1984 Reading Log


Mia Lombardo


Part 1 Sections 1 & 2


Summary: Winston Smith hides in an alcove in the wall from his telescreen to write in a diary, an act that can get him killed or punished. In his diary he writes about a film he saw the previous night, where children were blown up in war. He reminds himself of the Two Minutes Hate, in which he secretly hates Big Brother, and believes he has met a man who feels the same. When his neighbor Mrs Parsons asks him to fix her sink, her children threaten him of being a traitor and thought-criminal. As he wonders about who he is writing the diary to, he puts dust on the book's cover to alert him if anyone has moved it.


Quote: “Thus, at one moment Winston’s hatred was not turned against Goldstein at all, but, on the contrary, against Big Brother, the Party and the Thought Police; and at such moments his heart went out to the lonely, derided heretic on the screen, sole guardian of truth and sanity in a world of lies" (Orwell 24).

Orwell, George. 1984. New York: Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd, 1949. Print.


Discussion Questions:

Why do you think that the Brotherhood based their name off Big Brother if the two are supposed to be opposing views?

Is there a reason why Winston's house has its telescreen placed in an unusual position?


Learning Station 1: Avani


She is very still. She often rests her hands on her face. She is very focused on her work and writing. Sometimes she rubs her rings/hands together.  

Based on watching Avani, she seems like a very still, quiet, and focused person, unlike the chatty girl I know. She did not talk often or share her thoughts, and kept her gaze on her group. Her character seems very determined in work.

Watching another person without her knowing felt very odd. Making sure she did not sense me was hard and I made myself look like I daydreamed often. I would not like to be watched in such a way because I have many nervous ticks and would not want someone else to focus on them. This spying feels very invasive to one's personality. Even as I am writing this, someone could be watching me and I would not know it.


Part 1 Sections 3-6


1. No tangible evidence that the changes of newspapers, films, or books exists because any original documents are destroyed from the memory hole.

2. The actions of the Party in rectifying all errors of language show that its executives want their mistakes to not be rendered indelible.

3. A conflagration in the foundations of the Records Department destroys all documented evidence of revisions.

4. The revision of literature to suit the effects of Big Brother is done in a clandestine way.

5. The tacit idea that the simple style of Newspeak could one day replace standard English should frighten the citizens of Oceania; however, the Party's involvement in its citizens lives ensures this to have the opposite effect.


Part 1 Sections 7 & 8


1. What reasons could the proles have to rebel against Big Brother and the Party?

2. Why did Winston forsake going to the Community Centre after seeing the dark-haired girl, even when his reputation could be in tatters?

3. Do you think Winston could one day have the courage to kill someone?

Although Winston lacks the courage currently, he has the capability one day to end someone's life. He sees the dark-haired girl in an obscure area and comes to the conclusion that she is following him. He briefly thinks, "He could keep on her track till they were in some quiet place, and then smash her skull in with a cobblestone. The piece of glass in his pocket would be heavy enough for the job" (Orwell 113). He is intelligent and can plan a way to point evidence away from himself. However, at this point in his life he lacks the killer edge. He is a coward when relating to himself. He will not murder the girl because he is too concerned with being arrested and killed for loitering in the prole region of London.


Part 2 Sections 1-3


Winston and Julia's relationship is headed only in one direction-an end. Their brief but passionate love affair is riddled with several clues that can lead to the decline of their happiness. One such example occurs when Winston and Julia have a moment of freedom in a bombed church. He has finished recounting a moment where he felt inclined to push his wife Katharine off a cliff. He says, "  'In this game that we’re playing, we can’t win' " (Orwell 148). Julia and Winston can have happiness at the moment, but they can never truly escape from the Party's watchful gaze. They will never have a normal or relaxing life. The couple will eventually be caught by authorities and punished, most likely killed for engaging in sexual actions. One day Julia and Winston will become too familiar in public and will be discovered. The possibilities are endless for how they will become discovered, but the fact is inevitable that they will be caught.

This poster compares how Big Brother shows life before the revolution to how the Party pretends life after the revolution is. Before the revolution, children were forced to work in factories, men and women were flogged, there were poor living conditions, and wicked capitalists ruled over everyone. After the revolution, people are more intelligent and more educated, receive more sleep and shorter hours, have better houses, more clothes, and better recreational activites like hikes. The Party presents a very clear definition of 'better' in what images they choose to represent life after the revolution.


Part 2 Sections 4-8


Section 4

"I don’t think it’s anything—I mean, I don’t think it was ever put to any use. That’s what I like about it. It’s a little chunk of history that they’ve forgotten to alter. It’s a message from a hundred years ago, if one knew how to read it" (Orwell 159).


Section 5

“And that process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right. I know, of course, that the past is falsified, but it would never be possible for me to prove it, even when I did the falsification myself” (Orwell 168).


Section 6

“The first step had been a secret, involuntary thought, the second had been the opening of the diary. He had moved from thoughts to words, and now from words to actions. The last step was something that would happen in the Ministry of Love” (Orwell 173).


Section 7

“They were not loyal to a party or a country or an idea, they were loyal to one another… The proles had stayed human. They had not become hardened inside. They had held on to the primitive emotions which he himself had to re-learn by conscious effort” (Orwell 179).


Section 8

“We are the dead. Our only true life is in the future. We shall take part in it as handfuls of dust and splinters of bone. But how far away that future may be, there is no knowing” (Orwell 191).


Seminar Panels: Torture

Summary:

The organization Human Rights Watch, which seeks attention for violation of the rights of humans, calls for former U.S. President George W. Bush to be investigated for authorizing torture of prisoners of war. Detainees were allegedly tortured illegally and immorally, particularly in the form of waterboarding. Bush and the Justice Department tried to justify their actions by saying they were trying to defend the U.S. from terrorists. One suspect hijacker, Mohammed al-Qahtani, was severely tortured, from being waterboarded in the shocking amount of 83 times, deprived of sleep, and thoroughly humiliated. The former Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld,  violated the Geneva Conventions when he approved such techniques. Obama ended the official use of torture when he became president, but he needs to to take more steps in showing that torture is not acceptable and moral.

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