1984 Reading Log

Part 1: Sections 1 & 2

Summary

The story follows Winston Smith, a thirty-odd year-old man in 1984 living under the ever-watching eye of the Party. Winston dislikes parts of the government which controls him, but knows too well that if he stands against the Party, he will get killed. However, at the end of chapter two, Winston decides that he has had enough of the Party's oppression and starts writing in his diary to keep track of his issues with the Party.

Quote

"a helicopter skimmed down between the roofs ... It was the police patrol, snooping into people’s windows" (Orwell 12).

Questions

What does Winston's belief that O'Brien was against the Party imply about Winston?

How does the workers' reactions to the Two Minutes Hate show the control that the Party has over its subjects?

Learning Station #3

BB order December 3rd, 1983 is doubleungood and references unexistent persons rewrite and submit to plusauthority

Part 1: Sections 3 - 6

In section 3, we discover the control which the Party has over the past. When Winston arrives to his job at the Ministry of Truth, he is assigned several tasks, all of which require Winston to essentially change peoples' interpretation of the past. Winston does this without any compunction because the idea that the past is malleable is inveterate to the members of the Party. The final task that Winston completes in the section involved the creation of the perfect patriotic soldier to make up for the fact that Big Brother mentioned someone who, according to records, had never existed. After completing his task, Winston feels elated because he has a certainty that, of the many different solutions that people will have submitted for the same problem, Winston is confident that his will be picked.

In the next section, we meet Winston's acquaintance Syme, who writes the dictionary for Newspeak. Syme is very orthodox and very callous towards people who betray the Party. Winston is certain that Syme will eventually be vaporized because he is smart and aware of his surroundings. This section mainly focused on the fact that so many people in this world are willing to swallow anything that the Party gives them.

In section six, several facts about Winston are revealed. For one thing, he was married about a decade ago until they split up because they could not have any children. The woman who Winston married seemed almost scared of the concept of sex. She was quiescent when she and Winston were trying to have children, which was the sole purpose of their copulation, and she was very clear that she only wanted to have sex for the purpose of having children. Also, Winston writes in his diary that he had once had sex with a fifty-year-old prole prostitute for two dollars. He states that the image of her is indelible in his mind due to the connection the image has to him with guilt, lust, and desire.

Discussion Questions

1. To whom did Winston realize that he was writing his diary for?

2. What did the old man from the pub imply about the origins of the Party?

2A. The old man implies the the Party was originally the Labour Party. Based on his description of what the man from the Labour Party said, the Labour Party eventually developed into the Party of 1984. The man said that the people of the past were "'Lackeys of the bourgeoisie! Flunkies of the ruling class!'" (Orwell 103). This is close to what the history book called the Proles in the past. In addition, the Labor Party grew out of socialist parties in England, showing the origins of Ingsoc in 1984.

3. What do thought criminals typically do to avoid being officially arrested?

Part 2: Sections 1 - 3

The relationship between Winston and Julia is largely sexual. However, there are other factors involved as well, such as a common hatred of the Party and purity. The fact that their relationship is partially based on a common hatred if the party lead to Winston thinking that "“Their embrace had been a battle, the climax a victory. It was a blow struck against the Party. It was a political act” (Orwell 139). However, there is also a more touching aspect to Winston and Julia's relationship; they do seem to have real feelings for each other. If they didn't then their entire relationship would crumble due to a mutual fear of the Thought Police.

The slogan "Freedom is Slavery" implies to the subjects of Oceania that the life they are living is better than being free. Also, it builds on the fact that the proles are the most enslaved people in Oceania since they are also the most free. Finally, the slogan makes people associate freedom with slavery, making them not want to be free.

My image shows this idea since it is a depiction of Big Brother controlling someone beneath him. Also, the vague subliminal messaging in the image makes you associate Big Brother with the "Big Brother is Watching" posters as well as servitude. If people associate Big Brother with servitude, then the poster would be as effective as the "Big Brother is Watching" posters at keeping people from rebelling.

Part 2: Section 4 - 8

Section 4: "[Winston] had never before seen or imagined a woman of the Party with cosmetics on her face" (Orwell ).

Section 5: "From whatever angle you looked at the poster, the muzzle of the gun, magnified by the foreshortening, seemed to be pointing straight at you" (Orwell 162).

Section 6: "'I was talking recently to a friend of yours who is certainly an expert. His name has slipped my mind for the moment'" (Orwell 171).

Section 7: "'The proles are human beings,' [Winston] said aloud. ' We are not human'" (Orwell 179).

Section 8: "You will have to get used to living without results and without hope. You will work for a while, you will be caught, you will confess, and then you will die" (Orwell 190).

Article Summary

The article "Little Brother Is Watching" by Walter Kirn describes how the world today is always being watched. For the most part, this watching is harmless, such as taping someone doing a little dance. However, being watched can also be incredibley harmful. In one instance, a man named Tyler Clementi was taped by his roommate while he had an intimate encounter with another man. This led to Tyler committing suicide. The article says that there is essentially no way to end what could be considered even worse than the spying in 1984 since everyone has access to the information and can create the information. So instead, Kirn says that we should simply accept the fact that one cannot evade the prying eyes of what he cals "Little Brother."

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