1984 Reading Log
Abigail Suratos

Part 1 Sections 1 & 2

Summary :
Winston Smith lives in the ecozone of Oceania in what used to be London, England. In this dystopian world, there are no rules, there is a new language, and there are telescreeens constantly watching every person's movements. Winston lives in this world and is used to the rules and regime. He is a member of the Party, which is one of the two political parties of Oceania. Winston does his best to try to avoid the telescreens, which monitor every peorson's movements in Oceania. He keeps a secret diary, which is not against the rules, but can be punishable by death. In his diary, he writes all about life in Oceania and his thoughts. Winston realizes that the consequences for keeping this diary can be dangerous, yet he continues to write.

"You had to live - did live, from habit that became instinct - in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every moment scrutinised"  (Orwell 14).

Discussion Questions:
1) If there are supposedly no rules in Oceania, why are there deadly consequences?
2) What role does Big Brother play in Oceania and what effect does he have on people's lives?

Learning Station 2
A Perfect World - Utopia & Dystopia

Utopia - and ideally perfect place, especially in its social, political, and moral aspects

What is present? - In a utopian world, there would be basic rights, happiness, world peace, prosperity, fulfillment, true communism, freedom, and good diplomatic relations.

What would be missing? - There would be no war, discrimination, disease, or diversity in a utopian world.

How would it feel to live in such a world? - To live in utopia would be peaceful and harmonious. There would be no war or violence and every citizen would always be safe. Every person would be happy and the community would thrive.  

Is such a world possible? Why or why not? - No, people have different views on Utopia. Every person has a different idea of what the perfect world would be like. Even if a certain world meets the criteria of one person's view of Utopia, someone else might think otherwise. There are different views of how a perfect world would look like. Also, because of human nature, it is not possible for every single person in the world to get along and live peacefully because they all have their differences and opinions.

Dystopia - an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one.

What is present? - In a dystopian world, there would be disease/sickness, war, a bad environment/habitat, unjust social classes, a controlling government, and rebellion.

What would be missing? -In a dystopian world, there would be no freedom, rights, individuality, tranquility, prosperity, or satisfaction.

How would it feel to live in such a world? - To live in such a horrible society would obviously be sad and oppressing. There would be poverty and crime everywhere and no freedom. There would be no more individuality because every single person would be controlled by the government. There would be no more unity between people and eventually war would break out.

Is such a world possible? Why or why not? - Yes, dystopia is definitely possible. We have definitely come close to a dystopia before. It is possible for a person to gain power and complete authority. For example, there are dictatorships in some countries today. Though we may not be living in a dystopian world today, if we keep taking steps in the wrong direction by making bad decisions, we may end up in dystopia in the future.

Part 1 Sections 3 - 6
Effects of the Changes in Language -

Oceania has created Newspeak to limit citizens' range of thought and ability to ruminate. The purpose of this strange new language is to abjure and quell thoughtcrime or rebellion. Through limiting language, Oceania is also limiting freedom and knowledge. People will no longer to be able to express themselves or how they feel because there won't be any words to explain what they mean. Language is an august and necessary tool in life. Without a variety of vocabulary, there will no longer be a clear form of communication. If language was to be limited and reduced, there would be an indelible effect on the human race. After a few generations of Newspeak, our original language will no longer be able to be deciphered. We could never go back to speaking english because by the time every person speaks Newspeak, there will be no one left that understands english. Also, if the totalitarian state continues to reduce vocabulary, humans will only be able to communicate through a tacit form of language, such as body language.

Part 1 Sections 7 & 8

Discussion Questions

1) Why does the party discourage love and sexual relationships between people?

2) Why are proles the only people allowed freedom?
Proles are the only group of people in Oceania that are able to live their lives similar to the way we live today. They are not constantly monitored by telescreens and they are allowed more freedom than the members of the party. This is because they are not expected to understand the intentions of the Party and are used for free labour. The proles "remained human." They preserve the original human life and are not as susceptible to the influence of the party.

3) Why does Winston believe that the proles are the only people that can take down the totalitarian government?

Part 2 Sections 1 - 3

Winston & Julia

Winston and Julia's relationship is quite unconventional. It started suddenly when Julia -- out of the blue -- decided to hand Winston a note saying that she loved him. From there, their relationship blossomed from a point when Winston wanted to bash Julia's head into the cobblestone to Winston reciprocating her feelings. I believe that this relationship changed very dramatically in a very short period of time. Julia said that she loved Winston even though she didn't know much about him besides his name and the fact that he looked different. Winston doesn't even know her last name. Their relationship is mostly physical, which is a reason why they are together. Sexual relationships are not permitted in Oceania. Another reason why Winston likes Julia is because she is not pure and good like the other women in Oceania. He says, "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 145). Both Winston and Julia bring out a rebellious side in each other. They put each other's lives in danger through their conversations about the Party and their secret meetings. However, I believe that their relationship is truly healthy for them. It exposes them to real love, which cannot be stopped because they are not being monitored by the Party. The Party destroys all other relationships (parental, loving, etc.). Despite all the dangers that come with being together, they seem to really care about each other. However, if they continue their secret meetings, they might start looking suspicious and they will eventually get caught, which will not end nicely. If they get caught, they may end up being forced to separate from each other, work in labour camps, or even be vaporised.

Slogan Poster

The goal of Ingsoc's slogans is to gain complete control over Oceania and people's thoughts. "Freedom is Slavery" is one of Oceania's doublethink slogans. It represents two contrasting ideas. In Oceania, no matter how much freedom you receive, you will always be under the surveillance or influence of the Party. For example, the proles are not under the surveillance or influence of the party, but they are still used for manual labour. The members of the Party have more benefits than the proles, but they are constantly under the surveillance and influence of Big Brother. This idea allows the party to make people believe that they have freedom, but still make them work for them. In a way, this slogan still applies to life today. We believe that we are free; yet we are still forced to work jobs in order to earn a living for ourselves.

Part 2 Sections 4 - 8

Key Quotes

Four : “The paperweight was the room he was in, and the coral was Julia’s life and his own, fixed in a sort of eternity at the heart of the crystal" (Orwell 160)

Five : "Do you realize that the past, starting from yesterday, has been actually abolished? If it survives anywhere, it's in a few solid objects with no words attached to them, like that lump of glass there ... History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right ... After the thing is done, no evidence ever remains. The only evidence is inside my own mind, and I don't know with any certainty that any other human being shares my memories. Just in that one instance, in my whole life, I did possess actual concrete evidence after the event – years after it" (Orwell 168)

Six : “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.” (Orwell 173).

Seven : "'They can make you say anything -- anything -- but they can't make you believe it. They can't get inside you'" (Orwell 180)

Eight : "There is no possibility that any perceptible change will happen within our own lifetime. We are dead. Our only true life is in the future" (Orwell 190-191)

Article Summary

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

This article identifies war today in America and our country's resemblance to the fictional nation of Oceania in George Orwell's "1984."  These similarities are shown through both countries' examples of "perpetual war, pervasive government[s], public mind control, and the voiding of civil rights." Like Oceania, America has been conducting wars with various countries for quite a while. The government has also used public mind control to make citizens believe that war is being fought for their safety and their freedom when war really benefits the government, who fights any forces that are capable of taking away their power. This article show's how Orwell's prophetic visions have become quite accurate through the way our government is becoming more like Ingsoc, who fights perpetual wars and quells any person that threatens them.

Comment Stream