What If O'Brien Didn't Call Winston For A Talk?
After reading the required chapters I first imagined what could happen in the continuation of the book, I thought that O'Brien will betray both Julia and Winston telling about their plans of rebelling to Big Brother, since he doesn't look so trust worthy.
After imagining a new chapter I decided to think what could've happened if we took O'Brien from the story, or in another words if we unperson O'Brien and delete the scene where he calls Winston to his house. Without O'Brien I think that Winston would've taken more time to understand what was going on and maybe he wouldn't overcome his fear of the Thought Police and would've avoided Julia for the rest of the book. O'Brien for me is an essential piece of the story, since he is the one that Winston thinks got into his dream and invited him into the place where is no darkness. Through that invitation Winston believed that there was somebody else trying to rebel or somebody else that knows about the truth, causing in the overcoming of his fear. Even though O'Brien isn't a main character, his image is the one that helps Winston overcome the fear and discover the truth about that dystopian society.
This is a dystopia, it is supposed to be horrible.
When Winston enters O’Brien’s house and tells him that Julia and him are both enemies of the party I froze. People shouldn’t admit themselves as thought criminals that directly and easily! It is too dangerous! Ok that the telescreen was off and that O’Brien SEEMS to be a “different” guy, but what if all of that is a lie? What if all of that is just one more meticulous plan of the Party to track down potential enemies? What if the whole story of Goldstein and brotherhood is just another way to identify the dissenters? Maybe the control and the telescreens are just a big lie, and the whole party is working “backwards” to shut down people who go against the system.
Given the poor conditions, it looks like the party doesn’t even have the structure and money to engage on such effective army and all the technology to control people.... In page 172 O’Brien does a huge questionary about how far would Winston go to oppose the party, such as: “You are prepared to cheat, to forge, to blackmail, to corrupt the minds of children, to distribute habit-forming drugs [...] to do anything which is likely to cause demoralization and weaken the power of the party?”. These questions are all the party wants to know! They want to know how harmful you can be and precisely what would you do against them... To me, all of the identification between Winston and O’Brien (or even Julia) just seems too suspicious, and obvious enough to be this marvelous thing Winston thinks it is. I am really impressed how Winston had the guts to turn himself in so easily: He knows what the Party is capable of doing.
EVERY TEADROP IS A WATERFALL
“I was almost at the spot where Julia had slipped the note into my hand when I became aware that someone larger then myself was walking just behind me. The person, whoever it was, gave a small cough, evidently as a prelude to speaking. I stopped abruptly and turned. It was O’Brien.”(Orwell, 157) I couldn’t believe that man was talking to me. I would probably say that was the most exciting and shocking moment of my life, the climax of my existence. We had this weird connection, I felt he knew me and understood my principles, my rage and my thirst for revolution and change. An enemy of the party! A dissident! I wanted to scream but I couldn’t! That day he called me for a visit, he even gave me his address.
In the morning of the big day, I was ambushed by my own memories, waking up in a river of my own tears. In my dream I revisited the last time I saw my mother. Could you believe that for all these years I believed I killed her? After that revelation I realized how the Party controls everything about us, every single aspect of our lives. The amount of disgust was almost unbearable and the moment of realization hit me like a truck. “The proles are human beings. We are not human.” (Orwell, 165) Julia and I were destined to the Ministry of Love. I knew that for a fact. I wanted however to be certain that nothing, even if tortured and beaten our feelings would not change. I would no longer allow anything that makes me me, whatever that characteristic might be, to change what and who I am. I am taking Julia with me and we were out. Heading to O’Brien’s place.
“Yes everything is turned off. We are alone.”(Orwell, 169) Those were the words I needed to hear. Completely alone no thought police. No pressure. At that moment all of my thoughts rushed out like a waterfall. “We believe there is some kind of conspiracy, some kind of secret organization working against the Party and that you are involved in it. We want to join it and work for it. We are enemies of the party. We disbelieve the principles of Igsoc. We are thought-criminals. We are also adulterers. I tell you this because we want to put ourselves at your mercy.” (Orwell, 170) He knew everything about me and Julia, at that moment I revealed it all and it was the best feeling in the world, he was a supporter. We were not alone.
DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER!
Everything is real, or not!
The scene where O'Brien is telling Winston that all the conspiracy theories are real, that the Brotherhood actually exists, that Goldenstein is an actual person and etc. This scene makes Winston and Julia confess that they are against the government, the party, in fact, it leads them to say that they Hate the party. The scene is important because it gives an actual meaning to Winston's ideas, he has something concrete, not merely suppositions that he had. However, to me, it seems to be too simple to only shut down the telescreen and you are "invisible" to the party. I believe that this scene might be important and might lead Winston and Julia to get killed because of the conversation that took place on O'Brien's apartment. Or this might be the beginning of a resistance movement and it could possibly take down Big Brother, the party and the dictatorship imposed on each citizen of Oceania
Rebels From the Waist Upwards
“In a way, the world-view of the Party imposed itself most successfully on people incapable of understanding it. They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening” (Orwell 156).
