1984 Reading Log Blair Evans

Part I: Sections I & II


The first two sections go into the life of Winston Smith, a man who works at the Minitrue, the Ministry of Truth, in London. He has begun to write a diary, a dangerous act in his society. We also have a glimpse of one of his memories at the Minitrue. Characters are introduced such as the two unnamed women and O'Brien, his co-worker. The society is at war with Asia, and there is a large conflict going on with the Party, the primary political power in Oceania, and the Brotherhood, those who are against the Party, led by Emmanuel Goldstein. Goldstein is the target of the Two Minutes of Hate. We realize how the dangers of thought crime or a single hint of being against the Party can wipe you out of history and memory. Aware of this, Winston still takes the risk that can cost his life by writing his diary.


"You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every moment scrutinised" (Orwell 12-13).

Discussion Questions:

1. Explain the significance of the paradoxes seen in the three slogans of the Party.

2.  Why are children key helpers to the Party?

Learning Station #5

1. One piece of propaganda we have is a Sprint commercial where Sprint gives an offer by cutting the bill of a Verizon or AT&T user in half. This commercial tells the people that they don't have to pay as much. Another piece is a Surface Pro 3 Christmas commercial that compares the computer with a Mac.

2. The Sprint commercial tells others that they have more to offer by not having as an expensive bill as its competitors. Sprint is saying that they are better than Verizon and AT&T. The Surface Pro 3 commercial says they have more to offer and has more features than Macs.

3. These commercials are effective and persuade the person into thinking their product is good.

Part I: Sections III-VI

The dreams that Winston has in Section IV is the cause of his unorthodoxy in Airstrip One. His dreams about his callous feelings during the disappearance of his mother and sister cause him to think about what made them sacrifice their lives for him and question the ideas of Oceania. His compunction for such unfeeling causes him to ponder over life before Oceania. Such thinking can be seen as unorthodox and could reveal his clandestine thoughts. The indelible memories in his mind cause him to think if there is a better society than Oceania in its current state. As he ruminates about such life, Winston is barely keeping clear with the Thought Police and acting orthodox.

Part I: Sections VII & VIII

1. Who helps Winston learn about life before the Revolution?

2. What happened in the case of Jones, Aaronson and Rutherford?

3. What does Winston realize when writing his journal?

Winston sees that “he was writing the diary for O’Brien—to O’Brien: it was like an interminable letter which no one would ever read, but which was addressed to a particular person and took its colour from that fact” (Orwell 92). The audience of his diary is specifically meant for O'Brien and people like him who question the Party. O'Brien is the only person Winston can trust, and is writing to him.

Part II: Sections I-III

While Winston and Julia do have an intimate relationship, their relationship is very lust-driven. When Julia tells Winston that she has been with many other men, Winston thinks, “That was above all what he wanted to hear. Not merely the love of one person, but the animal instinct, the simple undifferentiated desire: that was the force that would tear the Party to pieces" (Orwell 138). Winston only cares for the downfall of the Party, and while he has sexual desire for Julia, he does not truly love her.

Ignorance is Strength Flyer

The poster promoting the Party's slogan "Ignorance is Strength" is supposed to show how the Party inclines its members to not think and to have very simple lives. This is used in order to prevent any doubts or rebellion against the Party, as those who think about such ideas are threats to the Party.The picture of the ominous dark figure watching the city is representing Big Brother, who is constantly watching you in Oceania and can monitor every move you make, every sound you make, and every action you do. The poem at the bottom suggests that you are being watched and if you are seen doing something unorthodox, you will be arrested, vaporised, or you may just disappear.

Part II: Sections IV-VIII

IV: "'I’m going to get hold of a real woman’s frock from somewhere and wear it instead of these bloody trousers. I’ll wear silk stockings and high-heeled shoes! In this room I’m going to be a woman, not a Party comrade'" (Orwell 156).

V: "They simply swallowed everything, and what they swallowed did them no harm, because it left no residue behind, just as a grain of corn will pass undigested through the body of a bird" (Orwell 170).

VI: “But Syme was not only dead, he was abolished, an unperson. Any identifiable reference to him would have been mortally dangerous” (Orwell 171-172).

VII: "When once you were in the grip of the Party, what you felt or did not feel, what you did or refrained from doing, made literally no difference" (Orwell 179).

VIII: "'His face grew solemn again, and he raised his glass: ‘I think it is fitting that we should begin by drinking a health. To our Leader: To Emmanuel Goldstein'" (Orwell 185).

Seminar Panel Article: Torturing of Prisoners

The Human Rights Watch was investigating whether or not former President George W. Bush and other officers had used illegal methods of torture on suspected terrorists from 9/11. These methods included waterboarding, pouring water on someone to give them a fear of drowning, and various forms of public humiliation. CIA tortured these suspects in various ways, while Bush and others did their best to authorize the torture and justify what they did. The Obama administration could not do anything, as such methods were authorized at the time, though illegal now. The Human Rights Watch is determined to make sure these methods are not used anymore.

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