can anyone tell me why he is so afraid of rats?
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why is winston so afraid of rats?
The important thing is that he cannot tolerate them, and O'Brien knows this and takes advantage of this fear in Room 101. He explains that everyone has something intolerable that they will sacrifice ANYTHING to avoid. The man in the cell was willing to watch his children die of throat-slashing rather than face his worst fearc . . . WOW. Winston sacrifices Julia. He had hoped to keep his love for her in his heart, but the threat of rats in Room 101 destroys this. After that, he has nothing left but to love Big Brother.
I am reading it for the second time and have not got to this place in the book yet where this happens.
It is an insightful observation that we have this weak place in our minds that can be used in this way, quite chilling really!
Instead 'Big Brother' is the only possible focus for love in Oceania.
He is like the plus-pole of a battery- with Goldstein being the minus-pole.
Goldstein's figure up on the Telescreen is not just the focus of hatred- but the means by which people receive their daily fill of hate: The fuel which runs the machinery of power.
The reason why Winston observes that it is possible to shift one's hate from Goldstein to Big Brother lies in the fact that he already has taken one tiny step towards becoming a follower of Goldstein:
He has bought the old diary- from an antiques-shop whose owner is a member of the Thought-Police.
It is the Thought-Police which generates Goldstein's followers, in the same way in which Goldstein himself is a creation of the rulers.
The reason why Winston is so afraid of rats is quite simply the fact that while the reader is presented with the illusion of a 'rebel' who acts in defiance of an inhuman world, he is still very much a part of that inhuman world.
When he is asked if he is willing to throw acid into a child's face for the sake of supporting Goldstein, he replies with "Yes".
That means that he is willing to be just as inhuman as the system he pretends to fight- while at the same time, he is doing exactly what the rulers expect him to do:
By becoming one of Goldstein's followers, he helps to create the minus-pole of the battery.
He is absolutely horrified of rats- because he acts like a laboratory-rat running through a maze...
With O'Brien being the mad scientist who makes him run.
The rats in front of his face become like a mirror-image of himself.
He does not like the image he sees there...
And so he acts like a true rat:
"Not me...Do it to her...Do it to Julia!"
But it takes a certain amount of ingenuity to re-rat!"
(Sir Winston Churchill)
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