This quote appealed to me because it does not simply relate to the novel, but it could have easily been posted in any critique of our modern society; it is extremely relatable to the world we currently live in. It serves as a warning to the alienated citizens that choose not to watch the news or read a newspaper to understand what is going on in the world. If it doesn’t affect me, why should I care? That’s how many people think. Unfortunately, it is due to these ignorant citizens that most governments are able to exercise their power and manipulate a society. For a government that is in power, many times it is more beneficial to neglect education and invest on short-term goals that will give results more quickly. With short 4-years terms, it is these quick results that will ensure more votes in the end, and all most politicians for is to remain in power. I felt the same indignation Winston felt when Julia showed no interest in external affairs. She knows she is being lied to, but prefers to conform. Julia is not willing to put herself in danger for the lives of others and that is the greatest difference between Winston and her. She is a “rebel from the waist downwards” (Orwell 156), while Winston is a rebel from the waist upwards. Most citizens in IngSoc have a thought similar to Julia’s. They must know that the Party is probably only feeding them lies, but they have to accept them in order to survive. However, even though the Party’s principles are more successful with those that are oblivious, Winston still believes that the hope lies within the proles. What is the difference between the proles and the other citizens that choose to remain unconscious of events around them?
If there is one thing I learned from The Things They Carried is that you should never trust a guy named O’Brien. Winston is trusting him too easily, and how does he, a men of the same status as Winston, know about a liberty the Inner Party has, “It is unwise even for members of the Inner Party to turn off the telescreen for more than half an hour” (Orwell 171). Who could have O`Brien come across such an information? One of my theories for me is that he is a member of the Inner Party, and to be a part of these elite members one must be incredibly dedicated to its ideals. Furthermore, the set of questions Winston is asked are rather incriminating. Sure the telescreen was turned off, but that is not the only way to record information. O’Brien is able to say a lot, but at the same time he says nothing. He surely knows a great deal about history, but his poor excuse for not knowing the members of the Brotherhood seem a little poorly planned. If one does not know his comrades how can they effectively coordinate attacks to the Brotherhood, and when Winston asked, “In the place there is no darkness?” (Orwell 178) O’Brien does not give an concrete answer or tells Winston where that place is, he merely repeats what Winston said. If O`Brien where truly a member of this Brotherhood, he would have showed a lot of more knowledge about it, rather than some poor excuses.
INDIRECTIONS DO NOT FIND DIRECTIONS OUT
Throughout history we have seen wars, revolutions, riots, genocides and all of that. With no exception, they are all the result of sick men, impelled by hate and dismay. What else could impulse men to compel in destroying a life of their equal? I believe that doesn’t matter the reason by which one commit atrocities to another person, they are still committing atrocities, thus should not comply to anything that lead them to do so! What on Earth could be so important to have at the point that “to give one’s own life”, “to commit murder”, “to commit acts of sabotage which may cause the death of hundreds of innocent people”, “to cheat, forge, blackmail, corrupt the minds of children, distribute habit-forming drugs, encourage prostitution, disseminate viral diseases”, “to throw sulphuric acid in a child’s face” are admirable things to oblige to?
It’s a good thing to rebel. Given a situation, specially the one the people in Oceania is living, it is utterly necessary to change: things are bad and things need to be good and that’s that. Period. However how one rebels is what makes all the difference and it is what makes one rebellion righteous or not – at least in my point of view.
Until now, I am disappointed. I had some hope with the whole love story with Julia and Winston – I truly think that the true revolution locates within our own, which was something they were doing. When we change who we are, we change the world we are in, inevitably. When one starts to perceive things different than the “common sense” tells us to, the “common sense” starts to fade away, vanishing into oblivion – because THAT is what we are not anymore, because THAT is what we left out unanswered. Thus, THAT might keep itself going on in the parallel, but you are already an example of resistance and will naturally resemble in other people with the same courage, nobility and character as you, the upmost motivation to rebel. That is righteous.
Winston and Julia were truly in a good path, experiencing love, having an affair which was unbounded, breaking the rules in their fashion, “not bothering”, living as they truly were. A prove to that righteousness is that now Winston had a good health, “had dropped his habit of drinking gin at all hours. He seemed to have lost the need for it. He had grown fatter, his varicose ulcer had subsided, leaving only a brown strain on the skin above his ankle, his fits of coughing in the early morning had stopped” [Orwell 150], he had a better humor, “The process of life had ceased to be intolerable, he had no longer any impulse to make faces at the telescreen or shout curses at the top of his voice” [Orwell 150]. One could argue that it might be only the natural outcome of more exercise which they have been into these few months, however even that is part of the process of “naturally and righteously rebelling”.
