They have found us! I knew it was coming, I called it but if there is one thing that Julia taught me is to not give up. I came this far joined the brotherhood, I simply have to try and break free. all will be lost if otherwise. I know of their plot the book revealed so much if I get it to the proles than my dream will come true! they need to know that “In principle the war effort is always so planned as to eat up any surplus that might exist after meeting the bare needs of the population. In practice the needs of the population are always underestimated” (Orwell 191). I was a pessimist before but I simply cannot afford giving up now. the thought police got me, and I will break free in the name of the brotherhood, and then “this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin, van guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous” (V in the movie V for Vendetta). I will rebel I will get my revenge for their crimes against me and my Julia. the Proles will rise.
The prompt was written with grammar mistakes on an attempt to sound more like Winston’s diary entries.
"And by the way, while we are on the subject, ”Here comes a candle to light you to bed, here comes a chopper to chop oﬀ your head!"(Orwell 222)
In creating a movie for 1984 I would get chapters 9 and 10 to show emphasis on the action, manipulation, suspense and betrayal. First as the movie starts, the clear view of manipulation occurs, like in the presentation we did in which Gabriella was the director where the speaker had to change his speech for saying "wrong" information or information that had already been changed. After the emphasis on the manipulation, Winston would come into his room and through glances (fast switches from Winston's actions and the telescreen behind the picture) on a light behind St. Clements’ picture the suggestion of having a telescreen behind the picture to the public will occur. The fast glances on Winston reading the manifesto and on the hidden telescreen, and with a suspenseful sound track will cause in tension and a foreshadowing of a future occurrence. While Winston continues reading the manifesto, the highlighting of important ideas will be exposed, for example the explanation of the phrase "War is Peace" which will be narrated as Winston's thought by Matt Damon.
That actor was also chosen to play as Winston in the movie for the fact that he already made a really good job by faking to be manipulated and fighting conspiracies in The Bourne Supremacy. After choosing Damon I decided to see who will be acting as Julia, and Megan Fox would fit incredibly well in this role, for the fact that she is attractive like the descriptions made of Julia and would make a perfect scene of explosions, and destructions after acting in Transformers 1 and 2.
After Julia comes in and sleeps on Winston while he reads the manifesto out loud the suspense grows, until both of them are asleep. In the morning when they wake up they see the red armed girl singing, and both emphasize the single sentence, "We Are Dead." After that emphasis of that sentence the telescreen starts talking to both of them with a really noticed voice, which will be John Travolta. The astonishment showed by Julia and Winston is really apparent, and after the showing of their facial expression, the voice says, "And by the way, while we are on the subject,”Here comes a candle to light you to bed, here comes a chopper to chop oﬀ your head!"(Orwell 222), showing the betrayal Winston had suffered. Then the action scene begin, explosions, doors breaking, windows blown away, and thought police coming in beating both down and revealing that the voice is actually Mr. Charrington which is now shown as part of the Inner Party.
Descartes instead of Marx.
After chapter 9, honestly, political thinking and questioning based off of Marx and Lenin and Engles is all very well welcomed but I would rather relate these chapters back to Descartes.
"Cogito ergo sum." "Je pense donc je suis." "I think, therefore I am." (Descartes)
vs. "We are the Dead" (Orwell)
Back in chapter 2 Winston made it clear that "Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime is death", which means that through the prohibition of thought, one simply is dead because as according to Descartes, you can only BE if you are able to think. It's intersting here in the quote that both Winston and Julia vocalize that it is "THE Dead" rather than simply dead, as in we are dead because we're going to get caught and we're in quite a pickle. No. We are THE Dead, which is capitalized might I point out which makes reference to a specific group or title which requires capitalization, reiterating its importance within the novel. They are THE Dead precisely because by Big Brother's impositions and regime, they are dead as to their thoughts, they have no opinions nor do they have rights. But paradoxically, they are The Dead because they realize the condition they are in and yet use it to rebel against Big Brother, as a uniting force, a common denomination to their cause.
