1984 Questions 1. Censorship and propaganda are both powerful tools used to manipulate citizens’ thoughts, actions, and feelings. Censorship is the deletion, blotting out, and editing of certain words and phrases in an effort to suppress the publics’ information. Propaganda can be described as advertising false or partially true information in an effort to win over certain peoples. The Party uses these two ideas as ways to brainwash its citizens. Examples of censorship and propaganda can be found all throughout 1984.
For instance, Winston’s job requires him to edit past articles and documents to make them always favorable to the Party and Big Bother. If Big Bother predicted that a new kind of product would be a raging success, but that product had failed miserably, his quote must be changed so that he had always thought that product would fail. The Party does not allow itself to be wrong, so by editing and censoring the past, it never will be. Propaganda is best witnessed through the Two Minutes Hate and posters of Eurasian/Eastasian soldiers.
Goldstein is portrayed as a man bent on the destruction of civilization and one whom everyone must channel their anger towards, yet we do not know his true intentions, or if he even exists. Likewise, posters of foreign soldiers are intended to look menacing and ominous. Yet the people do not know or ever see the Eur/Eastasians, and the extent or nature of the war being fought against them is anybody’s guess. The telescreen is also used as a constant stream of propaganda, as it not only informs you of Oceana’s success and greatness, but can never be turned off.
Through censorship and propaganda, the Party keeps the people in the dark, while also teaching them to love Big Brother. Newspeak is the official language of Oceania. It is described as “the only language in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller every year”. Newspeak is always “politically correct” in the sense that all words that disagree with the ideology of the party have been removed. All negative words have been removed as well. For example instead of using the word bad, Newspeak would say “ungood”.
By doing so, the language moves away from words that criticize and are unorthodox, and replaces it with simpler words that have an added on prefix or suffix. The ultimate goal of Newspeak is to reduce the necessary vocabulary into a handful or only a single word that can describe anything and everything. The purpose of Newspeak is to simplify English into a language that has no negatives. By saying the word ungood instead of bad, a positive is still present. The Party could contort and twist the words meanings enough that even so the word represents a negative; it can still be considered a positive, but maybe slightly less positive.
Either way, the value of the word, and all words eventually, has been lost. It has been replaced by an always positive, never negative way of thinking. The Party has structured Newspeak so it will continue to decrease in size until only several words are needed to describe everything. In the world of 1984, everything is not very much. Newspeak is designed so that as the words decrease, the meanings and value decrease as well. By doing so, the world becomes a less descriptive place, and becomes duller than it had been before.
This goes along with the ultimate goal of the party, which is to create a world in which everything is as simple as possible and no one will think as an individual. 3. Oceania is a vast state that controls a huge portion of land. It is made up of North America, South America, England, Australia, and parts of Africa. Oceania is constantly at war, fighting mostly for lands in northern Africa and eastern Asia. The city of London, or Airstrip One, likely resembles most of the other major cities of Oceania.
I suspect that many of the other important cities such as New York City in North America or Sydney in Australia have its own quartet of the Ministries. This is unless of course Airstrip One is the capitol so to speak, in which case it would likely be the only place these giant, pyramid shaped buildings exist. Aside from the Ministries, the rest of Airstrip One is a dump. Bombs constantly bombard the city, causing sizable patches in the road. Many stores are broken down as well, and the economy seems to be in no way thriving. The houses of the Proles and the Party are kept separated.
Proles love in tiny houses, not much better than shacks. It seems that the Outer Party lives in apartment complexes or small houses, while those of the Inner Party are granted mansions and mega suites to live in. Winston has an important role in society. His job is to destroy the past. He must change articles and text that has already been printed so that the Party is always in the right and never in the wrong. One example of this is during Hate Week. A speaker is speaking out violently against Eurasia, when suddenly a man runs up and whispers in his ear.
