1984 Reading Log Liv Monroy
Part 1 Section 1 & 2
Summary: In the beginning of the book we are introduced to Winston Smith, the main protaganist. He is a member of the Outer Party and works at the Ministry of Truth. The first two sections act as an encyclopedia for this fictional universe, explaining all the terms and what this new world is like. Winston is at home sitting in the corner of his room that is unseen by the telescreen and he takes out his journal, one that could easily have him sentenced to death. As he thinks of what to write reflects on his day and what he did, allowing the readers to get a peak into an average day in the unearthed of 1984. Winston recalls the passion and primal instincts that arose in the Two Minutes Hate as well as the dark haired woman who he despises but secretly lusts for, causing him to write the words "DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER" over and over in his diary, knowing now that he is a dead man, but seeming not to care. The reading ends with Winston scrubbing the ink off of his hands and putting his notebook back in the drawer and placing a grain of dust over it so he can see if it is moved.
Quote: "Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughcrime IS death," (Orwell 38).
How did this totalitarian oligarchy come to be? At some point this government had to be established in place of something else, but how was this clearly evil society not stopped before it truly began? Didn't somebody see how bad it would become and try to take it down?
Once the government had been established, how did it gain so many supporters so quickly? I find it hard to believe that such a mass amount of people could be so effortlessly brainwashed into this false sense of comfort and belief in Big Brother.
Learning Station #4
The song "Talk Shows on Mute" is about the book 1984. The line, "Pay an audience to care," means that nobody will be bothered with something unless there is a possibility of personal gain. Part of the chorus, "Lights, camera, transaction," also relates to this subject and how the media is a two way street and the actual community has to consume the propaganda that the government puts out, so it is a transaction of knowledge, even if it is fake. The line, "Electric sheep are dreaming of your face," is discussing the telescreens that so closely monitor your every move. The chorus is talking about how the real world is slowly morphing into the world that 1984 discussed and how slowly but surely the media is spitting out almost brainwashing material that is lulling the public into a mutable state. The rest of the song is talking more about the specifics like the monitoring and the fakeness of everyone ('Impress me' personality). "Make all forget that they're the moth" is saying that the consumers are easily drawn to things even if they are made up, as long as it looks nice like a flame (in 1984 when then over menta lies about the economy and the food) The lines "You're so much more,/ Endearing with the sound turned off," mean that people in the totalitarian government are better when they have no thoughts or ideas of their own.
In this reading, we get a closer look into Winston Smith in both his public and private life. At the start of section three Winston is dreaming of his childhood, and the parents and sister he lost, because of Winston himself, he assumes. His dream wanders to the dark haired girl, but he is not aroused by her nakedness, but by her gestures and her potential for rebellion, showing that even on his deepest subconscious level Winston craves freedom from Big Brother. In the next chapter the readers get an inside look at the ministru and just what it is that Winston does (altering the past through articles and such to essentially delete anything that could negatively affect BB's appearance in the public eye.) In section five we see the darker side of Winston and also a look into his relationship with sex as well as his ex wife. In this reading we are able to compare and contrast the lives and personality of Winston to the rest of the people. We see just how easy it is to quell an entire nation into submission and ignorance when Winston is eating and the false announcement of an increase in production of foods and such is eagerly consumed by the elated cafeteria without hesitation, showing how willing they are to be happy even when they heard an announcement saying the exact opposite only a day earlier. We also see just how callous people are (except when praising big brother and reflecting on how august and glorious he is) when Winston reflects on how tragedy is a things of the past, how people don't really mourn and how a woman will be in charge off erasing unpersons event when her own husband was vaporized not that long ago. Through section five and Winstons diary entries the readers get an insider look into the more secretive and clandestine lives of the ourer party and how sex is looked at a as almost evil and how a relationship between a man and his wife can become so uncomforatble he will only find solace in an old woman's body. This reading reveals the hidden truth of Eurasia and how the masses function.
Reflection on Part I
1. What does Winston mean when he writes, "Until they become conscious they will never rebel and until after they rebel they cannot become conscious"? And do you agree with him?
2. Why do you think Winston is able to think for himself, privately defy BBand remember things? Do you think that there are others like him in that way, or is he alone?
3. Do you think that the rest of the public actually have memories? If not, how do you think those memories were eliminated?