I am disappointed. The couple’s insertion to the Brotherhood and that creepy scene where they are revealed to some secrets O’Brien tells them marks our heroes’ tragic flaw. What could we expect of something that “rebels” by the means of their own nemesis? Indirections DO NOT find directions out. We all saw what happened to Hamlet, didn’t we? Death just leads to death. We cannot fight fire with more fire, we are just strengthening it. The Brotherhood only gives more power to Big Brother just as any rebellious violence gives force to more oppression. We need to fight hate with love. That’s the only legitimate and effective weapon…
Imagine, for instance, that the Brotherhood succeeds – let’s say some decades from now, since like O’Brien says, “There is no possibility that any perceptible change will happen within our own lifetime” [Orwell 176], which already shows a vain reason to abide to it – what makes me think that it won’t institute the SAME regime as Big Brother’s? If they are capable of committing the atrocities mentioned before, what makes me think they are not able or will not install telescreens everywhere and install a thought police? Will changing the name make a difference?
Moreover, there’s even the possibility that O’Brien and Martin are just lying to Winston and Julia, them being agents of the Thought Police. To emphasize what Leo said up above, I’m not only impressed, but I am disgusted by what Winston did on turning himself in so easily. What strikes me the most is to see that Julia, my fond heroine, is letting herself go by this spineless jerk.
Prompt #2- Emotional Kill
"‘Do you know,’ he said, ‘that until this moment I believed I had murdered my mother?’
‘Why did you murder her?’ said Julia, almost asleep.
‘I didn’t murder her. Not physically.’" (Orwell 160)
This quote demonstrates how inserted the Party is into Winston's mind. The control over memories and emotions is so intense that he is influenced to greedily, due to food rations, run away from his own mother and to live for a long time thinking he has killed her. This type of manipulation is what keeps the people under a tight leash. I sometimes feel like the same might be happening to us, since we are constantly being judged and trialled by society to act a certain way. The fact that his memory is starting to comeback shows how Winton is slowly becoming more lucid about his past, being able to rationalize outside of the Party's settlement of truth. When he reflects, “Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right"(Orwell 155), it shows how he is aware of the manipulation of Big Brother, especially due to the fact that he participates in the alteration of history in the Ministry of Truth, though he struggles on how to find a way to transmit his knowledge. In the quote above, despite acknowledging to not have killed his mother "physically", he takes responsibility for her death. Despite, not necessarily being related to her disappearance, he blames himself. He feels anger, since it is the feeling the Party has been stimulating by maintaining control over the institution of family and destroying love. After all, hate is the ultimate form of power over the people.
PS. In my opinion the opposition might be just a simple invention so that the Party can promote the fear and manipulation of the people. It seems like Winston is just modifying the source of his manipulation. When O’Brien tells him, “Nothing holds it together except an idea that is indestructible” (Orwell 176), it became clear to me that Winston would be blindingly committing to a vague ideal. For me trusting O’Brien so quickly was a mistake, since I don’t believe there is in fact an actual opposition. Ultimately, it is "better to be safe than sorry" and I think Winton will be sorry.
He talks about the past. He tells me, 'the Party didn't invent airplanes'. He talks nonstop about "the principles of Ingsoc, doublethink, the mutability of the past and the denial of objective reality" (Orwell 156). He is serious, he is thoughtful, and he is concerned.
I, on the other hand, do not give a damn. I could care less if the party had invented life itself. What matters is that I am here, I am present, and I want to keep living. It is like he said, I am "a rebel from the waist downwards" (Orwell 156). So what? Beneath my sash, behind the fake smile, beyond the hate sessions, I long to be an individual. Not a drone, not a party member. No: I am a woman of my own accord.
Are we incompatible? Is my hedonism the complete opposite of his preoccupation over the grand issues of our time? No, I cannot think like this. We both share the spark, the rebellious nature that drives our actions. I have performed the highest act of individual rebellion several times; he has committed thoughtcrime. We share the same core but different shells.
So we will meet again. In our den, our "paradise" (Orwell 150). Only there I live, in our "pocket of the past where extinct animals could walk" (Orwell 150). Winston thinks we are dead for rebelling. I think, though, we would be dead if we didn't.
Actually, this is PROMPT 4.
"Trust no one till you have eaten a bushel of salt with him."
You can trust me. I will never let you down. Don’t worry. Yes I will do it, I promise. These are all sentences repeated over and over by millions of people that claim to be loyal to one another. But, is it actually possible to be fully loyal? What does loyalty mean? According to Sigmund Freud, “He that has eyes to see and ears to hear may convince himself that no mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore”, we live in a society where humans can’t trust humans, where betraying – even seeming the hardest thing to do – is easy.
