1984 Reading Log
March- April 2015
Part 1: Sections 1 & 2
Summary: At the beginning of the novel, we are introduced to main protagonist, Winston Smith. He is a non-inner party member of the Party, and a follower of Big Brother. Readers learn that he, and all others, are constantly being monitored through telescreens and there are no ways to avoid being caught for going against their policies. He lives in a time of a totalitarian Govermnent in which Big Brother is the ruler. He is implementing a language called Newspeak that limits word use and runs a rigid and brutal government. In these sections, Smith begins to become extremely frustrated with the wrongdoings of the Party, and commits 'sins' against them (buying an illegal diary, writing down personal thoughts). He almost begins to develop his own vendetta against the Party, and becomes entranced by the Brotherhood (opposing group). He fixates him self on a single member of the party, O'Brien, that may possibly be a member of the brotherhood.
Quote: “Partly it was a sort of hymn to the wisdom and majesty of Big Brother, but still more it was an act of self-hypnosis, a deliberate drowning of consciousness by means of rhythmic noise" (Orwell 26).
Why does Winston feel an anger towards the Party, why does he feel the pull towards the Brotherhood and O'Brien?
How does the Party control Winston and limit his capabilities, while the Brotherhood does not?
What do you believe is the significance of O'Brien thus far?
Learning Station #2
Present: equality, equal education, equal health care, everyone and everything would be the same, simple structure and government, fairness, everyone follows the rules , equal resources, equal jobs
Missing: diversity, opinions, freedom, individuality, less advancements in technology, innovation, creativity, everything we pride ourselves on- loss of sense of self
To love in such a world, I would see everything as the same, all extremely boring. There would be no individuality or creativity as everyone has to be the same, so no conflicts would occur. I think I would lose the sense of who I am in the world as I would be the same as everyone else and not identify myself with everything.
A world in which everyone shares the same perspective and opinion would be absolutely impossible. People are different, changed, and are not the same. The fact that there are differences would create competition and conflict, destroying the utopia. People are inherently desperately selfish and want the best for themselves, buy a utopia would not allow this. A utopia goes against all of human nature.
Present: freedom of opinion and speech, diversity, advancements, competition, political issues and government, caste system, conflict, change, unequal opportunities
Missing: equality, fairness, equal resources, general kindness and happiness, uniformity
Living in such a world would be incredibly difficult, but much more rewarding. In this world, there are so many situations that involve change and unfair chances. Theses are fueled by competition and conflict. However, there would be a chance for individuality as people would be able to identify themselves with something and be more like themselves as they aren't forced into being someone who is like all else.
This world is extremely possible, and is present in our world today as it holds all human values. Human nature is to be unique and opinionated and this allows for conflict and change. Change is essential to human nature and with it we find ourselves and we can survive.
Part 1: Sections 3-6
In this section of reading, political mind control through the use of language became apparent. Throughout the sections, there are examples of cutting short language. Language, it its largest form, enables an individual to think and be creative with words. However, the Party refuses this and cuts language short, eventually cutting it down to the simplest of words (good) and adding prefixes to change them (plusgood to mean excellent). There are no tangible words or definitions anymore. This limits one's ability to think and formulate individual thoughts as she is quelled to use Newspeak, the shortened version of language. There would be no speaking out or freedom of thought as there would be no way to formulate these thoughts. Eventually, the new language would become inveterate as it became more and more normal. This comes into play with the principle of doublethink. Doublethink is essentially the idea of believe two contradictory statements to be true (such as believing Minitrue tells the truth, not lies). People's abilities to form independent thoughts are being destroyed, so the individual believes whatever the Party says, even if they have evidence that contradicts the statement. The ministry of Truth tells you one thing about the past, but now they make you forget that and relearn. Winston continually ruminates this idea of doublethink in these sections. He works for a department that rewrites the past, quite literally. They reprint and rewrite what happened and what was predicted in the past, so that the elite Big Brother is always right. Anything else stated is absolutely irrelevant and nonexistent as the past is rewritten to be the exact present. Because of this, nobody knows what is true and what is not. Nobody knows anything. Thus, the inner parties become elite and are all knowing. They are always right and because of that they are given the most power and they create all of this.
Part 1: Sections: 7 & 8
-Why or how do you think that Winston had suddenly gained this insight as to how the system of the Party works and his need for rebellion?
-Why do the older people not remember anything of importance, and instead remember small details? Why did Orwell write in such a way?
- Do you think other people have come to similar conclusions as Winston, and how would this be done?
-How would the proles become methods of rebellion for everyone?
