brien
  • 16. Desire for a fellow-spirit His desire to be understood, loved and find a companion who thinks as he does together with his wish to be recognized somewhereleads him to accept O‘Brien too readily at face value.
  • 17. Self-doubting In such a crazy, crazed world self-doubts become normal. There are few orientation points. Only Julia and the proles provide any.
  • 18. Ambiguity
    • William Empson (1930) spoke of seven types of ambiguity.
    • He critiqued poetry and regarded ambiguity as the highest creative skill.
    • We will look at ambiguity related to the central protagonist Winston.
    • He loves and hates Julia and O‘Brien
    • He is hero and anti-hero
    • He is courageous and a coward
    • He is in the system and outside of it
    • He can marvel at the party‘s control and the proles relative freedom
    • He sees the contradictions of history; real and fake
    • He sees beauty in ugliness
    • He perpetuates the system yet struggles against it
    • He understands his freedom and imprisonment
    • etc.
  • 19. Thank you for listening http://www.amnesty.org/en/contact/558