Notes on Objects & Places from 1984

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1984 Objects/Places

Airstrip One: The territory that used to be known as Britain.

The Alcove: Winston's plan of keeping a diary is partly suggested by the fact that the telescreen in his living room is unusually placed--there is a shallow alcove in the wall next to the screen which is out of sight. The alcove was probably intended to hold bookshelves, but Winston puts a table there and uses it as a private place to write in. In the alcove he can be heard, but not seen, by someone watching him through the telescreen.

The Book: The book that contains all the truth against the Party and Big Brother. Goldstein wrote it. The book is highly illegal--copies are produced by the Brotherhood, and continually sought out and destroyed by the Thought Police. The title, as Winston discovers when he finally gets hold of a copy, is The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism.

The Brotherhood: A secret organization, led by Emmanuel Goldstein, which is dedicated to overthrowing the Party government. O'Brien tells Winston and Julia that no-one knows how large the Brotherhood is or who the members are--no single member ever meets more than three or four contacts at a time, so that they can never betray more than a handful of people. When members are finally caught, they get no help. If it is vital to silence someone, a razor blade may be smuggled into their cell so that they can kill themselves before being questioned.

The Chestnut Tree Café: Haunt of painters and musicians, the place seems ill omened and slightly disreputable. It is associated with those out of favor with the Party--the old leaders of the Party, before they were exposed as traitors and purged, used to gather there. The specialty of the house is gin flavored with cloves.

Crimestop: Stopping short, by instinct, on the threshold of any train of thought that could prove disloyal to the Party.

Community Center: Where Party members are supposed to go after work for communal recreation--games, lectures and drinking. Party members are not supposed to spend a lot of time alone or have spare time.

The Diary: Where Winston writes his secret thoughts. He uses a real, old-fashioned pen and ink, and writes in a beautiful book with creamy paper, which he found in the junk-shop. He puts a special speck of dust on the cover so that he can tell if anyone has found the diary, but does not realize that the Thought Police actually move and replace the speck of dust so he will not know that he is being watched.

Doublethink: The practice of thought control necessary to be a good Party disciple. No Party member can ever admit that the Party might be wrong. However, sometimes reality shows something to the contrary. Through using doublethink, the Party member can deal with any problems or inconsistencies with the Party. Party members simply block all awareness of the Party's falsities from their mind and then, as another act of doublethink, they forget that they have even used doublethink.

Eastasia: One of the three world superpowers. This super-state that has the least land, but still a large population. It contains China and all of southern and eastern Asia.

Eurasia: One of the three world superpowers. Its landmass is the whole of the northern part of Asia, and Europe. In the novel, Oceania is first at war with Eurasia and allied with Eastasia, but then is at war with Eastasia and allied with Eurasia.

The Glass Paperweight: A beautiful antique that Winston finds in the junk-shop--a heavy lump of glass, curved on one side and flat on the other, almost like half a sphere. The color and texture of the glass has a softness, like rainwater, and in the center is a piece of pink coral. Winston buys it because of its beauty, but it is a strange thing for a Party member to buy and it would be difficult for him to explain if anyone knew that he had it. It seems to him as if the surface of the glass is like the sky, and inside is a tiny world where Julia's life and his own are fixed, like the coral, in a kind of eternity.

The Golden Country: A landscape that recurs in Winston's dreams that he thinks he recognizes in the country area he visits with Julia. There is an old pasture (a field used for grazing animals) with a foot-track running across it and a few molehills. Nearby he can hear a stream.

Hate Week: A kind of week-long festival involving processions, speeches, films, banners, posters etc., aiming at building hatred of the enemy.

Inner Party: The highest level of Oceania society, easily visible because of their black overalls. Regular people like Winston belong to the middle level, the Outer Party.

Junior Anti-Sex League: An organization for young people to advocate complete celibacy for both sexes. Their ideal is that all children will be the products of artificial insemination and will grow up in public institutions. Members wear a red sash around the waist.

