1984 Reading Log
Mariah Stanelle

Part 1 Sections 1 & 2


In Part 1 sections 1 & 2 of 1984, Winston Smith walks to his flat, describing the poster of Big Brother on the wall, whose eyes seem to follow people wherever they go.  When he gets to his flat, Winston positions himself in a small alcove in his flat, just outside the vision of the vigilant telescreen on the wall.  He takes out a diary that he bought (even though he shouldn't have), and begins to write in it, deciding that he is writing to people from the future. He recalls the other day, when he was at The Ministry of Truth, where he locked disapproving eyes with a man named O'Brien during the Two Minutes of Hate (mostly about Goldstein, a famous traitor of the brotherhood).  A woman named Mrs Parsons asks Winston to fix her sink, so he does, but then is tormented by Mrs Parson's violent children.  After leaving her house, Winston makes his disapproval of the Party fairly clear and understands that he will probably be killed by the Thought Police for Thought crime.

Significant 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).

Discussion Questions:

1. How would you feel if you were in Winston's position during the Two Minutes of Hate? Would you participate fully along with all of the others and why?

2. Why do you think Winston is so dedicated to writing to people in the future? What is his purpose for this?

Learning Station #4

Song: Talk Shows on Mute

1. What does the chorus mean?

I think the chorus means that everyone is always acting differently around us and putting on a show.  In 1984 Winston and some of the other people are always acting because they are constantly being watched.  They have to monitor their expressions and actions so that others will have a certain opinion of them.  "Transaction" could represent the media and how people place so much importance in it.  Actors get paid to act, and the people in the Party get paid with safety for acting like "good citizens,"

2. What about the rest of the song?

"Pay an audience to care" -nobody cares unless they are getting something out of it

"Still and transfixed, the electric sheep are dreaming of your face" - this could represent the telescreens always watching people, always still and recording their every move and facial expressions.

"You're so much more endearing with the sound turned off" - this could represent how people are more respected and are less in danger of getting in trouble if they remain silent.  It is hard for people to hate people who don't talk and never express their opinion. In 1984, Winston tries to remain silent in his room so that the telescreen can not record him and have anything to hold against him.

Part 1 Sections 3-6

The power of language in the novel 1984 is quite evident, mostly in the strive to edit Newspeak and make it an even more trenchant language than it already is.  Winston's friend Syme is elated about the  quelling of inveterate Oldspeak words, and even explains how the Party will soon force all people to speak in Newspeak.  This elimination of words will take away what little freedom of speech there is left. By cutting down vocabulary, people will be much more like the unthinking robots the Party intends for them to be, since choosing different words to use is one thing that makes people different from other people.   If all people are forced to speak in the exact same way, the Party obviously wants them to become callous and dumb, because those who can think for themselves are a threat to the system.   

Part 1 Sections 7 & 8

Discussion Questions:

1. Why do you think the dark-haired woman was in the prole village where Winston was? Do you agree with Winston that she was following him or could there be another reason?

2. Why do you think the two proletariat men were arguing about the recent lottery winning number? Who do you think was right?

Answer: The men were arguing about the lottery number because one man swore he had written down every winning number for two years, and that no number ending in 7 won in February, while the other man was most likely told by the Party that the number did end in a 7.  I believe that the man who had written down the numbers was correct, because the Party probably changed a document that said the real winning number in order to cover up something, or so that they did not actually have to give the lottery money away.  The man who had written down the numbers was doing exactly what the Party did not want people to do, and the other man simply believed the lie that the Party told him.

3. Do you think that the people are so gullible that they would listen to the Party if they said the most common facts were not true (like 2+2=4)?

Part 2 Section 1-3


In sections 1-3, the relationship between Winston and Julia grows immensely, after Julia hands Winston a note professing her love for him.  They begin to have secret meetings, their first one being in the forest hiding spot, where they ultimately go against the wishes of the Party and have sex.  Despite their 13 years of age difference, Winston explains how he likes Julia for her rebelliousness and attitude and Julia likes Winston because he is different and dislikes the Party.  Even though they understand each other very well and are very accepting lf each other, their relationship is kind of creepy, especially because Winston is attracted to the fact that Julia has been with so many men.  The reason he finds this attractive is because it shows how she opposes the Party.  While Julia says she loves Winston, it seems that Winston does not fully love Julia but is intrigued by their rebellion against the party and the chance to fulfill his desires.  Winston even describes how, “No emotion was pure, because everything was mixed up with fear and hatred. 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).

War is Peace Slogan Poster

The slogan "War is Peace" seems contradictory at first, but it actually does make some sense, especially in the Party's point of view.  The Party seeks to create peace in the world through war, because they think that peace can not exist unless there is some sort of war to settle a dispute.  In 1984, it is never really stated exactly why Oceania is always at war with Eurasia or Eastasia, but it probably has something to do with power.  The Party does not believe that every nation can be at peace without fighting against each other; there must be a clear winner and loser .  The poster I created is all black, white, and red, becaue those colors seem to fit the Party's idea of everything being simple and not diverse, while red represents their need for violence and gore.  The middle picture simply depicts war, while the picture in the bottom right shows some soldiers that all appeared unified and the same.  This smaller picture is also meant to show the Party's hope for uniformity and sameness, because all of the men in the picture look robotic, which is exactly what the Party wants the people to be like. Additionally, I included the Ingsoc symbol that shows two shaking hands, reminding the people that while war sounds bad, Ingsoc is good and will create peace among people.

Part 2 Sections 4-8

Significant quotes

Section 4: “It was always very much the same. 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" (Orwell 158).

Section 5: “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been re-written, every picture has been re-painted, every statue and street and building has been re-named, every date has been altered. 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" (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. He had accepted it. The end was contained in the beginning" (Orwell 173).

Section 7: “What mattered were individual relationships, and a completely helpless gesture, an embrace, a tear, a word spoken to a dying man, could have value in itself. The proles, it suddenly occurred to him, had remained in this condition" (Orwell 179).

Section 8: “The Brotherhood cannot be wiped out because it is not an organisation in the ordinary sense. Nothing holds it together except an idea which is indestructible. You will never have anything to sustain you, except the idea" (Orwell 190).

Big Brother/ North Korea Article


This article explains how Kim Jong II finally apologized for the kidnappings of many Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s that many Japanese people were makinf claims about.  North Korea kidnapped these people most likely to infrom spies on Japanese customs or become spies themselves.  The North Korean government tries to acquire and withhold as much information as possible, but a man fleeing to China escaped with a phone book containing many North Korean names and numbers.  The phone book showed how alike North Korea is to Orwell's 1984, because there were numbers listed for hotlines where people could call to rat out their friends, family, and neighbors.  There are also secret police to spy on the people, so that they can not live a private life. Because Of North Korea's crumbling economy, they have asked Japan to pay ransom for the people they had kidnapped.  The US has pegged North Korea on the "bad guy list" along with Iraq, but Kim Jong wants to show that North Korea is not associated with Iraq. However, Kim's apology does not change the fact that Japanese families are still mourning the kidnappings of their loved ones and do not have specific information about what happened.

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