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__________________________1984 by George Orwell

STUDYWORLD STUDYNOTES

1984

THEMES AND REVIEW OF APPENDIX

Themes:

There are two themes in 1984, one appearing early in the novel and the other appearing in part three. The first theme is physical love.

At the start, Winston is alone and dreams of the intimate times he had with his ex-wife and later on he remarks that he does not want to be with another woman. Yet when Julia comes along, he is ensnared by her and consequently never leaves her side except in public. Julia reminds him of what love feels like and the power it has throughout part two. The effect she has on him is evident after they are caught together and separated; he is back to his old self.

The other theme is psychological destruction. In jail, he is "rehabilitated" from his personal thoughts to the controlled thinking of Big Brother. O’Brien, who is the one who tortured Winston, asked him, "What does two and two equal?" and Winston would answer, "Four." This was incorrect in the thinking of the government and thus representing personal thoughts and so Winston was punished. Again and again O’Brien would ask the same question until one time, when Winston could not bear the pain anymore, he answered, "Whatever you want. Two and two make five!" (p. 228) O’Brien was pleased with the answer and stopped with that method of torture. The crowning point of Winston’s rehabilitation is when he was placed in Room 101 and faced with death. At this time, he erases his memory and lets it be filled with the false ideas from O’Brien.

This shows that control is in the hands of the people who have power. Winston was made to think differently because he did not want to get punished.

Appendix:

The Political System:

Party

The Party of Oceania poses about 19% of the whole population of Oceanias mainland. Generally one could divide the Party into the Inner Party, which is comparable to the communistic Nomenclature, and the Outer Party. Winston Smith himself is a member of the Outer Party. The members of the Inner Party hold high posts in the administration of the country. They earn comparable much money, and there isn't a lack of anything in their homes, which looked like palaces. The people of the Outer Party live in dull gray and old flats. Because of the war there is often a lack of the most essential things. The life of the Outer Party is dictated by the Party, even their spare time is used by the Party. There are so-called community hikes, community games and all sort of other activities. And refusing the participation at this activities is even dangerous. The life of a Party member is dictated from his birth to his death. The Party even takes children away from their parents to educate them in the sense of Ingsoc. (you can find this also in the Communist future plans)The children are taught in school, to report it to the police (Thoughtpolice) when their parents have unorthodox thoughts, so-called "Thoughtcrimes". After the education the Party members start to work mainly for one of the four Ministries (Minipax, Minitrue, Miniluv, Miniplenty). The further life of the "comrades" continues under the watchful eyes of the Party. Everything the people do is targeted by the telescreens. Even in their homes people have telescreens. Each unorthodox action is then punished by "joycamps" (Newspeak word for forced labor camps").

Proles

The proles make about 81% of the population of Oceania. The Party itself is only interested in their labor power, because the proles are mainly employed in the industry and in the farms. Without their Labor force Oceania would break down. Despite this fact the Party completely ignores this social caste. The curious thing about this behavior is, that the Party calls itself a Socialistic Party, and generally socialism (at least at the beginning and middle of this century) is a movement of the proletariat. So one could say that the Party abuses the word "Ingsoc". Orwell again had pointed at an other regime, the Nazis, who had put "socialism" into their name. One of the main phrases of the Party is "Proles and animals are free". In Oceania the proles live in very desolate and poor quarters. Compared to the districts where the members of the Party live, there are much fewer telescreens, and policemen. And as long as the proles don't commit a crime (crime in our sense / not in the sense of the party - Thoughtcrime) they don't have any contact with the state. Therefore in the districts of the proletarians one can find things that are abolished and forbidden for the Party members. E.g. old books, old furniture, prostitution and alcohol (mainly beer) Except "Victory Gin" all of these things are not available for the Party-members. The proletarians don't participate in the technical development. They live like they used to do many years ago. To my mind the Party ignores the Proles, because they pose no danger to their rule. The working class is too uneducated and too unorganized to pose a real threat. So there is not really a need to change the political attitudes of this class.

Newspeak

Newspeak is the official language of Oceania, and had been devised to meet ideological needs of Ingsoc, or English Socialism. In the year 1984, there is nobody, who really uses Newspeak in speech nor in writing. Only the leading articles are written in this "language". But it is generally assumed that in the year 2050 Newspeak would superset Oldspeak, or common English. The purpose of Newspeak is not only to provide medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other methods of thought impossible. Another reason for developing Newspeak is, to make old books, or books which were written before the era of the Party, unreadable. With Newspeak ,Doublethink would be even easier. Its vocabulary is so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meanings and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This is done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words by stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings whatever.

