The Role of Big Brother in 1984

1516 Words Mar 26th, 2013 7 Pages
What role does big brother play in the novel and what effect does he have on Winston?
In the novel 1984, written by George Orwell, “Big Brother” is the face of the party in control of the dystopian society of Oceania. Big Brother plays the role of what might be considered the most important character in the novel; without this character, the government would have much less control over the public. It is because of Big Brother that Winston and Julia get themselves a private apartment, and it is also because of Big Brother that they get caught later in the novel. He is shown to be “larger than life” as Winston Smith is told that Big Brother exists as the embodiment of the party, and can never die. In a sense, Big Brother symbolizes the party
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We see how this form of government and propaganda makes it impossible to differentiate between what is real and what is being made up- emphasis on how no one knows the reality anymore, because the world is as the party defines it.
Additionally, the portrayal of this dystopian society controlled by a totalitarian government might have been understood well by contemporary audiences, mirroring the rules of totalitarian regimes such as Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy- the citizens have no influence on the government and have no freedom of choosing the rules that govern and control every part of their lives. Therefore, Winston blames the misery in his life totally and completely on the government and on Big Brother. In Winston’s case, we can see that the propaganda, deprivation, and strict rules fail to make him concur with the party and accept Big Brother- in this situation, the party has to use extreme force and torture to make Winston love the party as well as Big Brother, in order for the party to maintain complete power.
A further important contributing factor, highlighting the importance of the party’s use of Big Brother in order to maintain control over society, is the lack of freedom, independence, and individualism of the citizens. The party is shown to destroy any sense of independence and individuality amongst its citizens, illustrated by the fact that they all wear the same blue uniform, eat the same food, and live in