Alla inlägg under maj 2010

Av 1984 - 31 maj 2010 22:57

I decided to look more at the recurring Party slogans, this time at “WAR IS PEACE”. My father and I had a discussion about dictatorship contra democracy. We along with Winston found out that in order for BB (or the dictator) to maintain a leading figure he must have control of the media (as mentioned in “IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH”) and thereby controlling the inhabitants. My father and I concluded that in a group or a country where the individuals have disagreement(s) or problem(s), a quick way to unite them would be to make them fight for a common cause and thereby making them forget their own fight momentarily. Everybody in Oceania believes that the war is more important than their conflict(s). Take a look at Nazi-Germany; Hitler managed to unite (almost) every German man and woman against the Jews blaming the Jews for all bad things in Germany. That was one factor which made him such a powerful leader; everyone believed he was right!

In summary, instead of fighting against each other or fighting against the dictator with the opportunity/risk of overthrowing him, the individuals are united and support the dictator in his/her choices. After all, they are at war and losing a war no one wants.

If you’ve seen “Wag the Dog” (1997) you realise the importance of independent media and even more the importance of the people looking at the media censoriously. I believe that Orwell wants the people of the 50’s, when the novel was published, and modern readers that just because a nation is at war the inhabitants must not go with the flow but to do the right thing; fight for their rights.

“Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire



Av 1984 - 31 maj 2010 17:18

”The easiest way to control a human mind is through fear and pain”

Winston and Julia are being arrested for their sexual activities, thinking they had excess to a room without a telescreen. They are finding out the opposite in the very moment of the arrestment, and are both being brought away for torture. As a long painful torture on the rack possesses, O´Brien is trying to “re-build” Winston’s mind and forces him to forget the past and his own believes. He tries to make Winston believe that his mind is playing tricks with him and that he is only going to make it right again.

Having read the book “Shutter Island,” one realizes how easy it can be to be fooled into madness. If someone tells you that everyone around you is perfectly normal, while you are the one who is strange, you will eventually fail to resist the “facts” yourself. The same strategy is being used by O´Brien as well, and in the end of the book Winston seems to be brainwashed to a great extent, due to the fact that he truly seems to love Big Brother. It may be, that he had become happier living in a lie, eluding the doubt and the “doublethink.” Maybe, in the society in 1984, it is easier and more harmless just to follow the stream and not your own mind. It is indeed a nightmare-society, where people no longer own their souls, or their minds. In a society where your own mind and intellect will become your biggest enemy, would you choose the easy way and close your eyes for the obvious?      

It is frightening to read about how Winston disappears more and more, and is eventually turned into some sort of “mind-robot.” As for example, O´Brian convinces him that if the government tells him that 2+2 equals five, then that is the right answer. After repeated torture procedures, Winston seems to accept the fact that the answer must be five. I share Winston’s feeling of despair throughout the entire process, and keep wonder why Orwell did not write a happy conclusion. It may be that he simply did not see a happy future, or perhaps, he just wanted to enlighten the brutality in the world, which he predicted. He possibly also wanted the reader to leave the book with a feeling of despair and sorrow, as well as filled with thoughts concerning freedom of the press and speech, supervision and authority. Maybe Orwell was hoping that his readers would never become those who just stand aside, watching the world move in the wrong direction.


Av 1984 - 30 maj 2010 21:30

When reading 1984 by George Orwell one can clearly see the similarities with a dictatorship. Take, for example, the business Winston is working at. He, along with his colleges, re-writes news items and burns the old ones. When it comes to independent media, Oceania’s lack is extreme. The Party’s slogan “IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH” can have different meanings, but as far as I am concerned Orwell wants to show us the power of controlling the media at the same time as the inhabitants lack qualities of looking at the media with criticism (of its sources). When the media is controlled and news items can be “corrected” after printed the state can make anything look bad or good. If for instance the chocolate ransom is reduced, the government can erase, and change, all traces of the chocolate ransom before the reduction. When doing so, they can make the decrease an increase, because there are no documents left to tell another story.