Then again, there is always the philosophical questioning which goes as follows: if you think because you are, why are you? Don't you think because you have the ability to think, given by nature, therefore you are because the natural world wants you to think? Questions which seems impossible to answer. It goes back to existencialism and the reason we mere humans are here on Earth, something Winston wonders often about but that Julia would probably fall asleep to. Which poses another question: Would Julia actually continue in the rebellion if it compromised her own personal freedoms, or are they just consequences of "the end justifies the means"?
All in all, I'm surprised with these chapters because they came out of the blue in that throughout the entire novel Winston is worried and paranoid that people will catch him, but the one moment we are distracted reading dense political ideology both Winston and Julia are caught by the Thoughtpolice. Such a twist.
"Much Sense Divinest Madness"
Once again, just like in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Orwell makes us question truth and sanity in these chapters of 1984. AS Winston realized after reading Goldstein’s book, “being in a minority, even a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad” (Orwell 217). Is there even something we can refer to as insanity in the world? AS Winston puts is, even if only one person believes it is the truth and sticks to it, then they are being sane. Normalcy has to do with what we consider to be truth, but since truth is also a very abstract term, there will never be an exact definition of what is lucidity. What is true for me may not be the same for you. Oceania’s society is marked by paradoxes and oddly enough, ignorance does prove to be strength. The “proles”, left ignorant by the Party “are only intermittently conscious of the war. When necessary they can be prodded into frenzies of fear and hatred, but when left to themselves they are capable of forgetting for long periods that war is happening” (Orwell 216). On the other hand, the “Inner Party”, has the least freedom in society and is less likely to cause any revolution. Oddly enough, in the IngSoc, knowledge is not a powerful weapon due to the fact that all information available to the people is completely manipulated. As Winston has constantly been stating, “the hope lies in the proles” (Orwell 220). Does it really? What about in our society, can we expect the lower class to rebel against the oppressive capitalistic forces?
War is not Peace
How can war be peace if war is, by definition, “a state of hostility, conflict, and antagonism”, followed by deaths, weapons and tragedy, while peace is “a state of security and order within a community”. One term contradicts another, and even then Orwell manages to come up with a logical explanation to this paradox.
According to The Book, war in this case is not a way of destroying other nations because of new resources. All nations have enough resources to sustain themselves forever. The situation is so perfect that the government even has to throw away resources in order to keep the necessity of having a government. Just like Orwell puts it, “The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labor […] In principle the war effort is always so planned as to eat up any surplus that might exist after meeting the bare needs of the population” (Orwell 22).The Party uses the state of war as a manner of maintaining ignorance amongst the population. They tell the citizens that Oceania is at war to create rivalry against other states and this anger and hatred seems to perpetuate peace by upholding citizens away from other cultures and places. This makes them venerate their government (the party), further on keeping the structure of society as it is, and preventing war inside Oceania. Besides that, the war against Eurasia or Eastasia also allows the Party to “advertize” changes for the better whenever there is a victory.
Even though Orwell tries to convince the reader that war is peace, there are still many aspects that I do not agree with. If they have an abundance of natural resources and have the possibility of making everyone equal everyone else, then why not? The Party may still continue in power, just because the entire population has the same acquisitive power than the government it doesn’t mean that they can’t continue governing. On the contrary, it is now that a government has work to do. And if they lose power, so what! ANARCHY! Everyone lives coexisting with each other, based on their own principles and ideologies. It is, also, not correct to kill people, even if they are a few, to “keep a show going on”. The Party sends rocket bombs only to pretend that there is actually a war going on. Till what extent can lies go? They are already manipulating and treating everyone as puppets, what is the necessity of killing and destroying? Isn’t this the contrary of peace?