Answer to #1: when Winston is discussing the matter of proles and the hope that they may contain within themselves, he says the phrase listed above. I think that this seemingly contradictory statement actually makes a lot of sense if you look at it from the right perspective. The proles are thought of as lesser beings who tend to be on the less intelligent side, so the consciousness is not in the literal sense but rather a more abstract term for knowledge, particularly knowledge of the Oarty and the need for it to be overthrown. Winston is saying that the proles will not rise against the Party unless they are fully aware of the evil behind it and how wrong the entire system is, but because of who they are and the circumstances they live under, they would not be able to gather that information in their propaganda soaked world until after they had risen above and had exposed all the secrets and lies the government tried so hard to hide. This becomes extremely problematic if you are invested in Winston's theory of the proles being the last hope of this revolutionized world, as they are the only ones who would be able to slip past telescreen a and even have the sheer manpower for an overthrowing. The proles are stuck in this paradoxical prison whole Winston, being enlightened to the wrongdoings, is unable to do so as well, but only because he is isolated in his longing for rebellion. Every other party member is assumed by Winston to be just another idle follower of BB, and one man against a million is not an optimal ratio. Winston is admitting defeat in this quote and allowing himself to give up a little as he sees the lack of rebellion in the proles.
The relationship between Julia and Winston is a very complex and unusual. In a world where everyone is constantly fighting against themselves and the harsh rules enforced on them, love would normally be the last thing on people's minds. But somehow, despite all odds, a dark haired girl manages to fall in love with a man almost twice her age in a population that is constantly monitored and constantly reduced. Although the readers hope the couple can survive, even Winston himself realizes there isn't much of a future when Orwell writes, "But you could not have pure love or pure lust nowadays... Everything was mixed up with fear and hatred," (Orwell 139). The relationship is doomed, but the feeling of disappointment readers feel is in itself quite questionable. From the very start the dynamic between the two is extremely unhealthy, with Winston wanting to rape and murder her and Julia, without ever having contact with him, writes to Winston informing him of her love. Then, when they do finally meet, they spend little time getting to know each other and have sex almost immediately. Winston also finds pleasure in Julia's lack of purity, saying that the more men she has slept with the more he loves her. Overall it is clear they are an unlikely and ultimately unhappy couple who are bound to fall apart under presumably terrible circumstances, whether it is death or otherwise.
BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING
In the world of 1984, it is common to look out onto the street and see a slightly terrified man walking with his children. This relationship has been engrained into the minds of all as a way for the Party to dismantle the family unit, thus destroying a very strong feeling of love (which could easily threaten the loyalty to BB). When the children are enrolled in Spies they learn propaganda about the Party and what they do, making them very eager to help out. This ready to go reputation also transfers over to their personal loves, however, as children in 1984 are notorious for reporting not just suspicious adults, but even their own parents. This poster is just one example of the kind of images that were most likely posted up all over Airstrip One in order to convince children to turn all sorts of people in. The slogan "If you see something, say something" is very common, but in this specific situation it is used to tear apart the domystic household and replace it with loyalty to the Party and Big Brother.
Section 4: "In this room I'm going to be a woman, not a Party comrade."
Section 5: "She did not feel the abyss opening beneath her feet at the though of lies becoming truth."
Section 6: "He had accepted it. The end was contained in the beginning."
Section 7: "The terrible thing that the Party had done wasto 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."
Section 8: "We are the dead. Our only true life is in the future. We shall take part in it as handfuls of dust and splinters of bone."
The Country Where Big Brother is Watching
In the article, "The Country Where Big Brother is Watching," Leela Jacinto delves into the secretive world of North Korea. Despite what people may have learned from "The Interview," this country is not all fun and games. In fact, this article discusses one of the more horrific examples of what a dictatorship can lead to; a kidnapping of eleven Japanese citizens. Since the seventies North Korea has been denying all accusations concerning the eleven missing people, but Kim Jong Il recently came clean in a meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister. This revelation from the world's most infamous leader led to a deeper interest in this isolated nation. That same interest led people to conclude that North Korea was almost completely parallel to the nation of Oceania from 1984, a book famous for its betrayal of a dystopian future where Big Brother is always watching, and the 99% of people who aren't in the Inner Party are left to starve, be brainwashed, or killed. Information is locked away along with anyone who stands up against the leaders and rocket bombs litter the sky. There is still hope, however, as one escapee managed to bring a North Korean phone book along with him, allowing the rest of the world to get a peek into the truth of North Korea.