In 1984, the society of Oceania no one knows what trust means. Anyone can be a member of the thought police. Anyone can tell on you to the thought police. No one has friends, relations do not exist, even parents and children tell on each other. Betrayal in 1984 is something common.
Even not having vivid examples or experiences, everyone knows that in the Ministry of Love, one always surrenders. Torture is always stronger. In chapter seven, Julia and Winston talk about the meaning of betrayal, “Confession is not betrayal. What you say or do doesn’t matter: only feelings matter” (Orwell 192). The only betrayal is a betrayal of the feelings, it is the feeling that characterizes a human, and if you can’t alter them yourself it will “remain impregnable” no matter what.
Julia and Winston agree not to betray one another, “The only thing that matters is that we shouldn’t betray one another” (Orwell 192). Their love for each other maintains them humans, which makes them enemies of the Party. The fact that both trust on something other than the Party, turns them into a threat. However, while the Party maintains its power by eradicating loyalty between people, the trust that the population has over the Party and Big Brother, is a fake trust, it is based on manipulation and fear.
So, after Winston decides that to stay alive he has to stay a human, why on earth does he trust O´Brien? What are the reasons, besides instinct, that make him belief that he is really against the Party? It is interesting to see, that at the moment that O´Brien questions Winston about what he is prepared to do, he forgets about all of his loyalty towards Julia, and almost says yes when asked, “You are prepared, the two of you, to separate and never see one another again?” (Orwell 200). To what extent can a person be loyal to another, wasn’t the relationship with Julia the most important thing to maintain?
Then comes O´Brien, “When you are finally caught, you will confess. That is unavoidable” (Orwell 202) who directly excludes the possibility of any kind of trust between the unknown members. He insists that everyone has to maintain being loyal to the Party, and solemnly the Party. Nothing strange about that?
Whatever loyalty maintains in Oceania will quickly and on purpose vanish.
I am very confused. There is too much information in my head, and I feel extremely tired. I haven't been able to sleep in the past couple of days with all this conspiracy, and Brotherhood. It has been quite a long time since I see you, darling, and this loneliness only adds to my confusion. If I get involved in this Brotherhood, it will only be with you. I am not ready to get involved in anything that requires our separation. The consequences of becoming a member of the Brotherhood do not scare me, and I am willing to give up everything for it except for one thing: you. I had the same dream a few days ago about my mother dying because of my selfishness, and I was thinking that I do not want to lose what's left of the little humanity that's left within me. I think we should get involved with the Brotherhood since it seems to have been very well planned out from what I gathered by O'Brien, and anyways our efforts alone would have been in vain. I like to think that we are helping the future of humanity, and that someday the Party will be weaker than us. It is a shame I think that all the Party members cannot meet, yet I do agree with it because when one of us confesses, it would jeopardise the entire group. I will read with meticulous thoroughness the book that O'Brien will shortly give me secretly, before lending it to you, and then we shall meet in Mr. Charrington's shop in order to discuss it and make a plan of action. I want to be an active member of this conspiracy, and I want to do something significant before my death. I want to live a life worth dying for. And I want you to be by my side at all times. The day you get caught by the Thought Police and die, I will commit murder myself because I will suffer less pain committing suicide than I'd feel to bare this sour world without you. You give me the most important reason to live, the second reason is to see the day in which the conspiracy wins the battle against the Party, and humanity is free at last, and a common history begins to exist! As for now, please keep safe, my dear, don't get involved in too suspicious deals yourself. Let's meet tomorrow after work at our secret place?
The Diary of A Rebel
As I had expected, Syme has vanished, he was been vaporized. This only increases my fear of my own death. After meeting Julia it seems like I get a little closer to death by the minute, which in fact, I do. Even though I feel more alive than ever when I am with her, I know we are doing something wrong that definetely deserves punishment. I sincerely don not understand how she lives without following the Party's rules as if it was natural. She seems not to care about the Party's rules, but still, doesn't care about finding the truth about History and the manipulation we face. She seems so confident about her own protection, even though she constantly commits Thought Crime. We will die someday, we will definetely end up being vaporized. "And yet to the people of only two generations ago, this would not have seemed all-important, because they were not attempting to alter history. They were governed by private loyalties which they did not question. What mattered were 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...had remained in this condition" (orwell 165). Today I feel like a prole and wish I could actually be one. They are human. This is why they can be the change and end with this oppression. The Party has deprived us from feelings and this is why they have the ability to easily manipulate us. I now have a new comrade, and one more opponent to the party. O'Brien seems to have the same complete thoughts as me, rather than being a rebel only from the waist down. Everything seems to be getting started. DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.