What exactly is religion? Is it the belief in gods and the worship of those deities? But then, what is a god? In most faiths, a deity is an immortal, supernatural entity who controls and directs all of existence. A mere human can never fully comprehend the true nature of a god, the absolute power that a god embodies. In contrast gods have the power to lift a mortal man to a higher or lower plane of existence.

Religion is absent in 1984. References to Christianity litter the pages (the old churches in the rhyme stand out in particular) but no sign of actual worship is to be found. But on closer examination, a religious organization does in fact encompass this reality: the religion of Big Brother.

However, the ever-present image on the poster is only his human guise. Big Brother, to appeal to his believers, must present himself in a form comprehensible to mortal humans. His true form, intangible and immortal, lies beyond the scope of human imagination. 

Captured by the Thought Police, Winston Smith must now confront the ultimate test of his faith, the belief in the immutable past and unbending reality. The Thought Police, servants of Big Brother, are not content with outward obedience. True belief and willing obedience are their true aims.

In their headquarters, they will systematically deconstruct Winston Smith on all levels, physical, mental and spiritual. Then they will rebuild him in the party’s image. They will not stop until complete victory is achieved. Not even death will stop theme. There are no martyrs in 1984.

The man who performs the deed is none other than O’Brien. Perceived as an enemy of the Party, O’Brien is in fact a true believer. In many ways he serves as Winston Smith’s foil, both his opposite and his equal. Within this man lies the confidant that Winston has always searched for.

However, O’Brien embodies the philosophy and government that Winston despises. In fact, one could even say that O’Brien is the incarnation of Big Brother himself, presenting himself in a comprehensible form. O’Brien is God.

Winston on the other hand is just a mortal man. Suspended in a place beyond time and cut off from the outside world, Winston’s perception of reality falters. Without these connections, the foundation of Winston’s worldview begins to crumble. Tormented physically and emotionally, he is at his most vulnerable.

And thus does the final confrontation take place, the last battle between a man and a god. The outcome is predetermined.

At the end Winston comes to realize the truth, and the truth destroys his mind. While this god presents himself in the form of the man, his true form is the Party itself. The Party is absolute power. God is Power. The Party is God.   

Advertisements