In a way of broadening his thoughts. Winston’s dreams,

In a society where a single thought can be considered a crime, shouldn’t the only safe place to revisit memories and ideas be in one’s dreams? 1984 by George Orwell is a dystopian novel set in London, capital of Airstrip One, which is a province of Oceania. It is set in 1984, however, it could also be somewhere in the near future. Orwell imagines a totalitarian regime, Ingsoc, who prioritizes obedience and seeks ways to control the minds of its citizens through manipulation of language, indoctrination, constant surveillance, and notions such as doublethink, that encourage citizens to reject what is logical and accept a contradictory statement without question. The regime itself is led by the Inner Party, with Big Brother towering above all. In a society where human emotion and individual thought are restricted, Winston, the protagonist, turns to the privacy of his dreams as a way of broadening his thoughts. Winston’s dreams, divided into three different stages, illustrate his rebellion against authority and ultimately lead to his downfall. In part one, Winston’s dreams reveal deeply concealed details about his personality, such as his desire to remember something about his past and his inner struggle against the Party. Winston’s dreams mark the start of his thoughtcrime, the very beginning of an act of rebellion. Near the beginning of the novel, Winston dreams of his mother’s death and reflects on how tragedy and grief “belonged to the ancient time, to a time when there was still privacy, love, and friendship (30).” During his childhood, before the Party’s rise to power, he imagines there was still some kind of human emotion, a concept quickly obliterated by the regime. This dream shows Winston’s thirst to discover more about the past. Was everything always like this? How much of his life is a lie, rephrased and rectified to suit the ideas of the moment? In order to answer these questions, inspired by his dream, Winston heads to the proles’ quarter. His first stop is a small pub where he attempts to draw a truthful account of the conditions in the early part of the century from an old prole. However, the man is unable to provide him with much detail, often missing the point of his inquiries. Defeated, Winston then explores Mr Charrington’s antique shop, the perfect place to find something–anything reminiscent of the days before the Party Winston says this of the antique shop once he has entered: “What appealed to him about it was not so much its beauty but the air it seemed to possess of belonging to an age quite different to the present one (95).” It reminds him of something he can not remember, a fragment of the abolished past. Winston’s second dream is a vision of Julia and him in the ‘Golden Country’. Julia, whose day to day actions represent a complete devotion to the Party,  begins to strip off her clothes in front of him.  What appeals to Winston about this action is  how with a simple movement of the arm, Julia “seemed to annihilate a whole culture, a whole system of thought, as if the Party and the Thought Police could all be swept up into nothingness by a single movement of the arm (31).” This dream shows a lot about Winston’s personality and hatred and rebellion against the party. Julia’s gesture hints at corruption, that even the most devoted Party members could be disloyal to the regime inside. His third and final dream in part one is a recurring one concerning O’Brien and his message to Winston. Somewhere, deeply embedded into Winston’s subconscious, is a line he associates with O’Brien. The dream is of Winston walking through a pitch-dark room when he hears a voice calling to him: “We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness (25).” Could he be an ally, alluding to the future, to a time when the Party’s system will eventually crumble? The meaning is hazy, but Winston is convinced it is significant. To conclude, by examining these three dreams about Julia, O’Brien and his mother’s death, we are able to delve deeper into Winston’s conscience and understand his how the idea of rebellion begins to grow in his mind.  In part two, Winston chooses to fully embrace his dream of rebelling against the authority figure, the Party. In a way, Winston’s sleeping dreams become a reality as he begins to actively participate in a larger movement to overthrow the Party. He finds the perfect person to help him with this, Julia, a colleague from the Ministry of Truth, but working in another department. Although Winston thinks she is wholly devoted to the Party at first, he soon discovers that she too loathes Big Brother and his entire regime. Their first gathering takes place, strangely, in a landscape already described in one of Winston’s dreams: the Golden Country. This sleepy and lighthearted description by Winston as he makes his way to Julia’s meeting place captures the atmosphere of the Golden Country: “Dappled light and shade, stepping out into pools of gold wherever the boughs parted (117).” The Golden Country reminds Winston of true happiness and freedom, an escape from modern society.  