“Reality only exerts its pressure through the needs of everyday life -- the need to eat and drink, to get shelter and clothing, to avoid swallowing poison or stepping out of top-storey windows, and the like. Between life and death, and between physical pleasure and physical pain, there is still a distinction, but that is all. Cut off from contact with the outer world, and with the past, the citizen of Oceania is like a man in interstellar space, who has no way of knowing which direction is up and which is down.” (Orwell 429)
This is a blunt yet true statement made in the manifesto. In the current world society, although Eastasia, Eurasia, and Oceania are constantly at war, they are not. Only vague borders shift around and war is used as an excuse to justify the scarcity of goods that could be educating the population of each nation. The people are completely cut from the world outside their respective societies. This begs the question: Is this the fate of all that become controlled by autocratic governments? When the people are made stupid and manipulated to no end? Only for the preservation of power? It is something that must be avoided at all costs because with the proliferation of ignorance, there can only be more hate, anger and manipulation. This is a situation that could be connected to the USSR, when no one understood the liberties in the USA and were manipulated into believing that their lives were better. The manipulation made by Stalin led to hate and anger from Soviets towards the USA, but no one knew exactly why. They were simply taught that the USA is evil. They could not determine what was truth and lie, right and wrong because they were conditioned into believing in the lies told by the government. This is what is shown in this passage when referring to the people of Oceania.
If “war is peace”, black is white and red is blue?
“War, however, is no longer the desperate, annihilating struggle that it was in the early decades of the twentieth century. […]In the first place… [they] have no material cause for fighting, and are not divided by any genuine ideological difference. […] None of the supertates could be definitely conquered even by the other two in combination […] Secondly, there is no longer, in a material sense, anything to fight about” (Orwell, 185-187).
So basically, what the book says is that the war is meaningless, there is no possible winner and no one is willing to cease fire. So, what is it all about? When first reading this part of the book I immediately related this idea to the cold war, and to what a famous French philosopher from the 50s said, “paix impossible, guerre improbable” (Raymond Aron) Which means, impossible peace and improbable war. Back in the days of the Cold War, the war was very unlikely to happen due to the fact that both USA and USSR knew their power and knew that a nuclear war could cause several damages to Earth for a long period of time, however, peace between both was unreachable. The same happens in 1984 with the three superstates, Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia, none of them are willing to cease the war, but none of them have enough power to end it. So, how is it going to end? Is it going to be like the Cold War which only finished because the USSR felt? Or a very well developed, world such as the futuristic world where Orwell plots his story, be able to find a democratic way to finish this useless and meaningless war? I’m pretty excited to get to know what will be the end of this and how the world is going to solve this problem?
When I start my analysis I wrote "the book" meaning the book that O'Brien gives to Winston, not 1984
"You are the dead" (Orwell 221)
Could it be possible for a replica of the novel 1984 to occur nowadays, despite the technological advances and the vast knowledge of the population? Would a person or a class' greed for power able to arrive to such extrema in our modern society? Take Animal Farm, for instance, the Middle Class united forces with the Low class and overthrew the oppressive High class. Nevertheless, once the Middle class had become the High class, the new High class broke apart from the Low, and created a replica of the former High class as a consequence of the possession of power and authority.
Without a doubt, chapter 10 is the climax of the novel. With the intrusion of the Thought Police, the plot of the novel no longer revolves around the question "how to overthrow the Party," but rather around the question "how to survive under the Party and opposing it at the same time!" Chapter 9 serves to build up the reader's awareness of the consequences of a totalitarian government, while chapter 10 displays an actual case of danger resulting from the system of government in action. The climax comes totally unexpected since at one moment, "[Winston] was alone: no telescreen, no ear at the keyhole, no nervous impulse to glance over his shoulder or cover the page with his hand" (Orwell 184); however, after waking up, a metallic voice says "You are the dead" (Orwell 221).
