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Essentially, what breaks Winston's resistance in 1984? Could it be all the secrets he's been hiding, such as the diary and affair with Julia, etc . . .


What ultimately breaks Winston's resistance is the fact that the regime knows him better than he knows himself. Winston's always believed—wrongly, as it turns out—that he was able to carve out a little world for himself, free from the prying eyes of the surveillance state. The Party and the government could control his outer life and his day to day existence as a citizen of Oceania. He believed that despite their best efforts, they would never be able to control his inner life, the life of the soul and of the spirit.

Sadly, Winston is much mistaken. The regime intimately knows his innermost fears and what buttons to press to make him crack. The Party, in the shape of O'Brien, has an uncanny ability to home in on an individual's fears and exploit them for all they're worth. In the case of Winston, his biggest fear is rats, so O'Brien breaks his resistance by threatening to unleash a couple of these hideous creatures on him. He's rigged up a special contraption right in front of Winston's face in which the rats are confined. All he has to do is pull up the little gate separating the rats from Winston's face and they'll instantly start gnawing their way through his nose, eyes, and lips.

Under the circumstance, Winston has no choice; he can no longer resist. The threat of rats chewing through his face has broken him completely. Now he must put aside all thoughts of resistance once and for all and learn to love Big Brother.

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