What are your feelings about Mr Charrington Essay

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Mr Charrington is a fairly old man with a cockney accent whom we meet at the start of 1984. We have many mixed emotions about him as at the start we like him, and by the end we realise he is extremely “two faced”. We first meet Mr Charrington at the start of the book when Winston recalls buying his diary from a rough neighbourhood in the Prole district. The first description Orwell gives us of Mr Charrington is a man with an “unclean yet friendly smell”.

In my opinion this is quite a positive remark because unclean is a very positive word compared to its synonyms such as dirty. Plus grandparents stereotypically have a weird smell but are also stereotypically friendly. This description makes us relate to him and we very quickly accept him, as he seems normal in a very abnormal environment. Furthermore, the fact that he is helping Winston to rebel draws us to him. Orwell also describes his voice as “very soft”, which again makes him seem friendly and approachable.

He seems down to Earth. Winston and Mr Charrington seem to click very early. Mr Charrington opens up to Winston about his business and private life, “between you and me, the antique trade is just about finished”. Orwell depicts him as a very accepting man as although they have only known each other for a matter of minutes he has already opened up to Winston and seemingly accepted him by saying “between you and me”. He trusts him. Mr Charrington then shows Winston the room upstairs, “we lived here until my wife died”.

There is a sense of mutual trust as he has shown Winston a very personal space. We also feel sorry and empathetic for him as he is widowed. Although we are lead to like Mr Charrington at the start of the essay, he becomes the enemy towards the end. The main reason for this obviously is that he rented Winston a room with a concealed telescreen, which ultimately lead to his and Julia’s downfall and capture, “you are the dead said an iron voice behind them. It was behind the picture”.

He then enters the room and Orwell says, “his hair, which had been almost white had turned black” This is a very clever metaphor as white is a symbol of hope and friendliness and black is the colour of death and evil. As soon as we read that quote, we become less attached to Mr Charrington as he almost becomes less friendly. “He gave Winston a sharp single glance, as though verifying his identity” The word sharp seems cold and uninviting, and the way Orwell uses the word glance, which in my opinion is an untrustworthy word, makes us unlike him even more. It occurred to Winston that for the first time, that he was staring at a member of the Thought Police”.

All the way through the novel the two main enemies are Big Brother and the Thought Police and to find out that Mr Charrington is definitely a member is the final straw in my opinion. My feelings are that Mr Charrington is the ultimate enemy for Winston in 1984. Mr Charrington is a symbol of the amount of distrust and how a seemingly honest and helpful man can be so untrustworthy and deceitful. The way in which this character changes is just another reminder of the society of Oceania in 1984.

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