Before the climax, the "book within the book" restates what Winston already knew about the society in which he lives, and confirms that the only way to spark a rebellion is through the proles. In an odd sense, the book within the book represents a utopian society within a dystopian world. The fanatics of Big Brother who loathe the Brotherhood and any other opposition to his regime live a straightforward life without much to think of since knowledge is so limited. People are only demanded to be loyal to the Party, and display such emotions as to not raise suspicion. The dystopian part of it all is the fact that each of the three superstates contain the same ideology although with different names. The worse of it all is that "Who wields the power is not important, provided that the hierarchical structure remains always the same" (Orwell 210). The people in power do not treasure their position in society, they simply know that their passed an examination at the age of sixteen which has led them to such social position.
The entire book within the book represents the psychological manipulation that was used in order for all the members of the Party to think uniformly. This leads me to the question: how may one know that the entire population does not think the way Winston, Julia, O'Brien, and Martin think? It is clear that the residents of Oceania must live wearing a constant neutral guise, however, once the guise becomes easy to maintain at all times, maybe the only missing factor for the revolution is initiative to break the secret that everybody belongs to an opposition movement!
Being part of the Brotherhood weirdly brings comfort. But why is it so weird? Even though you don’t know who also knows about it and support the same ideas and ideals, the comfort of not being the only one thinking that flourishes in Winston. When Winston starts to feel comfortable and protected due to the fact he is part of this group, he start to “let down” his guard. This false security and hope continues to be transmitted by The Book by O’Brien.
Winston and us read the book searching for an explanation of why the Party acts this way with the society. Goldstein claims that the three super-states (Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia) are not fighting in order to conquer or defeat each other, made me question if it is what the current world super powers are doing. For 25 years these nations are continually in war over northern Africa, the Middle East, southern India, and Indonesia and nothing has changed in general. Today, we see nations threatening each other in a daily basis (North Korea is in the news every five seconds now, the tabloids already got bored of posting so much things regarding the Middle East) and that is it. We see the Five Permanent members of the Security Council fighting to maintain their “right” of having Nuclear Weapons and India and Pakistan not attacking each other because the other nation also have Nuclear Weapons which proves Goldstein’s point that the states are too evenly matched and have built defenses too formidable for any one to be conquered by the others even in combination. "The consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival." (Orwell 192) Isn’t that a perfect example of Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory? That also probes the idea of the standard of living for the masses remaining low, because if it remains low the person will think more of their survival and safety than self-actualization, esteem and the society in general. Russia and Cuba constantly prove us that by having the majority of the population living in situation similar to the proles in 1984 they will continually follow the rules established by the party without questioning like I am doing right know due their priorities being different. We constantly fear that a large nuclear conflict can mean the end of society due to the destructiveness of the bomb, in this point I wish we were a little bit more like this society: the use of nuclear weapons is prohibited. The United States of America already used it once, but even with the constant threats that maintain peace it does not guarantee that it will not be used at all. I make Winston words mine to define the book inside the book: "It was the product of a mind similar to his own, but enormously more powerful, more systematic, less fear-ridden. The best books, he perceived, are those that tell you what you know already." (Orwell 201)
A whole new world
“It was curious to think that the sky was the same for everybody, in Euroasia or Eastasia as well as here. And people under the sky were also very much the same - everywhere, all over the world [...] people ignorant of one another’s existence, held apart from hatred and lies” (220)
This quote really kept me thinking about the functioning of the entire world in 1984. It is interesting to think that beyond Oceania, that crazy oppressive country. So far, I’ve been so focused on the situation in Oceania that for me the entire world in 1984 was as dark as it is. However, just as me, I believe that it is extremely hard for the population in 1984 to simply forget about other places. They wonder about the entire world beyond their limited reality in Oceania. Depriving them from knowledge, as well as keeping them away from other places, is just another way of limiting their thoughts about the government. The reason is that this way, they have no basis to compare! For them, that system is the only one existent. When people dissent, they just know what they want to change, but don’t know how. They don’t know democracy or any other way to solve things... Winston feels there is a need to change but how? What is the best wat for a government to function? Think of Cuba for example. People are completely isolated in there and information is restrained, which keep them stable. However, this might be a problem, because even if you are “kept in a cage,” I believe that it is part of the human nature to question things.
