1984 Reading Log
Part 1: Sections 1 & 2
Winston Smith is a middle aged man working for the Ministry of Truth living in silent oppression of The Party. He is fearful of its power but opposes its values. He dislikes living in such an oppressed regime that he commits thoughtcrime: a newspeak word meaning any expression of individual thought. Thoughtcrime is punishable by death, and Winston's feelings are so pent up that he ignores this and decides to start his own journal, all the while knowing that this could lead to his death. Through the beginning of 1984, we are given a glimpse of the dismal world of Oceania, a world that opposes children, thought, relationships, and any means of expression whatsoever.
"Either the future would resemble the present, in which case it would not listen to him: or it would be different from it, and his predicament would be meaningless" (Orwell 24).
1. Why did Winston decide to start writing his diary?
2. Why did Winston feel that O'Brien knew how Winston felt and sympathized with him?
Learning Station #2
Yes: Free food from the sky, world peace, economically efficient transportation, good education, no diseases or mutations, homes for all
No: Diversity, evolution, individual thought, hard work, poverty
I would love to live in a world like this because everyone would be on the same page of life and everything would be peaceful.
Such a world would not be possible because such scientific advancements aren't possible.
Yes: Judgemental people, oppressive government, a rebellious group with street cred, sadness
No: Peace, happiness, any freedom or privacy, individuality
Living in such a world would be torture and I would never like to step even one foot into a world like this.
It would be possible because all of the things listed here are human nature, and they are happening in our world today.
Part 1: Sections 3-6
1984 continues through the exposure of Winston's daily routine. Having to abject from many instinctual, intellectual, or emotional pleasures, Winston lives his life in a droll fashion, much like the rest of his world, with one difference. He is completely aware of the social restrictions The Party places upon their people, and keeps the moments where he strays from these restrictions as clandestine as possible. The Party has invoked an inhumane, robot-like instinct in the majority of the populous, as Winston observes. Everyone is required to appear approving or elated during the Two Minutes of Hate or morning announcements when The Party announces new conquests or "improving" standards of living. Other than those short spans of time, all are to remain callous. Man's natural sex drive is replaced by celibacy, in order to facilitate The Party's control over its people. Any sexual activity usually results in compunction, at least between Party members, if not death. 1984 represents Winston's view on a society turned into singular masses comprising of the same ideas, the same values, and the same views on life as their leader. This society comprises of only structure.
Part 1: Sections 7 & 8
1. Why is Winston think that the proles are necessary for revolution?
A: A revolution led by a Party member or a person close to Big Brother? That would be purely suicidal. However, a revolution led by the underprivileged masses, who make up 85% of the population, and whom Big Brother doesn't try to manipulate as much? That idea is genius. Since the proles are given reign over their own freedom unlike persons in the higher class, they can choose to do whatever they want, and by their strength in numbers and their freedom, revolution could easily be one of them. “As the Party slogan put it: ‘Proles and animals are free'” (Orwell 83).
2. How does The Party control the past?
3. What was life said to be like before Big Brother? Was it good?
Part 2: Sections 1 - 3
Winston and Julia's relationship could end as rapidly as it began. Their frequent meetings to make love or simply rant about the gloomy lives that The Party has placed on them is sure to attract attention. While Julia remains ignorant of this risk, Winston, on the other hand, recognizes it and brings it up as well. While reflecting on how long they have to live after they've been found out, he says, "'Six months, a year—five years, conceivably. I am afraid of death'" (Orwell 149). Julia, as expected deflects this statement with a sexual action and the conversation takes a different path. But in all logical thinking, Winston and Julia's relationship can't be permanent, because the party is too skilled in catching affairs like theirs. Their relationship is only a temporary distraction: something else to put their time into other than their mindless droning for The Party's "good" causes. We can only hope that their happiness could be a sign of change, but in the realistic, brutal world of 1984, we know better than that.
The slogan above signifies The Party's main goals for their regime. By applying backwards thinking, they convince the common people that what The Party is doing and what The Party believes in is right. The commoners have no idea what peace means, what freedom is and how ignorance works. By limiting their knowledge and using this slogan, The Party is able to control the commoners.
Part 2: Sections 4 - 8
Section 4: "He wondered vaguely whether in the abolished past it had been a normal experience to lie in bed like this, in the cool of a summer evening, a man and a woman with no clothes on, making love when they chose, talking of what they chose, not feeling any compulsion to get up, simply lying there and listening to peaceful sounds outside. Surely there could never have been a time when that seemed ordinary" (Orwell 157).
Section 5: “Do you realise 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” (Orwell 169).
Section 6: “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).
Section 7: “The terrible thing that the Party had done was to persuade you that mere impulses, mere feelings, were of no account, while at the same time robbing you of all power over the material world. When once you were in the grip of the Party, what you felt or did not feel, what you did or refrained from doing, made literally no difference” (Orwell 179).
Section 8: “The Brotherhood cannot be wiped out because it is not an organisation in the ordinary sense. Nothing holds it together except an idea which is indestructible" (Orwell 190).
While doublespeak exists in the world of Big Brother, it plays a big role in euphemisms in our modern world as well. Doublespeak has come to signify a way of saying things in a nicer, more "politically correct" way. The National Council of Teachers for English even created the Committee of Doublespeak in order to identify words with vague meaning and rename them. The Committee of Doublespeak also gives out an annual Doublespeak award to an organization responsible for providing most of these new euphemisms. Those organizations mainly consist of the military and the government. Instead of identifying these words, however, they redefine them to have a less personable meaning. For example, sheep, cows and pigs have become grain-consuming animal units in the eyes of the government. While it might seem more formal, doublespeak is just another ploy in the government's arsenal to gain control over our language and what we say.