(For the fourth question) In the sections read, Winston continually speaks about the lower majority class that are known as the proles. The proles are known as being animals and aren't considered human. They are lesser than the Party and people like Winston Smith. Smith, however has become enraged by the Party's system and wants the proles to become a source of rebellion. They are so oblivious that they don't realize what they have; “if only they could somehow become conscious of their own strength, would have no need to conspire. They needed only to rise up and shake themselves like a horse shaking off flies" (Orwell 81). They would need some push to become aware of their own strength. They themselves make up 85% of the population, but they do not realize what this entails. These people are kept idiotic and knowledge-free so they do not realize their capabilities. They have such great strength in numbers that if someone were to demonstrate this or tell them, they may realize their potential and take a course of action.
Part 2; Sections 1-3
Julia and Winston: why are they drawn to each other? What does their relationship symbolize? What is their relationship like? Where is it headed?
Their relationship is essentially based on the human desire for intimacy and the fact that they support the same things. They are drawn to each other because they both have deep sexual desires, Winston in particular, that need to be realized and they find the realization in one another. Also, neither like nor accept the Party; rather, they hate the Party. They do what they can to evade the watchful eyes of the party and instead do what they want to fufill their desires. Throughout these sections they continually break several rules of he Party, and they form conclusions about the Party. They seem to symbolize the idea that the Party does not have complete control and the true needs of humans. They themselves are fulfilling their own human desires and needs, things that the Party limits. I believe that this relationship is going to lead several problems throughout the rest of the novel. For one, Julia is incredibly wise and clever for someone of her age and expertise. This leads me to be extremely skeptical of who she is, and I almost find her to be part of the Thought Police. When Winston began opening up to her, she “appeared to know the essential parts of it already” (Orwell 145). She already knows things about Winston that she shouldn't know, and this gives me the idea that she may be part of the Inner Party and is capable of destroying him. Along with that, she acts as though she incredibly experienced. She seems to have done this all before, but why would she? It is unlikely that she is doing this for enjoyment. Furthermore, she says that she can spot "people who don't belong" and that she "knew [he] was against them" (Orwell 135). She knows to much and has to much experience for her to be simply an ordinary member of the Party.
Big Brother Slogan
With this billboard, I was aiming to get across the idea that Big Brother controls everything and the citizens need to get that. He controls the past and the present, and controls the future and the past. He determines what happens and what happened. He can wield the past and present to suit his desires. He is the time master. Because he controls the past, he can change it to give evidence of what he wants, he controls the future as he controls what the world was like and thus what it will be like. He is also in control in the present, and because of that he can change the past (mutability of the past). At the top, I put accept & learn so directly at the top to demonstrate that citizens must understand this and accept the fact that Big Brother controls everything. They must do so immediately and learn from what he says happens and happened. Lastly, I put this image of a silhouette of Big Brother because he seems to be drilling this into your mind, almost as if he is lecturing you, and this supports my point of him lecturing this statement into you.
Part 2: Sections 4-8
“In this room I’m going to be a woman, not a Party comrade" (Orwell 156).
“her, he realised how easy it was to present an appearance of orthodoxy while having no grasp whatever of what orthodoxy meant. In a way, the world-view of the Party imposed itself most successfully on people incapable of understanding it" (Orwell 169).
“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" (Orwell 173).
“time in his life he did not despise the proles or think of them merely as an inert force which would one day spring to life and regenerate the world. 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).
“It struck him that the man’s whole life was playing a part, and that he felt it to be dangerous to drop his assumed personality even for a moment" (Orwell 189).
Initial Doublespeak Article
This article defines doublespeak as being the ways in which government and society (typically) use euphemisms and ambiguous or deceptive terms to force readers into believing a lie that is supposed to be the truth. It often involves sugar coating of harsh things. This isn't extremely prevalent in the book, but is so in the article. Throughout the article, there are several examples of how this is present in our society today. In recent times, there have been many "politically correct" terms brought into light. They are often more confusing and evasive of the true situation. For example, the politically correct way to say fat is "metabolically challenged." This evades the meaning and is incredibly euphemistic. The author also speaks of Military terms, such as collateral damage and servicing the target (killing civilians and killing the enemy, respectively). These terms, along with several others, are evasive. They make war seem like a positive thing and killing innocent people is just something that happens or killing the enemy is helping the enemy. They also speak of government terms. They say that instead of saying government spending or deficit, they say "investments" or "short fall." The government makes their own mistakes look more positive than they truly are. There are also several other topics, including education, and miscellaneous terms.