Nineteen Eighty-Four (Literature)/Characters

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Characters from Nineteen Eighty-Four (Literature) include:

Winston Smith

Protagonist of the story. Serves as a Outer Party minor bureaucrat, and secretly loathes the oppressive society he lives in.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:


  • The Alcoholic: Drinks gin like a fish does water.
  • The Aloner: Winston is not the most sociable of people at any part of the story, often taking a passive role in social situations.
  • Heel Realization: Feels ashamed of how inhuman he had been after he starts regaining his humanity, reflecting on how callous he used to be two-thirds of the way through the story. Which is undone by the story end, leaving him little more than an Empty Shell.
  • Only Sane Man: He definitely feels likes one from the start, and it's through his eyes we see the world for what it is for most of the story. And by the end he's been so mentally broken by the Party he's just as mad as the rest. Ironically, by the Party's standards, he's actually insane.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Due to the oppressive society he lives in, most of his emotions are stunted, and his reactions to feeling desire for another human being are juxtaposed with visions of causing them great harm. He does grow out of this as the story goes on. And then is rendered even worse than he was before at the conclusion of the final part of the story.



Parsons

Winston's next-door neighbor and co-worker.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parent: His children obviously have no respect for their Bumbling Dad, and his daughter even sells him out to the Thought Police, apparently out of pure spite.
  • Big Fun: Enjoys outdoor activities and is quite active despite having a weight problem.
  • Calling Card: You can tell he's entered the room because a smell of sweat precedes him.
  • Dumb Is Good: Subverted. Orwell wrote him as a man of menial intellect who swallows the lies of the Party utterly without question, as he's supposed to represent those in a position to know better yet choose to remain loyal out of misplaced obedience to authority.
  • Fat Bastard: Subverted in terms of personality, he's portrayed as a genuinely nice person, but his weight is commented on disdainfully and his niceness is considered naivety by Winston and Syme.
  • Gym Bunny: Takes pride in his workouts at the community center and his home has tons of sports equipment.
  • More Than Mind Control: Parsons is the perfect example of being stupid enough to believe ANYTHING the Party says. He later is arrested on what is implied to be a totally false charge at one point, and he believes he's guilty because the Party says he is. Winston even notes Parsons has such a simple mind he doesn't even need to practice doublethink, he's so dumb he just accepts whatever lie he's told as truth without effort.



Syme

A philologist and co-worker of Winston's who works on the Newspeak dictionary.

  • Asshole Victim: He does get un-personed not too long into the book, and even Winston feels no sympathy for him, and even Orwell wrote him in as unflattering a light as possible prior.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Comments on a hanging, complaining the agony was a bit spoiled by the tying of the feet together.
  • Insufferable Genius: Winston does enjoy listening to him wax on about his trade because it is infinitely more interesting than listening to any other topic Syme has to talk about.
    • Also a plot point mixed with Foreshadowing. Winston is well aware the Party wants its members to be a mix of just stupid enough to believe what they are told and just competent enough to do their jobs regardless. Syme is noted by Winston to be too close to being intelligent enough to realize the Party's lies for what they are and predicts they will eliminate him as a precaution eventually.
  • Ret-Gone: Is "vapourized" around the midpoint of the plot, which Winston had predicted would occur, chalking it up to Syme being too smart for his own good.
  • Unperson: Happens to him midway through the story. Becomes a plot point when O'Brien makes an indirect reference to him, which tips Winston off he may be speaking with a Brotherhood member, as it would be incredibly stupid to do so otherwise.

O'Brien

A prominent Inner Party official whom Winston suspects of having anti-Party sympathies.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:


  • Believing Their Own Lies: Discussed in Part III with Winston. He candidly admits Winston must accept he has to do this while ALSO believing it to be absolute truth, because, as he points out to Winston, since Winston's own memory is obviously faulty compared to the collective one of the Party, he's actually telling himself the truth and needs to simply learn the proper mental discipline to accept that.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Zig Zagged. He's not above indulging in it or sanctioning others to do so, but the man is not a sadist about it, genuinely believing he is helping the party he subjects the torture to, comparing it to cruel but necessary mental health therapy.
  • Double Agent: Left unclear. He at one point seems to work against the Party, but even when he's shown doing quite the opposite, his potential to have been a deep-cover agent against them is never entirely discounted, and he deliberately refuses to confirm if he truly lying about the subject at any point.
  • Expy: Of Mustapha Mond. Both are somewhat foreign in their names and appearances compared to the other cast members, both are quite erudite and polite while still backing horrific regimes, and both give Breaking Speeches concerning The Evils of Free Will to the protagonist at the climax of the book.
    • As an added bonus, both freely admit to doing things counter to the regimes they wholeheartedly support, with the audience and Winston being a direct witness to several of those acts, but in both cases admit this also makes them the exception that proves the rule in an inversion of Screw the Rules, I Make Them.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Inverted. O'Brien points out to Winston in the final act of the story the Party does not pretend they are this trope at all, their purpose is NEVER to release their power over people as all their predecessors pretended. If anything, they want the exact opposite of this trope and bluntly informs Winston he will need to accept that fact.
    • Ironically, O'Brien (in his guise of an agent of the Brotherhood and as a Party torturer in the Ministry of Love sincerely believes all the terrible things he is doing is for a greater benefit. Weirdly, he makes these statements in total sincerity in the same scenes he later scorns such sentiments.



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