BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU
BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU
This line, perhaps the most famous from the novel, is seen on large posters of Big Brother’s face throughout the city of London. The sentiment is both a literal and symbolic reference to the way that the Party and the Thought Police use telescreens and informants to keep almost constant watch over everyone.
In the Party histories, of course, Big Brother figured as the leader and guardian of the Revolution since its very earliest days. His exploits had been gradually pushed backwards in time until already they extended into the fabulous world of the forties and the thirties.
Winston knows that the stories told about Big Brother change and become more impressive over time, even to the degree that they require Big Brother’s age to change. To the party, and to the majority of the population, the historical specifics of Big Brother are unimportant compared to his symbolic meaning.
Winston thought for a moment, then pulled the speakwrite towards him and began dictating in Big Brother’s familiar style: a style at once military and pedantic, and, because of a trick of asking questions and then promptly answering them…easy to imitate.
Here Winston is rewriting a speech that Big Brother once gave. This moment illustrates not only how Winston serves Big Brother’s interests even though he inwardly hates him, but also that Winston explicitly knows that Big Brother is created and maintained by the Party, because Winston himself sometimes writes the words that Big Brother is supposed to have said.
At the apex of the pyramid comes Big Brother. Big Brother is infallible and all-powerful. Every success, every achievement, every victory, every scientific discovery, all knowledge, all wisdom, all happiness, all virtue, are held to issue directly from his leadership and inspiration.
Goldstein is describing the organization of the Party, and Big Brother’s place at the top. Even though the Party treats Big Brother as a real person, Big Brother functions as a symbolic repository for the good things that the Party has achieved. Conversely, Goldstein himself is the symbolic repository for everything bad that the Party wishes to blame on someone else.
You hate him. Good. Then the time has come for you to take the last step. You must love Big Brother. It is not enough to obey him: you must love him.
These are the final words that O’Brien speaks to Winston before having him moved to Room 101 where will he will experience his final torture and betrayal of Julia. The Party is not satisfied to destroy its enemies but must make them its supporters. Voluntary love of the Party is the ultimate goal of the Thought Police and the ultimate fate of Winston. The final sentence of the novel reveals that Winston now loves Big Brother.