Winston Smith  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Winston Smith is a fictional character and the protagonist of George Orwell's 1949 novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The character was employed by Orwell as an everyman in the setting of the novel, a "central eye ... [the reader] can readily identify with" . Winston Smith works as a clerk in the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth, where his job is to rewrite historical documents so they match the constantly changing current party line. This involves revising newspaper articles and doctoring photographs — mostly to remove "unpersons," people who have fallen foul of the party. Because of his proximity to the mechanics of rewriting history, Winston Smith nurses doubts about the Party and its monopoly on truth.

Winston Smith, lured into joining a secret organization whose aim is to undermine the dictatorship of "Big Brother", is actually being set up by O'Brien, a government agent. Captured and tortured, he eventually betrays his accomplice and lover, Julia. His freedom is finally and completely stripped when he accepts the assertion 2+2=5, a phrase that has entered the lexicon to represent obedience to ideology over rational truth or fact.

Orwell conceived of the character sometime around 1945. His first name comes from Winston Churchill, along with the very common surname Smith.

The character of Smith has appeared on television and in film in various adaptations of the novel. The first actor to play the role was David Niven in an August 27, 1949 radio adaptation of the novel for NBC's NBC University Theater. In BBC One's Nineteen Eighty-Four (1954) he was played by Peter Cushing, and eleven years later in another BBC adaptation, by David Buck. In the 1956 film, Edmond O'Brien took the role. In a dramatisation broadcast on BBC Home Service radio in 1965, Patrick Troughton voiced the part. In the 1984 film adaptation, 1984, John Hurt played Smith.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Winston Smith" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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