The Junk-shop: Winston finds this shop in a slummy area of town and is fascinated. Although Party members are not supposed to go into ordinary shops, he goes in to buy a blank book, which he uses as his secret diary. Winston later returns and meets the owner, Mr. Charrington. He and Julia rent the room above the shop, which has an armchair, a mahogany double bed and an 'old-fashioned' clock with a twelve-hour face, as a private place for the two of them.

Ministry of Love: In charge of law and order; the Ministry of Love is where political prisoners are tortured. It is hard to get into, surrounded by barbed wire and steel doors, and the surrounding streets are patrolled by guards.

Ministry of Peace: In charge of war--Oceania is constantly at war with either Eurasia or Eastasia and alternates which superpower is the friend and which is the enemy at an instant's notice.

Ministry of Plenty: In charge of economic affairs and production of goods. The Ministry of Plenty fabricates shortages of everyday items, such as razor blades.

Ministry of Truth: Like the other ministries, it is housed in a huge white pyramid-shaped concrete building. It is in charge of creating and rewriting all news, education, entertainment and art.

Newspeak: The official language of Oceania. The idea behind Newspeak is to develop a language in which it is technically impossible to disagree with the Party because there are no words for unorthodox ideas. Every year the vocabulary of Newspeak becomes smaller and smaller and the language is more simplified.

Oceania: The super-state headed by the Party and Big Brother. It consists of what used to be called North and South America, the Atlantic islands including Great Britain, Australasia and the southern part of Africa.

Proles: The proletariat--the working class of Oceania. They have much freer lives than Party members and the Party spends much less time watching and controlling the proles, because they aren't worth the time and effort. The Party does not view the proles as a threat to the system. Winston believes that any change in Oceania society would have to come from them.

Records Department: The department in the Ministry of Truth which changes all records of the past, from newspapers to poetry, so as to reflect current politics and show the Party in the best possible light.

The Spies: The Party's organization for children. They wear blue shorts, gray shirts and red neckerchiefs. In the Spies children are taught to hate traitors and thought criminals. They also learn to worship the Party and Big Brother but rebel against all discipline except that of the Party, so that they become 'ungovernable little savages' and often turn on their parents.

St. Clement's Dane Engraving: Screwed onto the wall in the room above the junk-shop, a steel engraving of the church, which is an oval building with rectangular windows and a small tower. Mr. Charrington offers to sell it to Winston but it is obviously too big and awkward for him to take home. It later turns out that there was a telescreen behind the engraving, spying on Winston and Julia during their time together.

Telescreen: A square metal screen, like a dulled mirror, which works like a television screen except that it not only shows programs (all praising the Party) but also allows anyone within its range to be seen and heard by the Thought Police.

Thoughtcrime: The crime of thinking anything that disagrees with Big Brother, the Party or the Party philosophy, Ingsoc.

Thought Police: The specialized, terrifying branch of the police that detects and arrests thought criminals.

Two Minute Hate: A daily ritual. Everyone assembles in front of the telescreen at eleven hundred for a two-minute program that shows Emmanuel Goldstein, the Enemy of the People, and marching enemy soldiers. This is a highly emotional moment and it is impossible even for Winston to avoid joining in: 'A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledgehammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one's will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic.' (Part 1, Chapter 1, pg. 16) At the end of Two Minute Hate, Big Brother's face appears, inspiring everyone with relief and is followed by the three Party slogans.

Vaporizing: Enemies of the party are arrested in the middle of the night and completely disappear. Their names are wiped from register and all records of any of their actions are destroyed, so that they are totally abolished--'vaporized'--and have become an 'unperson', someone who supposedly has never existed.

Victory Gin: The alcoholic beverage drunk by Outer Party members--it is colorless, oily, tastes like nitric acid and has a sickly smell. Drinking it causes an effect like being hit on the back of the head with a rubber club. It is the only product in Oceania that is both cheap and easy to find.

Victory Mansions: The apartment building where Wilson lives. It was built in 1930 and is falling apart. Nothing, from the plumbing to the electricity, works right. The hallway smells like boiled cabbage and old rags.

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