1984

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Big Brother Symbol Icon
Big Brother represents the totalitarian government of Oceania, which is controlled by the Party and therefore synonymous with it. Winston learns in Goldstein's book that Big Brother is not a real person but an invention of the Party that functions as a focus for the people's feelings of reverence and fear. Worship of Big Brother also provides a substitute for organized religion, which has been outlawed by the Party.
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Big Brother Symbol Timeline in 1984

The timeline below shows where the symbol Big Brother appears in 1984. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1, Chapter 1
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
...the enormous face of a man with a black mustache, with a caption that reads, BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU. (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
...As Winston looks out the window at the cold, colorless city, he sees posters of Big Brother plastered on every corner and the word "INGSOC" written on a wall. A police helicopter... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
As the crowd reached a frenzied hatred of Goldstein, Big Brother appeared on the telescreen along with the Party slogans: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY,... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 3
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
...opinions when it's ideologically convenient. Winston tries to remember the year he first heard of Big Brother and realizes that the past has been destroyed, not merely altered. He does not even... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 5
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...by 20 percent, and reports that people are demonstrating in the streets in gratitude to Big Brother for having raised the chocolate ration. Winston is appalled that doublethink has made it possible... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 8
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
Sex, Love, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...He takes a coin out of his pocket and looks at it. The face of Big Brother stares back at him. (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 5
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
...holding a machine gun is displayed all over the city, outnumbering even the portraits of Big Brother . (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 2
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
...O'Brien says she betrayed Winston and was quickly converted through torture. Next Winston asks if Big Brother exists in the same way that he, Winston, does. O'Brien responds that Winston does not... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 4
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
...made intellectual but not emotional progress. He asks Winston what his true feelings are toward Big Brother . Winston answers that he hates him. O'Brien says Winston must love Big Brother, and... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 6
Totalitarianism and Communism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. Collective Identity Theme Icon
Reality Control Theme Icon
...his brain as he walks down a corridor. He looks up at the portrait of Big Brother on the wall, which fills him with a sense of happiness and safety. He knows... (full context)