1984 Reading Log
Megan Luo

Part 1 Sections 1 & 2

Winston, a worker at the Ministry of Truth, starts writing a diary despite the nonexistent laws against freedom. Winston repetitively writes against Big Brother in his diary and fears the Thought Police will come to "vaporize" him. Winston shares the same views as O'Brien, but these two people alone cannot change the dystopian society in which they live, where children and women are feared because of their associations with the Spies and Police.

“Nearly all children nowadays were horrible” (Orwell 34).

Why do the typically preferable women in our society hold such a negative reputation in Winston's society?

What is O'Brien so respected for? Just his looks? He gets away with privately disagreeing with Big Brother just because the people fancy him?

Learning Station 2

Brainstorm Utopia:

Present: Equality, no wars, noncorrupt government, needed resources (food, water, shelter)

Missing: Diversity, technology, creativity

Living in a utopia would be boringly perfect. Nothing significant would be in the news, no one would come up with innovative ideas, and people would all just follow the same mindset.  

A utopia is not capable of existing. There will never be complete equality, and a utopia would not work because someone always ends up rising to the top.  The society needs a dictator to lead the idea of a perfect world, but just from this leader, the utopia does not exist.

Brainstorm distopia:

Present: different ideas, freedom, government, unequal opportunity

Missing: equality, fairness, equal resources, uniformity

Our world is a distopia. Societies are made up of different and unique people. A distopia appears to be negative with the possible conflicts, but reality is that distopia allows people and society grow and develop.

Distopias do exist. Distopias are the only worlds that exist in real life. Nothing is or ever will be perfect.  Human nature brings the different aspects to this opinionated society.

Part 1 Sections 3-6

Winston lives in a futuristic society of our world today.  Orwell makes writes in a prophetic way, predicting what life will be like in another century or so.  People become callous and no longer have emotions other than hate.  Winston is one of the few clandestine disagreers with Big Brother.  He and the rest of the minority of protestors are too few, so they must be indulgent followers of the Party's ways. Nothing of the past is indelible anymore.  People actually are elated at the thought of demolishing vocabulary.  This prophetic novel predicts our futuristic society as a trenchant society of hatred and no freedom.

Part I Sections 7 & 8

Both the proles and the people of the Party have poor education. How are the two scenarios different, and which one is better?

The proles do not have the option to get good education because they just live in a lower class where education is not provided. They still are able to get through life, but the education is very limited. The people don't know what proper grammar is, as the general conversation goes, ““Yes,” I says to ’er, “that’s all very well,” I says. “But if you’d of been in my place you’d of done the same as what I done. It’s easy to criticise,” I says, “but you ain’t got the same problems as what I got.”’‘Ah,’ said the other, ‘that’s jest it. That’s jest where it is" (Orwell 95). Because of the lack of education, proles become immune to the problem of their lack of education. With the Outer Party, people also do not have good education. Their education is squelched by the Big Brother policies. People do not learn the truth; they only learn what Big Brother wants them to learn. The proles, though they have low standards, have a better situation because they at least are not forced to believe something that is not even true. Proles still have the ability to think.

Why do Rutherford and the other two men confess to the conspiracies for the second time even though they were innocent? Does the Party force them to, or do they simply not want to live in this despicable society?

Winston walks into the area where proles live without fear.  In his blue overalls, he does not fit in with the proles, and they likely do not appreciate a member of the Party to be in their territory. Why should he be so superior and walk into their living space, yet right when he sees a fellow member of the Party, he fears for his life? Is this right, to fear one single person of your own class, while you are invading the area of the less superior majority? And why do the proles not even care of his presence?

Part II Sections 1-3

Winston and Julia share a cliché "forbidden love" relationship, though theirs is to a whole new level. The relationship seems abrupt and out of place, not the usual build-up for a relationship, but somehow these two people do truly have feelings for each other. Julia has a fiery and very sensual quality to herself, and she stands out as a sly rebel, playing a game with the predator. Winston is a humble man, quite the opposite of Julia, yet he too is against the Party. With these two, the saying "opposites attract" definitely applies. Winston and Julia have to plan out their meetings with each other like secret soldiers on a top-secret mission.  Their struggle is compared to “trying to make a move at chess when you were already mated” (Orwell 194). They have almost a Romeo and Juliet relationship, except both are hiding from the same enemy: the Party. With the daring of Julia, the heart of Winston, and both their mentalities, this forbidden relationship has hope of becoming the basis of a rebel group formation against the Party.

Big Brother will take care of all who join the Party and follow his policies. Whoever listens to him will be protected and watched over.

Part II Sections 4-8

“He could hear the woman singing and the scrape of her shoes on the flagstones, and the cries of the children in the street, and somewhere in the far distance a faint roar of traffic, and yet the room seemed curiously silent, thanks to the absence of a telescreen” (Orwell 151).

“‘Who cares?’ she said impatiently. ‘It’s always one bloody war after another, and one knows the news is all lies anyway” (167).

“He had the sensation of stepping into the dampness of a grave, and it was not much better because he had always known that the grave was there and waiting for him” (173).

“With all their cleverness they had never mastered the secret of finding out what another human being was thinking” (181).

“‘But you will have very little to confess, other than your own actions. You will not be able to betray more than a handful of unimportant people. Probably you will not even betray me. By that time I may be dead, or I shall have become a different person, with a different face’” (189).

Seminar panel story summary

James Loewen and Alexander Saxton aim to correct the lies written in history textbooks for high school and college students. US History books set out to make America seem better than the truth. For example, Abraham Lincoln and James Brown are depicted as idealistic men of the government. Loewen says that history books are written by the subjective perspective of one social class. He believes that history books need to be written from the view of all social classes, all races, and all genders; only then will the information be accurate.

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