Moreover, one must not forget that this novel was written recently after world war two, and therefore is inspired by Nazi-Germany. The previous paragraph illustrates the same conditions as Nazi-Germany had. Hitler and his associates had absolute control of the media and its power. Orwell wants to open his fellow citizens’ eyes. This has been going on for too long, and it will go on even today if we, the readers, watchers, listeners etc. stop looking at the media censoriously.


Av 1984 - 30 maj 2010 11:58

Since Anders has already been describing the plot of the book, I decided to broach the subject considering the world´s appearance and the political aspects in 1984.

Initially, the word is divided into three world emporiums, Eurasia, Eastasia and Oceania, in which Winston himself lives. Oceania is in alliance with Eastasia. Together they are making war against Eurasia. No one really seems to know why, thus the war has no historical beginning and no visual end. As Big brother controls the past and the future, everything that is considered right now is being changed in history to fit today´s believes. Newspapers and speeches are being rewritten in order to destroy the past end make it more modern. In that way, the party will approach as the perfect party, which has never done, or said, anything wrong. Consequently, no one will be having anything to put against it, not from today´s happenings, nor happenings to be found in history. Winston work includes re-writing the past at The Ministry of Truth (Minitrue), and therefore he notices what is going on.

Due to the constant supervision from the party through the telescreens, no one has the chance to speak to one another about what they noticing. As Anders wrote, an opposition is therefore troublesome to build. Winston is constantly reminding himself of the fact that he is being watched and is afraid to make any move that would show his dislike, even though he still is an exceptional member of party. (Not considering the fact that he is writing a diary, which is not accepted). Moreover, the Party is creating a new language, “Newspeak,” which does not include any words that makes it possible to utter dislikes in any way. This of course prevents the building of an opposition as well.

Moreover, there are no such thing as laws in this world, although there are many things to be punished for. One thing that I especially reacted on while reading, is that looking at people being hanged is considered an enjoyment. At one point in the very first part of the book, Winston helps a neighbor with her sink. Her kids are constantly nagging about go down town to watch the hanging. Not only is it remarkable that they are seeing that as amusing, they already seem to be true subscribers of the party and have been learning to blindly follow Big Brother. What happens later in the novel is yet to be seen, although I believe, that if someone can make a change, it must be a person who has been living in times before Big Brother, and seen how the word has changed.

Oceania is being lead by “the party”; it is simply called that since there is only one. It is pure dictatorship and the society is build upon English socialism (INGSOC) and is consequently communistic. Everyone is working, in some way, for the party, and everything people own comes from the party. It feels almost like an extreme depiction of today´s China (where people also are being hardly monitored), or former Soviet. The strong dictatorship and all the terrible executes, seems influenced by the second world war, Big Brother figuring as Hitler. This might have been what Winston had in mind while writing the book, as it was written just after the end of World War 2.


Av 1984 - 28 maj 2010 16:37

One thing that is obvious when reading the novel”1984” is Orwell’s criticism against totalitarianism, his way of describing a potential future dystopia indicates his apprehension for the future. By exaggerating the development and restrictions of his contemporary society, he creates a fictitious community that is, in several ways, frightening. Therefore, rarely can one avoid scrutinize one’s own situation and compare it to the protagonist’s one. Which presumably is a deliberate action, well elaborated by Orwell

Consequently, readers start to inquire politics in their entourage and observe presently small matters that are capable of growing to intolerable extent. Especially the problems referred to in the novel, such as the threat of totalitarianism. However, understandable concerning the current form of government in several countries during Orwell’s lifetime, where different dictators, despite varying ideologies, in similar ways rule respective countries.

Moreover, the conflict in the book appears to be an external conflict between Winston (the name of the protagonist) and “The Party” which is the only and therefore logically ruling party. Nevertheless, the actual conflict takes place within Winston regarding his perpetual hesitation between taking action against “The Party” and refrain from it. Whereof the first alternative entails immense danger since “The Party” does not accept dissidents and constantly superintends the population through large, frequently recurrent, telescreens and microphones. Hence, it is utterly complicated to organize any kind of rebellious organization that involves more than a single individual. This is indeed a vital issue that has to be dealt with further on in the novel, with hopefully an interesting outcome.

//Anders Hansson 

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