In George Orwell’s 1984, Winston Smith wrestles with oppression in Oceania, a place where the Party scrutinizes human actions with ever-watchful Big Brother. Defying a ban on individuality, Winston dares to express his thoughts in a diary and pursues a relationship with Julia. These criminal deeds being Winston into the eye of the opposition, who then must reform the nonconformist. George Orwell’s 1984 introduced the watchwords for life without freedom: BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU. Big Brother’s role, his effect on Winston, and Winston’s obsession with Big Brother are three major key points of Big Brother’s figure.
To start off, the role of Big Brother is huge throughout the novel 1984. The role of Big Brother is a symbol of a dictator. George Orwell had to think of Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin when he was writing this book. “George Orwell was obviously inspired in the creation of Big Brother with the images of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin in mind. He uses this in his novel to send terrifying messages to the readers…” (Buckley). Big Brother is symbolized as a dictator in the novel. Adolf Hitler was a dictator of Germany. A dictator is a ruler with total power over a country, typically one who has obtained power by force. Hitler was the leader of Nazi Germany, he orchestrated both World War II and the Holocaust, events that led to the deaths of at least 40,000,000 people. Additionally, is Big Brother’s image. Big Brothers image is located everywhere throughout the society, along with the ominous message that reads: “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU,” (Orwell 3). Big Brothers image is located everywhere throughout the novel. His image symbolizes government intimidation, surveillance, and control throughout the novel. In Oceania, citizens are constantly reminded that they are being watched and scrutinized by government agents at all times. Big Brother’s presence in general is scary.
In addition to, Big Brother’s effect on Winston was also huge throughout the novel. Winston is in search of a father figure. When he was little his father disappeared and only had his mother and sister: “When his father disappeared, but his mother did not show any surprise or any violent grief, but a sudden change came over her. She seemed to have become completely shirtless. It was evident even to Winston that she was waiting for something that she knew must happen,” (Orwell 164). Winston’s father disappears when he is young, and his mother is left to raise Winston and his younger sister alone. Winston, throughout the book, is in search of a father-figure since he did not have one when he was growing up. Big Brother could be that figure but, Winston rejects him. Addtionally, Winston can’t look up to Big Brother because he hates what Big Brother stands for. Big Brother stands for endless surveillance and a regimented life. Furthermore, Winston’s contempt for Big Brother is when Winston starts to question Big Brother’s existence. Winston asks O’Brien if Big Brother really exists: “Does Big Brother exist? Of course he exists. Does he exist like you or me? You do not exist,” (Orwell 274). When Winston sees posters of Big Brother, instead of being moved with respect or fear for the figure, Winston questions the existence of him. In the end, of the course, he succumbs to the torture and brainwashing and proclaims his “love” for Big Brother. At the end of the book, he came to realize that Big Brother isn’t actually real.
Alternatively, Winston’s obsession with Big Brother is neverending. Winston is constantly thinking and talking about Big Brother and the party in general: “WAR IS PEACE FREEDOM IS SLAVERY IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH,” (Orwell 6). The slogan is much heard in the novel along with Big Brother. Winston cannot simply escape Big Brother. Throughout the novel, there is always messages saying that “Big Brother is watching you”. The feeling that Winston feels is that he is constantly being watching by him and he has to watch his actions. When the story concluded, before Winston says he loves Big Brother, he knows that Big Brother doesn’t exist.
As a final point, Big Brother doesn’t actually exist, but he controlled characters throughout the book. His image, role, and effect on Winston was why he played such a big part in the novel. His image symbolizes government intimidation, surveillance, and control. His role was symbolized as a dictator like Adolf Hitler. Lastly, his effect on Winston made him be contempt with Big Brother.