Dear Orwell Today,
I'm an italian student of literature and I'm about to write my degree thesis on Orwell's 1984. I would be grateful if you could give me a little advice.
I should discuss the Illuminism of 1984 and I have to concentrate my attention on the character of O'Brien as "an eighteenth-century nobleman", an illuministic figure, and on room 101, "the place where there's no darkness" (linked to O'Brien and to illuminism). Could you suggest me something about how to develop this subject? Are there studies, essays, concerning the figure of O'Brien, what he represents and so on, and concerning Room 101 as a place with no darkness?
I hope to hear from you very soon. Thank you in advance,
In "1984" O'Brien was not an 18th century nobleman, he was a 20th century member of the Inner Party of Goldstein's Brotherhood which controlled Big Brother, the government that tyrannically ruled the world. See GOLDSTEIN'S CONSPIRACY FOR WORLD DOMINATION.
O'Brien (who loves Big Brother) knew that Winston (a member of the Outer Party) hates Big Brother. This was a thoughtcrime in Oceania and therefore O'Brien arranged to have Winston thrown into the Ministry of Love to be interrogated and tortured, including electroshock brainwashing in "the room where there is no darkness". While O'Brien was overseeing Winston's torture he explained how Big Brother had come to power and why members of the Brotherhood love power (which is another word for Big Brother). He was trying to convince Winston to say he loved Big Brother too (and really mean it).
But Winston was a hard-case (a slow learner) and had subconscious thoughts of hate for Big Brother which O'Brien detected when Winston talked in his sleep. Therefore, O'Brien took Winston to Room 101 where he placed a cage of rats on his face. After that, Winston was no longer considered capable of being an an enemy of the Party and he was allowed to go back into society where it was expected he would have nothing but goodthink and doublethink thoughts and love Big Brother like O'Brien and everyone else did.
After reading the above links you will have enough information on O'Brien and Room 101 to develop your thesis. No doubt there were 18th century noblemen in Italy and elsewhere in the world who compare to O'Brien, just as the tortures of the Inquistion, for example, compare to Room 101. Also, the "Illuminati" - as it is normally understood - is comparable to Big Brother and its adherents to The Brotherhood.
All the best,
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