Without pause, he switches his hatred towards Eastasia, and the people blindly accept that they have been at war with Eastasia the whole time. For the next week, Winston and his peers at Ministry of Truth are forced to work constantly until there is no trace that Oceania was every at war with Eurasia. The Party has an iron grip on its citizens. No thought, word, or action is allowed to be directed against the Party, and free thinking is a crime. Propaganda and censorship are used heavily to the point that it is impossible to tell lies from truths.
Doublethink is taught to all citizens, meaning that each person can hold two contradicting facts in their mind and believe both of them to be true. They establish the principles of Ingsoc by posting them everywhere; they beat them into you until you believe nothing but English socialism is correct. They intimidate you with signs of Big Brother and the ever-present thought of the Secret Police. The party truly has control over you every action, and you can do nothing but succumb to its will. 4. The love that Winston and Julia share is a strange one.
They are guided together by Julia’s bold move to fall and slip Winston the note. Their love is not that of two people who have grown to know each other over time and formed a bond, but instead is more of a rebellious act against the state. They both hate the Party and its principles, and therefore feel a connection that they use as love; in a society such as theirs, the love we feel in our world is nonexistent. By taking the initiative, Julia, who has had other affairs with “scores” of other men, becomes the dominant figure and leader in the relationship.
She sets up the meeting places and times. She gives Winston directions and instructs him on what he must and mustn’t do. As time passes, her openness about her hatred of Big Brother rubs off on Winston to a point even he does not expect. He had always spited Big Brother, but hearing those words echoed from another intensifies his feelings. His time with her shows him what a world could be like without the evil and madness of the Party, and he resents them even more for it. Overcome with more hatred and anger than before, Winston takes over the relationship.
He is the one who decides to rent the bedroom over Mr. Charington’s shop. He is the one who decides to venture to O’Brien’s house. This would cause many to question the relationship, as it eventually drives them to their inescapable doom. But Winston knew he was doomed from the beginning, doomed from the moment he first put pen to paper in his diary. So by living, shall I dare say, happily, at least for a few weeks time, Winston and Julia’s relationship was able to teach them of a world free of pain, and quite possibly, what real love feels like. 5. Mr.
Charington’s role in 1984 is to connect the unknown past with the unknown future. Winston always wonders how the world used to be, going so far as buying a few drinks for an elderly prole to find out. He similarly wonders what the future holds, and constantly references the proles as the saviors of future generations. Mr. Charington is able to connect these two periods by portraying himself as an elderly man owning an antique shop and then transforming into a new-age Thought Policeman. By showing Winston tangible pieces of the past, Charington gains Winston’s interest and his trust.
He then waits for the perfect opportunity to arrest Winston, causing the immediate and distant future to become cloudy. Charington’s shop can be considered a better representation of the past than himself. While his elderly man disguise is clever, the shop is the key to the whole illusion. Inside the shop are dozens of ancient collectables. Winston first purchases a diary from the shop, and later a small paperweight. The shop, its pieces, and Mr. Charington are all a deception, set up to lure in unsuspecting Party members who have gone awry.
Anyone who enters the shop, such as Winston, may become a threat to the Party, and this is because the shop will only catch the attention of those who have become too intelligent for their own good. Winston openly speaks that he was doomed from the moment he purchased the diary. In reality, he was likely doomed from the moment he walked in to the shop, as anyone who blindly follows Ingsoc will pass the store by without a second thought. The fact that the shop represents the past and the unknown is an advantage the Party uses to lure in those who take notice of what others would not. . Room 101 is a truly dangerous place. Not only does it contain your deepest fear, ready to be unleashed on you at any time, but also represents you are in the last stage before your “reteachings” are complete. When your worst fear is released upon you, the objective is to cause you to denounce that which you love the most. By wishing the pain you are about to encounter unto another, you relinquish any bonds still remaining and therefore lose any feelings of connection you previously felt. The night that Winston awakes screaming for his love Julia, he is taken to Room 101.