Generally Newspeak words are divided into three groups: the A,B(also called compound words) and the C Vocabulary.

A-Vocabulary: The A-Vocabulary consist of the words needed in business and everyday life, for such things as drinking, working, and the like. The words of this group are nearly entirely composed of Oldspeak words, but in comparison, their number is very small. Nevertheless the meaning of this words is much more defined, and it allows no other interpretation.

B-Vocabulary: The B-Vocabulary consist of words which have been deliberately constructed for political purpose. Without the full understanding of the principles of Ingsoc it is very difficult to use and understand this words correctly. The B-Vocabulary are in all cases compound words, and they consisted of two or more words, merged together in an easy pronounceable form.

Example: goodthink - Goodthink means very roughly orthodoxy, or if it is regarded as a verb "to think in a good manner". The infected as follows: noun-verb goodthink; past tense and past participle, goodthinked; present participle, goodthinking; adjective, goodthinkful; adverb, goodthinkwise; verbal noun, goodthinker. The B-Words are not constructed on any etymological plan. The words of which they are made up can be placed in any order mutilated in any way which makes them easy to pronounce (e.g. thoughtcrime, crimethink thinkpol, thought police). Many of the B-Words are euphemisms. Such words for instance as joycamp (forced labor camp) or Minipax (Ministry of Peace in charge of the army ), mean almost exact opposite of what they appear to mean. Again some words are ambivalent, having the connotation good when applied to the party, and bad when applied to its enemies. Generally the name of any organization, building, and so on is cut down to a minimum number of syllables and to a minimum of length, in an easy pronounceable way. This isn't only in Newspeak, already other, especially totalitarian systems, tended to used abbreviations for political purpose (Nazi, Comintern, Gestapo, ....). But the difference is that only in Newspeak this instrument is used with consciousness. The Party intended to cut down the possibility of associations with other words.

C-Vocabulary: The C-Words are consisting of technical and scientific terms.

From the foregoing account it is very easy to see that in Newspeak the expression of unorthodox opinions, above a very low level, is impossible. It is only possible to say "Big Brother is ungood". But this statement can't be sustained by reasoned arguments, because the necessary words are not available. Ideas inimical to Ingsoc can only be entertained in a very vague and wordless form, and can only be named in very broad terms. One could in fact only use Newspeak for political unorthodoxy, by illegitimately translating some of the words back into Oldspeak. For example "All mans are equal" was a possible Newspeak sentence, but only in the same sense in which "All man have the same weight" is a possible Oldspeak sentence. It did not contain a grammatical error, but it expressed a palpable untruth i.e. that all man have the same size, weight ..... The concept of political equality no longer existed. In 1984, when Oldspeak is still the normal mean of communication, the danger theoretically exists that in using Newspeak words one might remember their original meanings. In practice it is not difficult for a person well grounded in Doublethink to avoid doing this, but within a couple of generation even the possibility of such a lapse would have vanished. A person growing up with Newspeak as his sole language would no more know that equal had once had the secondary meaning of "politically equal" (also free,....). There would be many crimes and errors which would be beyond of the power to commit, simply because there were nameless and therefore unimaginable. It is to be foreseen that with the passage of time Newspeak words would become fewer and fewer, their meanings more and more and more rigid, and the chance to put them to improper uses always diminished. So when Oldspeak had been once and for all superseded the last link with the past would have been severed.

Doublethink

Doublethink is a kind of manipulation of the mind. Generally one could say that Doublethink makes people accept contradictions, and it makes them also believe, that, the party is the only institution that distinguishes between right and wrong. This manipulation is mainly done by the Minitrue (Ministry of Truth), where Winston Smith works. When a person that is well grounded in Doublethink recognizes a contradiction or a lie of the Party, then the person thinks that he is remembering a false fact. The use of the word Doublethink involves doublethink. With the help of the Minitrue it is not only possible to change written facts, but also facts that are remembered by the people. So complete control of the country and it's citizens is provided. The fact of faking the history had already been used by the Nazis, who told the people that already German Knights believed in the principles of National Socialism.


 

  • Biography of George Orwell

  • Quick/Fast Review

  • Character List

  • About the Novel

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Part One, Chapters 1-4

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Part One, Chapters 5-8

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Part Two, Chapters 1-5

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Part Two, Chapters 6-10

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Part Three, All

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Appendix

  • Studyworld Essay Search on 1984

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