1984 Reading Log
Carolyn Richter

Part One
Section One

Summary

Winston Smith has begun to feel indignant after obeying with the restrictive government in 1984. Winston hopes that the rumored army of rebels known as the Brotherhood truly exist so that he will gain independence from Big Brother. In the meantime, Winston proceeds with his life and copes with his despair by expressing his feelings in a journal. He repeatedly writes "DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER", which offers him a feeling of catharsis. This is short-lived when Winston receives a knock on his door, which he believes can only mean the Party have discovered he is guilty of Thoughtcrime.

Quote

"It was curious that he seemed not merely to have lost the power of expressing himself, but even to have forgotten what it was that he had originally intended to say" (Orwell 17)

—Analysis: People have lost sight of their own opinions because of the Party's strict (yet unspoken) guidelines.

Review Questions

1. Is Winston justified in his overall hatred of women? Why or why not?

-No. It is understandable that Winston dislikes many women's adherence to the Party, but he should not base all women off of a single generalization.

2. Are members of the Inner Party the most loyal members of the Party?

-Not necessarily. O'brien is in the Inner Party, but subtly defies them. He is able to maintain a high rank in society while keeping his own thoughts in check.

3. Why is Golstein a notorious public figure in the Party?

-Golstein was a high-ranking member of the Party who engaged in "counter-revolutionary" activities. He was condemned to death, but managed to evade his punishment.

Part One
Section Two

Summary

As Winston prepares for work, he encounters his neighbor and her children. He reflects on how devilish children have been raised to be, and how many children are considered "heroes" for turning in their parents as victims of Thoughtcrime. He then proceeds to continue writing in his journal; this time, his target is Thoughtcrime.

Quote

"...'We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.'..." (Orwell 35)

-These are the words O'Brien spoke to Winston in a dream. This probably means a place away from the Party.

Review Questions

1. Why do people fear their children?

-Children have been raised as savages, encouraged to worship the Party in an obsessive way.

2. Why is Winston concerned about his ink stain?

-If someone sees his old fashioned ink stain, they will be clued in on his behavior. People will question what and why Winston was writing, and Winston could be quickly caught by the Party.

Learning Station #1 - I Spy

Notes:

-discussed book

-took notes on iPad (behavior mirrors that of her other group members)

Summary:

The person I spied on was Megan. For the five minutes, she discussed the book with group and periodically typed notes along with the rest of her group. There was no unusual or distinctive behavior. She contributed to her group quite often, but there was no particularly notable behavior since the entire group behaved similarly.

Taking notes shows she is studious, contributing ideas to the group shows good leadership skills, and since there was no unusual behavior, it shows a degree of calmness.

Reflection:

Watching someone without them knowing was uncomfortable and made me feel a bit vulnerable.

Part One
Sections 3-6

Response

Throughout the three sections, a recurring yet awful topic was the destruction of language and literature, something that should be completely indelible. Words with opposite meanings are considered irrelevant, and the indulgent followers of the Party blindly agree with this. Winston seems to be the only person who feels compunction towards the destruction of language as it is, but lacks the liberty to discuss his opinion with others. As a result of the Party's controlling nature, people are abjured for the simple act of sharing one's opinion, which is slowly destroying the humanity of those who live in Oceana. With such a limited vocabulary,  Oceana will decline into a state of childlike simplicity and will be unable to function as a society.

Part One
Sections 7-8

Review Questions

1. Which social class, in Winston's perspective, has the potential to overthrow the Party?

2. Why is Winston drawn to the coral at Mr. Charrington's shop?

-Winston wasn't drawn to the beauty of the coral but rather the element of it belonging to another time.

3. Who does Winston see upon exiting Mr. Charrington's shop?

-The dark-haired girl who often stared at Winston.

Paragraph Response

For question one:

Logically, the only social class with a chance to conquer the Party is the proles. Winston reasoned that “If there was hope, it must lie in the proles, because only there...85 per cent of the population of Oceana, could the force to destroy the Party ever be generated” (Orwell 81). Only the population of the proles would be enough to overcome the Party's strength.

Part Two
Sections 1-3

Paragraph Examination

Julia and Winston form an unlikely relationship that quickly develops within the span of a single week. Julia is drawn to Winston by the way he is different from others in that he doesn't like the Party. Winston is attracted to Julia's youthfulness, but also her corruptness. Winston once proclaimed “I hate purity, I hate goodness! I don't want any virtue to exist anywhere. I want everyone to be corrupt to the bones” (Orwell 138). Above all else, what they are truly drawn to in each other is their rebellious streak. To each other, they symbolize a quiet rebellion against the government. However, their relationship is moving so rapidly that it is almost certain to crash and burn, most likely because of the Party. Julia has given Winston a reason to live, but she might just be the reason he dies.

Big Brother Slogan Poster

Meaning of the Poster

The design of my poster is meant to focus on the sadistic nature of the Party, but more importantly how they get away with it. The government justifies their control with shallow propaganda such as "Freedom is Slavery", which, even on the surface doesn't make sense. But the beauty behind it all for the Party is that everyone buys it, or at least pretends to. To an outsider, this poster thinly veils the Party's intentions to control  its citizens through unjustified means, but to citizens, this poster says to them that the Party is reasonable and does what it can to make people happy.

Part Two
Sections 4-8

Discussion Quotes

"...She had become a physical necessity, something he not only wanted but felt he had a right to..." (Orwell 152)

-Does Winston's possessiveness over Julia raise any red flags? Or rather, does this behavior mean Winston will be unable to hide his relationship for much longer?

"A new poster had suddenly appeared all over London. It had no caption, and represented simply the monstrous figure of a Eurasian soldier..." (Orwell 162)

-What does this poster mean?

"...He had accepted it. The end was contained in the beginning..." (Orwell 173)

-What does Winston mean by this?

"...What mattered we're 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. They were not loyal to a party or a country or an idea, they were loyal to each other..." (Orwell 179)

-Is it better to be a prole than a member of the Inner Party?

Summary

The main idea behind our article is that our country's past is not nearly as heroic as we were led to believe. Modern history books inaccurate in how they portray American leaders and facts, and mislead students who are eager to learn the truth about their country's past. History books exaggerate certain qualities of leaders to make them seem more heroic, change their beliefs into something nobler than they really are, and by the end of it all, these people are only loosely based on who they truly were. Americans come across as better people than they actually were, which makes a more pleasant story yet one that is also less true. The frightening part of it all is that the lies we are fed come from history books, the one source of our past we should feel entitled to rely on. One author, Professor Loewen, has dedicated his time to developing a book that tells the truth about our history by shooting down common misconceptions about the past. Loewen's work should be the standard of any history book, but for now, we must face the bleak reality that what we are taught cannot be instinctively accepted as the truth.

Seminar Panel
Article Overview

The main idea behind our article is that our country's past is not nearly as heroic as we were led to believe. Modern history books inaccurate in how they portray American leaders and facts, and mislead students who are eager to learn the truth about their country's past. History books exaggerate certain qualities of leaders to make them seem more heroic, change their beliefs into something nobler than they really are, and by the end of it all, these people are only loosely based on who they truly were. Americans come across as better people than they actually were, which makes a more pleasant story yet one that is also less true. The frightening part of it all is that the lies we are fed come from history books, the one source of our past we should feel entitled to rely on. One author, Professor Loewen, has dedicated his time to developing a book that tells the truth about our history by shooting down common misconceptions about the past. Loewen's work should be the standard of any history book, but for now, we must face the bleak reality that what we are taught cannot be instinctively accepted as the truth.

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