A cage full of rats is strapped to his face and the instant before they are unleashed he screams out to do it to Julia. He has been reduced to such a state that he will say or do anything, just so long that the rats are not allowed to devour his face. When he is released back to the outside world, he sees Julia once more. They have a quick conversation over how they both betrayed each other and how the pain becomes so unbearable you will do anything to make it stop. They go their separate ways, feeling nothing for each other. Winston’s final view of Julia is one of distaste and uneasiness.
The one he once loved has become foreign to him. He can no longer connect with her in the ways he could. The love that he held in his heart for her is now replaced by discomfort. Their brief conversation portrays them as both shooting looks of dislike at one another. Their relationship destroyed, Winston no longer cares or feels positive emotion towards Julia. 7. What finally happens to Winston shows the power of the Party and their ability to corrupt everyone into their way of thinking. Moments from having his face eaten off, Winston screams out to instead have the rats eat Julia, so long as they don’t harm him.
Getting the answer that he had wanted all along, O’Brien allows Winston to leave Room 101 and the Ministry of Love in order to assimilate back into society. Soon after his release, Winston sees Julia, for whom he now feels nothing. They have an awkward and uncomfortable discussion before party ways. In the last scene, Winston is sitting in a bar when a newsflash on the telescreen proclaims that Oceania has taken over Africa. Excited by the news, Winston feels proud to be a citizen of Oceania, and is elated to learn that he truly loves Big Brother. Winston was a difficult case for two reasons.
First, he had a much better understanding of the world around him than practically anyone else. While all others blindly followed the policies of the Party, Winston questioned them, and yearned to know of a past in which the world was not so. The ignorance in his peers was instead replaced by curiosity and a want for a better, freer life. Due to this quality, it took O’Brien much longer to break Winston down and make him believe that his life was the best that it could possibly be. The second reason Winston was a difficult case was his incredible love for Julia.
He truly loved her, and because of this, it took Winston an incredibly long time for him to betray her given the torture he received. He was willing to accept crimes he had not committed, to hither to O’Brien’s every command, but he was not willing to turn his back on Julia until the instant before his face was to be devoured. And while this shows that Winston was an incredibly difficult case, it also shows that O’Brien had been correct all along, that no man was strong enough, not even Winston, to withstand the torture that occurs in Room 101. 8.
I believe that Orwell intends to leave the reader with a sense of pessimism. The final sentence of the novel signifies that Winston’s transformation is complete; he has become all that he has loathed and despised. Winston now finds solace in thoughts of Big Brother and Ingsoc, whereas earlier in the novel it was thoughts of Julia and the Brotherhood that kept him moving forward. In doing so, Orwell expresses to his audience that in this world he has created, there is no escape. Big Brother has control of you from the moment you are born until the moment you die, whether you realize it or not.
You are constantly watched and every movement scrutinized under a microscope. You are constantly heard; if you utter the wrong words, you are headed to the Ministry of Love. Every move you make, every word you speak must show Big Brother and Oceana in a positive light. Telescreens are everywhere, constantly watching over you. But the most important figure in a world such as this is one that somehow makes the transition from a physical demon to one that can intrude on your mind. We have this in the form of the Secret Police.
In my opinion, this is the most important and obvious piece which tells us that Orwell intends to leave us with a sense of pessimism. The Secret Police are a force designed not only to sabotage you physically, but mentally as well. Winston describes them as ruthless, ready to pounce on you with the first act of thoughtcrime. A throughtcrime is the worst kind of crime, as it not only is a thought against the state, but most importantly, it can become a physical act against the state.
Thoughtcrime is perceived as the seeds of rebellion and by inventing the Secret Police, a force that can tap into one’s mind, we have crushed the seeds before they have even been planted. This is the scariest part to me. A world in which we are not allowed to act is frightening. A world in which we are unable to freely think represents a world in which no one is truly an individual. Orwell means to leave us with a pessimistic perception or warning of what is possible if we allow a totalitarian government to rule.