1984 Reading Log

Chapters 1-2: Summary

Summary of sections 1-2:
Winston Smith, an employee of Minitrue in the city of London is Oceania, describes "living" in his world. He introduces Big Brother, a character who is the leader of Oceania and is practically worshipped by all of his citizens who uses mind control to maintain his power. Living in Oceania details being watched by a telescreen, a sort of one-channel television that cannot be turned off. It can be wire tapped by the government at any time, sending visual and auditory information as well as receiving political news to transmit to its viewers. They government uses telescreens as a way to monitor their citizens in order to maintain "peace" and make sure that everyone is being mind-controlled and/or in enough fear of the government to stay in line. Winston breaks the law by purchasing a book and in it, writing down his thoughts about the government and keeping a diary. He describes his paranoia in doing this action that may seem simple to those living in 21st century America, but is really something that we take for granted.

Important Quote:
“And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.” (24)

1) What is Orwell suggesting about human nature regarding how Big Brother maintains control over everyone?
2) How does the government use“The sacred principles of Ingsoc. Newspeak, doublethink, the mutability of the past" to oppress its citizens?

Learning Station #3: Newspeak

The reporting of Big Brother's Order for the day in the Times of December 3rd 1983 is extremely unsatisfactory and makes references in non-existent persons. Rewrite it in full and submit your draft to higher authority before filing'

BB's today Dec 3 1983 doubleungood talks unpeople Rewrite return plusauth now'

Chapters 3-6 Reading Response: Language

In Chapters 3-6 of 1984, the Party's use of language is shown to be a primary way to establish mind-control, or orthodoxy. The goal is to limit language so that it is impossible for any person to ruminate* the values of the Party instead of blindly accepting them. In its final form, the language will be trenchant*  and will only allow for the most efficient and emotionless form of communication. The human consciousness will be quiescent*, therefore orthodox. The elimination of language and different ways to convey meaning will eliminate meaning and therefore quell* any question of the Party's authority. Human expression, opinion, and art will all be thrown in a figurative conflagration*. The power of Big Brother will be inveterate* through the lack of language to express otherwise. How can someone revolt against a higher authority if one doesn't have the knowledge or words to even conceive that an authority is oppressing him or her? The Party, as they tell the people who work to create Newspeak, are making thoughtcrime impossible by simply eliminating thought through the elimination of language.

Discussion Questions Chapters 7-8

Discussion Questions:

1. Why does the image of Big Brother lead to so many different feelings within Winston's mind?
2. Why is individualism and eccentricity punished by the Party?
3. How can the Party exercise what outwardly appears to be complete control over 14% of the population?

The Party primarily uses psychological means to control the Outer Party. By using the natural human need for community and the instinct to act in a way that will make a group accept you, the Party forces everyone to agree with each other based on whatever the Party says. In order for the Outer Party to protect themselves against a common threat, the Thought Police, they stick together and behave like each other. This way, they are stuck in an endless cycle of following each other until the way they behave becomes routine. Along with the propaganda and constant stream of noise from the telescreen, the Outer Party is given no chance to think or formulate their own opinion because they are so focused on pretending and continuing to survive. There is no relatively safe way to convince the members of the Outer Party that their behavior has become unconscious because there is no way to prove the Party wrong. To someone under the control of the Party, there is nothing except the Party. The Party is able to keep this stable control by helping create false memories by changing the past, therefore controlling the present and the future, keeping the Outer Party in control.

“And when memory failed and written records were falsified—when that happened, the claim of the Party to have improved the conditions of human life had got to be accepted, because there did not exist, and never again could exist, any standard against which it could be tested" (Orwell 105).

Part 2: Chapters 1-3
Winston and Julia's Relationship

What does the relationship between Julia and Winston symbolize?

Revolution. Human survival. Instinct. Desire. Nature.

The relationship between Julia and Winston is extremely important. It is the one thing that gives Winston hope that other people besides him and Julia are self-aware. Their relations gives not only hope to change people's ways, but also a reminder of human nature. In a society where the human desire to reproduce is suppressed, engaging in sexual activity is the most natural and primitive thing that one can do. The natural human desire for sex is not the only key part of human life that is diminished by the Party. The idea of family love is also destroyed. Kids are manipulated by the Party to turn against their own parents, destroying one of the strongest relationships that humans have in their lives. Winston's relationship with Julia is the closest thing that he or anyone, has to a familial, loving relationship. Any kind of relationship involving love is a sign of rebellion against the Party and its principles because the strength of love can overcome the Party's hold on people.

“It was a blow struck against the Party. It was a political act.”

That's the first sign of the existence of the Party in 1984.
This slogan is the single most significant of all Party slogans. The idea of Big Brother symbolizes complete control. It symbolizes the absolute lack of privacy.It symbolizes ownership over human beings.It symbolizes everything that the Party is about.Big Brother is the idea that your emotions do not belong to yourself. Big Brother is the possibility that there is no Big Brother.Big Brother is the power that the Party has over the people.He is the psychological game between the Inner Party and everyone else.

The dark background represents the lack of insight that the citizens of Oceania have into what is really going on inside their own minds.
The statement in the beginning stands out. It's something that will stay in someone's mind, especially with the contrast.
The word "always" is meant to strike fear, it reinforces the boldness of the fact that everyone is being watched.

The eyes at the end are meant to be Big Brother's eyes. Everwatching.
They both look slightly different, making it so that the emotions that the eyes are expressing are very vague, so that anyone who is looking into the eyes feels as if Big Brother's emotions compliments theirs.
They contrast of the eyes and the eyes themselves are a final, bold reminder that privacy is nonexistent.

P2: Ch. 4-8 Discussion Quotes

Chapter 4
Why does Winston believe that Julia is wrong about the success of the individual?
"She would not accept it as a law of nature that the individual is always defeated."
Chapter 5
Why is Julia so oblivious and bored by the Party's ideas?
"In the ramifications of Party doctrine she had not the faintest interest. Whenever he began to talk of the principles of Ingsoc, doublethink, the mutability of the past and the denial of objective reality, and to use Newspeak words, she became bored and confused and said she never paid attention to that kind of thing
Chapter 6
How/Why did O'Brien say and do so many risky things right in front of a telescreen?
How did he know to trust Winston?
"I was talking recently to a friend of yours who is certainly an expert. His name has slipped my memory at the moment."
Chapter 7
Why is it that even though the Party can never "get inside" of a human, how can they control so many people?
"His mother drew her arm round the child and pressed its face against her breast. Something in the gesture told him that his sister was dying."
Chapter 8
Why would the Party allow members of the Inner Party to turn off their telescreens?
"'You are prepared, the two of you, to separate and never see one another again?''No!' broke in Julia. It appeared to Winston a long time passed before he answered."

Orwell's "1984" becoming a reality in modern-day America : Summary

"America equals Oceania confirmed," is pretty much what this article is saying. The author uses various examples from recent history and connects them to some of the Party's canon. America's government is using perpetual war, public mind control, and the voiding of civil rights to establish control over its citizens. Even the use of doublethink was displayed by President Obama, who after receiving a Noble Peace Prize, continued the violence in the Middle East. This is eerily similar to the Party slogan, "War is Peace." America, similar to Oceania, seems have been in perpetual war since the end of World War II. After the 9/11 terrorist attack, the government used propaganda to instill great fear into the American population. Control by fear. The government has also been violation civil rights and going against the Constitution by spying on international calls and wire tapping. The NSA is like the ThoughtPolice and the telescreens... possibly the device you're reading this on right now. In short, the article is trying to persuade the reader into believing that America is very similar to the world that Winston lives in.

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