Characterization of Winston Smith

Characterisation of Winston Smith

Winston Smith is 39 years old and the main character of the dystopic novel “1984”, written by George Orwell in 1948. The novel takes place in a future London, that’s called “Airstrip One”. It´s leaded in an absolutistic system by an unknown person, which called “Big Brother”. Winston is questioning the system and trying to find a way to abuse the gaps of the system in order to life autonomic and freer so like he wants it. In “Airstrip One” it´s the name of the future London where  the system is controlling the minds of the citizens by observing nearly everybody the party forbids words and at the same time creates new ones, In addition, the party forces citizens to feel certain feelings in specific moments and situations.

In the following I will characterize the main character Winston Smith with regard to the first five chapters

At the beginning of the story is Winston not really described, rather the happening around Airstrip One, so that the reader gets more background knowledge and that the reader gets more impression of the fictional London. He is a member of the outer party and works as simple employee.  More precisely, he works for the Ministry of Truth. His task is it to twist the history, the arts and the media as it suits the government. Because he is only a member of the outer party, he is under strict observation/supervision. The citizens of “Airstrip One” should not have their own opinion, if they have an own one, they get a brainwashing from the government. The citizens are severely punished for mistakes. In an extreme case they are killed by the government. Then Winston makes it, that it looks like as if the person had never existed. His Job is his greatest joy, because he can live his creativity at work. For his job it is necessary for Winston to believe in two truths, which cannot both be true at the same time. On the one hand he knows what really happened and on the other hand he has to believe what he has to change.

In his apartment he has an unobserved corner where he always writes diaries. This is one of the things that show us that he is against the party. He writes thoughts in his diary, starting with simple ones about the movies in the tv then moving on to criticism at the proles for never thinking about anything and down with Big Brother-paroles. It is forbidden to have a bookmaker a pen. And writing a diary is even much worse. This diary is written in the hope that it will be better for the next generations. At the same time, however, he is also afraid to write in this book, because the possession is already punishable. He is against the party. The second point, which shows us that he is against the party, is in the “Two minutes Hates”. He is only fixed on Julia, he gazes on her und and get the urge to sleep with her. In the ritual the only roars what the others roar, so that he does not betray himself as an opponent of the party. Otherwise he is not enthusiastic at all. He just does it without thinking about. He always deceives his feelings to protect himself from punishments. Winston understands how the system suppresses the citizens, and he also knows how the system works, so he can never be sure if other people think the way he does, also because he can´t trust anyone.

He is a thin figure, whose skinniness is supported by the blue jumpsuit of the party uniform. His hair is blonde; his face is reddish in nature, his skin rough through sharp soap, dull razor-blades, and the cold of the winter which has just come to an end (p.8). Particularly is that Winston has a varicose vein in the age of 39. He smokes regularly and drinks the party´s gin daily.


In the following chapters is he trying to remember what happened in his childhood.

The memories of Winston’s childhood are largely blurred and indistinct. Only sporadically can he recall individual events (p.42). His parents and his little sister suddenly disappeared in the 1950s.

He always had to go hungry and was selfish towards his mother and sister. He regularly stole food and made his mother responsible for the lack of food. But he feels grieved, for he believes that his mother sacrificed himself with his little sister. It was a family gesture of love, a value that no longer exists in the society of 1984. Anxiety and mistrust have long since taken their place.

Winston also feels that Syme is vaporized soon because he is too clumsy and does not hide his Intelligence. Winston knows that stupidity can save his life, so he makes himself “stupid”.

At the end of the fifth chapter, Winston becomes a little paranoid because he feels he is being watched. But when he turns around, he is actually being watched by Julia, she does not avoid eye contact until Winston looks at her as well. Winston gets afraid and wonders if Julia is a spy, or whether she is working for the thought police.