1984 Reading Log
Druv Pai

Part 1 Section 1 & 2S

Summary: On a freezing day in April, 1984, the protagonist of the story, Winston Smith, starts the story by trudging up the stairs of his apartment. He remarks that it is hard for his frail 39 year old self to climb because he has ulcers on his ankles. He notices that at every stairwell, there is a big poster with eyes and the caption "Big Brother is Watching You" which introduces the idea of  the government controlling the people. Winston details his life, being an insignificant officer in the Party, the main political organization in Oceania,one of the three superpowers that dominate the world. He starts a diary from a random book he had found in a shop, then getting writers block, he calls it quits. He details how the police and Thought Police are the main controlling elements of people's lives and fearmongerers, and how telescreens spy on people. Winston reminces on his work in the Ministry of Truth, his coworkers, and his bosses, and the day's Two Minute Hate.  He looks down to see he has written the phrase "Down with Big Brother" over and over, a feat more incriminating than the act of purchasing the diary himself. He freaks out and thinks that he is going to be convicted and punished of commiting thought crimes, and suddenly hears a knock at the door. Freaking out, he opens the door, to find his neighbor, who wants help with unclogging her sink. While he is at her house, her kids play around with him in the only way they know - playing thought police and "incriminating" Winston. While a game to them, Winston freaks out because of this, and quickly departs. Back in his own apartment, he writes that committing thoughtcrime has already killed him, then he hides the book.

Quote: The songs, the processions, the banners, the hiking, the drilling with dummy rifles, the yelling of slogans, the worship of Big Brother - it was all a sort of glorious game to them.

2 Questions:

1) How did the Party take over from the government of the UK?

2) How could the Two Minute Hate be that powerful?

Learning Station #5 - 1984 is Part of Our Culture

1)  We found many ads for Geico on sites like Yahoo Answers, Ask.com, and Dictionary.com. These ads are targeted towards a younger group since they are on sites that those kinds of people would use. On TV commercials, the various coverage maps found as shills for various wireless providers are targeted towards middle aged people and young people just starting a family to try to get them as loyal consumers for life.

2) Geico's ads are trying to imply that they're 15% more efficient than everyone else -"15 minutes can save you 15% or more on car insurance." The coverage maps are intended to show how much more effective they are then the other companies - not always true.

3) In my opinion, the Geico ad is harmless, but not always effective, since their claims are so outlandish. The coverage maps are effective since an infographic, which can reach many kinds of people, are used.

Response to Reading Section 3-6 - Social Structure

In 1984,  there are three sofial classes within Oceania: the invenerate Party, also known as the Inner Party, the Outer Party, which the main Character Winston is in, and the impoverished proletariats, or just proles for short. The Party rule under the face of the august Big Brother, but even though the Party wants to be portrayed as kind and loving, the people know that many of its activities are carried out nocturnally. To keep this rule, government workers like Winston alter previously indelible documents to make Big Brother look infallible. The trite remarks of the propoganda say that "War is peace. Slavery is freedom. Ignorance is strength." On the other hand, the socially inferior proles are so irrelevant in the eyes of the Party that the governent does not even consider making rules for them (the Party has abolished the law, but anything comsidered even slightly clandestine is met with ruthless punishments.) Meanwhile, the Outer Party is the middle class workers that are the main constituents of the government, and the protagonist Winston belongs to them.

Part 1 Discussion Questions

1) How are the proles allowed to go free of the restrictions of the Party? ( Wouldn't it make sense to control the biggest group?)

2) Why, with all the powers of the Party, have the Party people with memories pre-Party not been vaporized already?

3) Why are the the proles and the Parties allowed to mix?


There is no need. According to the book, the few that had "survived the great purges"(96) had been terrified into quietness. The only people who could have accurate memories are the proles. Therefore, the proles are the most important people to resist the Party's rule, according to Winston.

Reading Log
Part 2 Chapters 1 to 3

6y6Throughout Chapter 2, Winston and Julia's relationship waxes and wanes. It starts when Julia passes him a note when she rushes into him after work. The note reads, "I love you" (120). Winston is shocked but reverts to his primal urges and meeets her outside, sleeps with her, and then returns to the city, where they discuss the government. Their relationship represents the growth of resistance, in this case against the Party. Starting with a strong aversion to the idea, it grows quickly, and dies down as quickly after the peak.

I chose the slogan "Big Brother is Watching You" because in 1984, Big Brother (or the facade of Big Brother) tries to be as omniscient and omnipresent as possible. He/ it does this by the use of telescreens, screens which record everything a person does in their own home. This is a major plot device of the novel and the reason why Winston starts the diary, which starts the whole novel - he wants a place to think without telescreens. Big Brother, overall, invades people's privacy under the guise of "security" and thus strikes fear into all inhabitants of Oceania. This is the most important point in the novel and the son why the noel is the way it is today.

Discussion Quotes

2-4: “He was standing in front of a wall of darkness, and on the other side of it there was something unendurable, something too dreadful to be faced. In the dream his deepest feeling was always one of self-deception, because he did in fact know what was behind the wall of darkness” (157).

2-5: "Syme had ceased to exist; he had never existed"(161).

2-6: “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. He had accepted it. The end was contained in the beginning. But it was frightening: or, more exactly, it was like a foretaste of death, like being a little less alive"(173).

2-7: “One did not know what happened inside the Ministry of Love, but it was possible to guess: tortures, drugs, delicate instruments that registered your nervous reactions, gradual wearing-down by sleeplessness and solitude and persistent questioning. Facts, at any rate, could not be kept hidden. They could be tracked down by enquiry, they could be squeezed out of you by torture. But if the object was not to stay alive but to stay human, what difference did it ultimately make? They could not alter your feelings: for that matter you could not alter them yourself, even if you wanted to. They could lay bare in the utmost detail everything that you had done or said or thought; but the inner heart, whose workings were mysterious even to yourself, remained impregnable"(181).

2-8: "Within thirty seconds, it occurred to him, O’Brien would be back at his interrupted and important work on behalf of the Party"(193).

Summary of Article -
Bush Should Face Criminal Probe Over Post-9/11 'Torture,' Report Urges

The Bush Administration has gone under fire for violating UN rules about torture, torturing in the name of foreign affairs and homeland security. The legality of torture mechanisms such as waterboarding is being questioned by the Supreme Court, and a full investigation of two deaths from torture will be carried out. The article goes into detail about how one man, suspected of being a 9/11 hijacker, was tortured for 6 weeks and lost 60 pounds, being forced to do morally demeaning things to himself. The Human Rights Watch believes that Bush and his VP Cheney should be going under criminal investigation.  However, there is evidence that shows that civilian leaders came up with initiatives to use the torture tactics, with opposition coming from the government. Nevertheless, even though on a supeficial glance the Bush Administration had resisted the start of the torture progam, they sure haven't opposed continuing it.

Comment Stream