An Analysis of George Orwell’s Depressing Ending in the Novel 1984

In the book 1984 By George Orwell, Winston Smith, the protagonist, lives in a world where the government attempts to control the bodies and minds of the civilians. He and Julia, a woman he meets about mid-novel, together hold to the belief that the party can never take away their love towards each other, and hatred towards the omnipotent government. However, in the end, the two are proven wrong when they are captured, taken to the Ministry of Love, and physically and mentally tortured. The party succeeds in molding their minds and, after Winston comes back to his dull life, he professes his love towards Big Brother and betrays Julia by ceasing to love her. Many readers of Orwell’s novel are angered by this ending because it shows them how easily they can let the government manipulate and control their minds which undermines their ability to think for themselves. However, this point is necessary to the work because it is the final contribution to Orwell’s message of the dangers of a totalitarianism authority.

To build on how the ending affects the reader, Orwell gave them hope that eventually the people could overthrow the government, but in the end he crushed it. For example, when Winston was being tortured by O’ Brien, O’ Brien said, “Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living — We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves” (Orwell 210). The inner party, in this case O’Brien, is made to be incredibly driven when it comes to squeezing all of the rebellion out of each individual. Consequently, anger is instilled into the reader because they tell themselves something similar this could never happen, when they are actually afraid that the government could become this powerful. This fear the reader has is used by Orwell to help influence them in supporting his overall message. In addition, at the very end of the novel Winston finally embraces everything that was forced upon him, “Everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother” (Orwell 245). Through this quote, Orwell shows how the party absolutely crushed any signs of Winston’s individuality and made him a slave to the ideas of the government like everyone else. As a result, he eliminates all of the readers hope of ever being able to maintain their individuality if the government were to become so strong. This turns the anger the reader has developed into a fear that one day this could happen them and everyone else. To wrap it up, Orwell’s unexpected ending not only angered the readers, but also frightened them towards the idea of a government having total control.

By affecting the readers so greatly, this piercing and profound ending carries out Orwell’s warning of the dangers of a totalitarian government. For instance, during the period of torture that Winston had to endure, O’Brien explained to Winston, “The Party seeks Power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power” (Orwell 217). This bluntly illustrates how much of human nature revolves around the idea of gaining control and having power. It is due to this instinct which causes people to “seek power” that helps prove Orwell’s point of the possibility of a government looking for and then gaining total control over everything and everyone. This helps make his depiction of life a few decades past his time much more realistic. Again, when O’ Brien is installing the party’s ideas into Winston’s head through torture he says, “Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating — A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon” (Orwell 220). This brutal point is the final foreshadowing of what the world could become if we continue to support totalitarianism, by showing what the party is ultimately striving for. Because it shows them this, it introduces a strong fear into the reader towards the idea of this actually happening which in turn causes a rebellion against the idea of a government ever having total control. In conclusion, all of these concise points are crucial to help increase awareness of the evils of totalitarianism.

Orwell creates a genius ending where the writing moves the readers emotionally just like any good work of literature would. The Novel revealed that when faced by an authority like “Big Brother” there is almost no escape. It angered them, by taking away their hope of ever being able to rebel when there is an all-powerful empire in our reality. This affects the reader deeply because it is a wake-up call to pay attention to the world around them in order to stop anything as terrifying as this from happening. All in all, he created this pessimistic ending to open up the readers mind to how a totalitarianism government, that could emerge in the near future, can break our bodies and souls or in other words trample our individuality. This new heightened terror of a dystopian world, which Orwell manifests to the reader, is his most significant support to the theme of the perils of totalitarianism.