1984 Reading Log
Part 1 Sections 1-2
Summary: Winston Smith, a thirty-nine-year-old man who lives alone in an apartment called Victory Mansions, struggles to accept the fact that he lives in a dystopian society in Oceania. He works for the Ministry of Truth, which is in charge of monitoring news, entertainment, education, and the arts, because everyone is constantly being watched. Although he is a part of the Party, a group of people who oppose Emmanuel Goldstein and his group called the Brotherhood that wants to overthrow Airstrip One's government, Winston secretly does not support Big Brother, leader of the Party. Winston begins a journal to track his thoughts because he discovers an area of his apartment where the telescreen cannot monitor him. However, he continues to live in fear of his journal being found and he being executed for being unorthodox.
Quote: "The Hate had started" (Orwell 24).
Questions: Parents have authority over their children, so why would Mrs Parsons allow her children to destroy her? Why would Orwell say the clocks are striking thirteen instead of saying the time?
Learning Station #4
Incubus's song, "Talk Shows on Mute," talks about how people are heavily influenced by society. The chorus explains how people do not stand out as illustrated in the line, "Lights, camera, transaction." A transaction is an interaction between people, demonstrating that people need to talk more to each other and share their ideas instead of being muted. The line, "Quick, your time is almost up" shows that time will run out for people to make changes in the world, or they "Burn into obscurity" and be covered up forever. In the last stanza of the song, the line, "Fault lines should be worn with pride" demonstrates that people should not be afraid of being wrong but rather should be proud of who they are and share their ideas. The speakers then says, "You're so much more, / Endearing with the sound turned off." This illustrates that people have great ideas but choose not to share them in fear of being wrong. The title of the album, "A Crow Left of the Murder," may show that people are so afraid of being excluded or not being accepted that they choose to be influenced by others.
Part 1 Sections 3-6
1984 can be seen as a prophetic novel because there are many references to the future based on the present. The book was also published in 1949 but talks about the world in the year 1984 in order to show Orwell's grim predictions for the future. Winston demonstrates his feelings of compunction for the way that life will be in the future, and Orwell comments, "Even the date of the year had become uncertain" (Orwell 59) because everyone has become like robots just focusing on obeying the commands of the Party. All people will eventually look and act the same, and already "[t]he women of the Party were all alike" (91). Winston imagines people will be callous and not care about anyone else except the acrid government, including the Party and Big Brother, as they look forward to seeing people suffer as they are hanged. In order to survive, everyone must be indulgent to the commands and desires of the Party to avoid being vaporized and disappearing forever. This includes thinking and talking like a robot instead of expressing one's own thoughts that either support or go against the ideas of the political system, otherwise known as duckspeak. Winston also imagines that people will no longer be able to show affection for each other or express emotions, and already no one is allowed to have friends. Finally, Newspeak will be inveterate by the year 2050 as everyone will be uniform to avoid opposing ideas and contradictions in their simple and boring lives as totalitarian governments continue to gain more power.
Part 1 Sections 7-8
1. Why does any hope of a better life fall in the hands of the proles?
2. Winston wonders, "For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable--what then?" (Orwell 107). What would happen if the government changed the world by controlling people's minds, and how would they successfully do it?
3. Winston imagines, "The place where there is no darkness was the imagined future, which one would never see, but which, by foreknowledge, one could mystically share in" (Orwell 134). Why does Orwell use "was" when talking about the future instead of the present or future tenses? Also, why would no one see the future? If the novel illustrates that the future will be dark, why does Winston think it will be bright?
Response to Question 1:
The proles are the best chance of seeking a better life and overthrowing the government because they are "swarming disregarded masses, 85 per cent of the population of Oceania" (Orwell 94). They would easily be able to gather a group large enough to outnumber and even overpower the Party. Many of the Proles do not have telescreens in their rooms because no one expects them to be able to do anything unorthodox or impactful since many regard them as lowly, so they would be able to conspire against the political system. Finally, the Proles also may not be able to learn Newspeak because of lack of money for Newspeak dictionaries or because no one would bother teaching it to them, so they would be the only people who could savor the old language and seek a better life.
Part 2 Sections 1-3
Winston and Julia develop affectionate feelings for each other, even after Winston has once wished of smashing Julia's head with a paperweight. Julia is a twenty-six-year-old girl who wants to make the most of her life and has a hard time dealing with the fact that the Thought Police and the Party have control over basically her entire life. This draws her to Winston because she notices that he, too, is against the Party and Big Brother. Winston and Julia give comfort to each other because they realize that they are not alone in their thoughts and feelings, and their relationship may symbolize a revolt waiting to happen if they find more people who feel the same way that they do about the Party. However, Winston understands that "[i]t [is] impossible that this affair should end successfully; such things [do] not happen in real life" (Orwell 146). They desire to be as happy as they can together before the Thought Police discover their secret relationship and kill them for being unorthodox and not following the laws of the Party.
Big Brother Slogan
The slogan "Hopeful Is Helpless" means that any sort of hopeful thinking about life will not help a person in any way and will just make him feel helpless about his life. Being hopeful and being helpless are the same, meaning that when a person is feeling hopeful, he is also helpless, and when a person is helpless, he is also hopeful. This slogan promotes the Party because it allows people to understand that spending time pondering and questioning the decisions of the Party will make a person helpless because he is unable to change the political system. However, it also means that Big Brother will support his people if they allow themselves to live under the complete control of the Party. My images of the exploding clock and the hand underneath illustrate that there is no time to be hopeful and that Big Brother is there to support the people who are on his side.
Part 2 Sections 4-8
Quote for section 4: "She had become a physical necessity, something that he not only wanted but felt that he had a right to" (Orwell 178).
Quote for section 5: "...and in any case the Party was invincible. It would always exist, and it would always be the same" (Orwell 194).
Quote for section 6: "The conspiracy that he had dreamed of did exist, and he had reached the outer edges of it" (Orwell 201).
Quote for section 7: "If you loved someone, you loved him, and when you had nothing else to give, you still gave him love" (Orwell 208).
Quote for section 8: "You will always be in the dark" (Orwell 220).
Doublespeak article #1
Summary of "Doublespeak and euphemisms in education": Doublespeak is the idea of changing proper names for words while still remembering the common terms or the former names. Doublespeak can be euphemistic because it usually seems to make words and ideas better than they actually are, such as by saying "ethnic cleansing" instead of "mass murder." Many people use doublespeak, including the government, military forces, and teachers. Doublespeak is a way for the government to control people's thoughts and their way of communicating. For example, instead of calling someone "stupid," one would say "clue dificient," which seems to be a better condition. However, a problem with the idea of doublespeak is that children in school and other people learn different words for the same concept, and their viewpoints on these concepts can change because of the new names.