1984

Characters

Principal characters

  • Winston Smith—the protagonist who is a phlegmatic everyman.
  • Julia—Winston's lover who is a covert "rebel from the waist downwards" who publicly espouses Party doctrine as a member of the fanatical Junior Anti-Sex League.
  • Big Brother—the dark-eyed, mustachioed embodiment of the Party who rules Oceania.
  • O'Brien—a member of the Inner Party who poses as a member of The Brotherhood, the counter-revolutionary resistance, in order to deceive, trap, and capture Winston and Julia.
  • Emmanuel Goldstein—ostensibly a former leader of the Party, counter-revolutionary leader of the Brotherhood, and author of The Book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, Goldstein is the symbolic Enemy of the State—the national nemesis who ideologically unites the people of Oceania with the Party, especially during the Two Minutes Hate and other fearmongering. While Winston eventually learns that The Book is the product of an Inner Party committee that includes O'Brien, whether Goldstein or his Brotherhood are real or fabrications of Party propaganda is something that neither Winston nor the reader is permitted to know.

Secondary characters

  • Aaronson, Jones, and Rutherford—Former members of the Inner Party whom Winston vaguely remembers as among the original leaders of the Revolution, long before he had heard of Big Brother. They confessed to treasonable conspiracies with foreign powers and were then executed in the political purges of the 1960s. In between their confessions and executions, Winston saw them drinking in the Chestnut Tree Café — with broken noses, suggesting that their confessions had been obtained by torture. Later, in the course of his editorial work, Winston sees newspaper evidence contradicting their confessions, but drops it into a memory hole. Eleven years later, he is confronted with the same photograph during his interrogation.
  • Ampleforth—Winston's one-time Records Department colleague who was imprisoned for leaving the word "God" in a Kipling poem; Winston encounters him at the Miniluv. Ampleforth is a dreamer and an intellectual who takes pleasure in his work, and respects poetry and language, traits and qualities which cause him disfavour with the Party.
  • Charrington—An officer of the Thought Police posing as a sympathetic antiques-shop keeper.
  • Katharine—The emotionally indifferent wife whom Winston "can't get rid of". Despite disliking sexual intercourse, Katharine continued with Winston because it was their "duty to the Party". Although she was a "goodthinkful" ideologue, they separated because she could not bear children.
  • Tom Parsons—Winston's naive neighbour, and an ideal member of the Outer Party: an uneducated, suggestible man who is utterly loyal to the Party, and fully believes in its perfect image. He is socially active and participates in the Party activities for his social class. Although friendly towards Smith, and despite his political conformity, he punishes his bully-boy son for firing a catapult at Winston. Later, as a prisoner, Winston sees Parsons is in the Ministry of Love, because his daughter had reported him to the Thought Police, claiming she overheard him speak against the Party whilst he slept.
  • Mrs. Parsons—Parsons's wife is a wan and hapless woman who is intimidated by her own children, who are members of the Party Youth League and represent the new generation of Oceanian citizens, without memory of life before Big Brother, and without family ties or emotional sentiment; the model society moulded by the Inner Party.
  • Syme—Winston's colleague at the Ministry of Truth, whom the Party "vaporised" because he remained a lucidly thinking intellectual. He was a lexicographer who helped develop the language and the dictionary of Newspeak, in the course of which he enjoyed destroying words, and wholeheartedly believed that Newspeak would replace Oldspeak (Standard English) by the year 2050. Although Syme's politically orthodox opinions aligned with Party doctrine, Winston notes that "He is too intelligent. He sees too clearly and speaks too plainly". After noting that Syme's name was erased from the members list of the Chess Club, Winston infers he became an unperson.

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