Just like the dream in part one, the two make love, a powerful act of rebellion as the Party wishes to annihilate any sort of human emotion. When Julia tells Winston that she has slept with scores of men in the past, Winston’s heart leaps with joy. He exclaims, “I hate purity, I hate goodness. I don’t want any virtue to exist anywhere. I want everyone to be corrupt to the bones (125)!”This quote shows that for Winston, anything that hints at corruption within the Party means it might be easier to undermine and destroy it. The third example of Winston embracing his dreams and them becoming a reality is when he schedules a meeting with O’Brien and they make a toast to “our Leader: Emmanuel Goldstein (171).” Winston has always had an inkling that O’Brien might be on his side thanks to a dream where O’Brien whispers to him that they will meet in “the place where there is no darkness”, so this seems to confirm his suspicions. Furthermore, during their meeting, O’Brien promises to send Winston a book from which he “will learn the true nature of the society we live in and the strategy by which we shall destroy it (174).” When Winston and Julia are asked what they are prepared to do in order to rebel, they reply that they are willing to do almost anything–except part with one and other. This shows their complete devotion to each other but also their complete hatred of the Party. Everything seems to be going along smoothly, as Winston’s dreams of rebellion morph into reality. To conclude, The Golden Country, Julia and O’Brien make Winston hopeful for realizing his dreams in spite of adversity. However, at the very end of part two, all of this is suddenly crumbles when Winston and Julia are denounced for treason and countless other crimes…    In part three, Winston’s dreams undergo a unique transformation. The dreams themselves remain true, but most of them become the darker version of what he thought they meant in part two. The best example of this is Winston’s dream about O’Brien being on his side, mentioned multiple times throughout the novel. When O’Brien whispers to him that they “will meet in a place where there is no darkness”, Winston thinks that this phrase refers to a free society without repression, surveillance, propaganda, and hate. Perhaps it is even a place O’Brien wants Winston to help create, through acts of rebellion. However, part three shows how Winston completely misjudged the meaning of the phrase as well as O’Brien’s intentions. This phrase ends up being an analogy for the prison cells in the Ministry of Love, filled with an obnoxious bright light. When Winston first enters the Ministry, he describes the cell as “a high-ceilinged windowless cell with walls of glittering white porcelain. Concealed lamps flooded it with cold light (225).” This quote proves that in the cells of Miniluv, no darkness is allowed. This is probably for the purposes of sleep deprivation, which wear down a prisoner until they confess. The second example of his dreams ultimately becoming the morbid version of what he had imagined could be Winston’s image of the Golden Country. Previously, the Golden Country had represented warmth, happiness, and freedom. However, in part three, Winston has a vision where he is walking down a corridor, waiting for the final bullet. According to O’Brien, it is only once one truly loves Big Brother,  that they shall be shot. As Winston walks down the light-filled corridor, “there were no more doubts, no more arguments, no more pain, no more fear. He was in the Golden Country, following the foot track across the old rabbit-cropped pasture (279).”  Since Winston is receiving the final bullet and feels no doubts and no more pain or fear, his quote shows that in that instant he has fully submitted to Big Brother.  Although the Golden County should represent complete freedom, it ends up being a symbol of complete repression as Winston gives in to the Party. Finally, although Winston believed in parts one and two that the only thing the Party didn’t have access to was your inner thoughts and dreams, he is proven wrong in room 101. In this quote, O’Brien uses Winston’s biggest fear against him and references a dream of Winston’s: “Do you remember the moment of panic that used to occur inside your dreams? There was a wall of blackness in front of you and a roaring sound in your ears. … It was the rats …(184).”  In part two he tells Julia that “they can’t get inside you” meaning that they can make you obey on the surface but cannot make you a different person inside. However, part three raises questions on whether the Party was able to do just that with Winston, to extract his darkest secrets in order to make him love Big Brother. To conclude, part three shows most of Winston’s hopes crushed, as the reader realizes that his dreams are not as they seem, much like Oceania itself.In conclusion, Winston’s dreams show the evolution of his rebellion against the authoritarian government of Oceania. In part one, Winston’s dreams of the past, of Julia and of a possible friend in O’Brien, are what plant the idea of rebellion in his mind. In part two, Winston begins to actively pursue the idea of rebellion and his sleeping dreams seem to resemble the real world. However, after his re-education process in the Ministry of Love, Winston realizes that his dreams have deceived him and that their true meanings are much more sinister. Throughout the novel, we see Winston possess a kind of second consciousness, through which his thoughts of rebellion are harbored. Often this second consciousness takes the form of a dream. After being tortured and finally denouncing Julia, Winston’s ability to appear normal on the outside whilst entertaining thoughts of resistance to Oceania’s regime inside disappears. The ending of 1984 leaves the reader wondering if Winston has actually lost his humanity and succumbed to Big Brother. Was the regime actually able to get inside the privacy of his dreams and crush his rebellion?

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