At What Point Would Humanity Walk Backwards?
Goldstein's book is the clear explanation of what we already knew. However, after reading it we can easily come to a conclusion: this dystopia is nurtured by paradoxes. There is contradiction everywhere. Be it in the Party slogans (War is Peace and Ignorance is Strength) or in the citizens' psyche (doublethink). The Party functions solely for that reason, the concept of doublethink exists and is applied to everything. "To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies - all this is indispensably necessary" (Orwell 214). It is necessary because this is how manipulation is accepted, this is how the concept of war nearly means the same thing as peace and how people who are ignorant are also the ones that are strong. Because of the ability of citizens to believe that their enemy was Eurasia and suddenly turns into Eastasia, the Party becomes infallible. However, while reading The Book I kept questioning what promotes doublethink? Is technology and media the answer? Are these the tools that facilitate the contradictory information to flow and the war hysteria to rise? My perception of technology (at least in our contemporary world) was quite the contrary. It is through technology that we can acquire information and exchange ideas. Technology will only give people freedom, instead of oppression. This got me thinking, how could Orwell believe that the world would take steps backwards, long after the Industrial Revolution and the impetus of men's greed, after WWII and the tragic consequence of men's greed, after the microwave and the computer were invented and continued with men's greed. When would humanity walk backwards and fear to think, to speak, to climb up for power? Men's desire for power dates back to the colonial era. There is no way to walk back. The tendency is to have more and more bold and tenacious people struggling to stay on top.
Living is dying
I had blogged in the last post that “not caring” – referring to the non-conformist idea of civil disobedience and that being somewhat indifferent from authoritarian rule – is the ultimate revolution. Therefore, Winston had been a jerk by getting into the Brotherhood and that Julia was being correct by trying to live her life in peace, “not giving a damn” about the Party. I also argument in that post that hating Big Brother and doing to its system the same thing that they do to themselves as rebels is “fighting fire with fire”, thus destined to fail and even fated to give even more strength to what they are against.
After reading the last chapters of the second part, this idea is even more present in my head. As follows, “The Book” reveals the most shocking, treacherous and mischievous reality: Ingsoc’s scheme, the true nature of war and the alignment with other countries, the role of every class in the present structure of society – and how this came to be like this, to name a few. But this was all, as we say in Portuguese, “chover no molhado” – literally translated to “rain in the wet” meaning that it was simply a recalling facts that we all knew already. Politically, chapter 9 was an interesting chapter, where one could see how governments really work even in the real world and how this idea is completely tangible for us nowadays. Chapter 10 added up more to the plot since it starts dealing with the problem the characters are living. And that’s where I want to go.
I still keep the ideals I presented in the last post. One of the reasons, I woul0d say, it is proven by what happened after Winston noticed that Charrington was a member of Thought Police. As Orwell describes in page 224, “Something had also changed in Mr. Charrington’s appearance […] His body had straightened, and seemed to have grown bigger. His face had undergone only tiny changes that had nevertheless worked a complete transformation. The black eyebrows were less bushy, the wrinkles were gone, the whole lines of the face seemed to have altered; even the nose seemed shorter”. It occurred to me, right after reading this part, to the possible change of appearance a member of the Brotherhood might come through eventually, as O’Brien explained some chapters ago. Hence the question: if attacking by the same means, how do these two opposing groups distinguish from one another? If killing and instigating fright in people is their way of doing things – like proposed by O’Brien and done against Winston in the room – how they are different? Hate, for me, is the force that blends antagonists one into another making them turn into the same thing while Love is the force that unifies and accepts differences, making them complete one another.
For this reason, and taking into consideration what Goldstein books says, “Indeed, so long as they are not permitted to have standards of comparison, they never even become aware that they are oppressed” (Orwell 207), I tried to transport myself to the reality lived in Oceania. Would I be able to live this “hippie-like philosophy of peace and love” against Ingsoc, Big Brother and the Party? Yes, even though I would probably die just as Winston and Julia probably will in the hands of Thought Police. However, I would die being sure that I lived happy even in a place of tragedy. I would die living, and not surviving and living conspicuously in a “rat race”. Even not being the theme of part two, I perceive it as follows: love is the only freedom fighter and aligning to any force that isn’t love, makes one oppressed by themselves.
Thus, eventually dying in the hands of an oppressive force while perpetuating love is actually living life to the fullest. Being able to escape this death defensively and exposing oneself spontaneously to other people in order to follow the legacy is the ultimate rebellion. As a quote from Paolo Borsellino – an Italian anti-mafia magistrate – says “It is beautiful to die for what you believe, those who are afraid are dying each day and who are not afraid only die once.” This is the inner meaning of what I am thinking about this book: living is dying.
These two chapters condense the meat of the philosophy behind the Big Brother State. Goldstein’s book, which may or may not have been actually written by him, explains the rationale behind the establishment of the totalitarian society in which the novel takes place.
These chapters are a break from the willing suspension of disbelief we see throughout the story, leading us to contextualize the accepted state of constant abnormality that is imposed by the Party. The “book” relates the fictional world of the novel to ours by setting up Ingsoc as an extrapolation of Marxism and of Stalinist communism.
Reading the book makes Winston realize that “being in a minority, even a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad” (Orwell 217). It is supporting evidence of Winston’s unfounded but instinctively true beliefs about the value of freedom and the manipulation of society.
Furthermore, it breaks the concept of doublethink by exposing the truth behind the Party’s ideologies. “War is peace” and “Ignorance is strength” are not actually philosophical axioms, but are derived from the manipulation by the High to maintain themselves in power. They are tools of control that subjugate the people to the current rulers.
The “book” is meant to be a warning, the logical continuation of what would happen if the world fell pray to authoritarian regimes. The doublethink exposed by Goldstein’s arguments is not fictional. The idea that war is necessary reminds us of Woodrow Wilson’s “war to end all wars”, while the intellectual depravation that comes from the dissemination of ignorance is similar to Stalinist measures to keep the population under control. At the end of the day, the revolutionary book enhances the critique present in Nineteen Eighty-Four by offering the historical and sociological backings to Orwell’s eerie foreshadow.
Prompt 3- Are we also dead?
"In our own day they are not fighting against one another at all. The war is waged by each ruling group against its own subjects, and the object of the war is not to make or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society intact. The very word "war", therefore, has become misleading. It would probably be accurate to say that by becoming continuous war has ceased to exist”(Orwell199).
The conspiracy theory. I always wonder if, in our world, this is what happens. Why are wars really fought? If you analyze them, it is easy to see an economic pattern. US invades Iraq because of oil, 9/11 happens close to an economic recession, the Falkland islands: a war fought for resources. If it’s not for wealth, than it’s due to ideologies. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Vietnam War and the Cold War. Almost every conflict has the intention to maintain social structures. Economic war seeks monetary stability and the maintenance of social divisions, as well as ideological wars that strive to maintain their structure intact.
As the quote states, truly, we are in a constant war. Despite the fact that in our perceptions wars only exists when there is a direct attack, as it’s written in “the book”, “by becoming continuous war has ceased to exist”, it shows how wars are continuously going on in between nations, humans and uncertainty, becoming a normal state of society.
When “the book” states that, “From the point of view of the Low, no historic change has ever meant much more than a change in the name of their masters”(Orwell 203), which is completely similar to the modification we have experienced in history, from a vassal, to a peasant, to lower class and to masses, there is always a shift in the proles’ name. I agree with “the book’s” concept of the proles being immortal, though until today I still wait for them to surpass the ignorance, that is forced upon them by the institutions.
We live in a society, which is terrifyingly similar to the world described by George Orwell, so does this means we are also dead?
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.