Book Notes Part 2, Chapters 9-10 & Goldstein's Book Notes from 1984

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1984 Part 2, Chapters 9-10 & Goldstein's Book

Winston is exhausted. Like all Ministry of Truth workers, he has worked more than ninety hours in the last five days. On the sixth day of Hate Week, it became public knowledge that Oceania was at war with Eastasia, not Eurasia. Thus, it was necessary to alter all war records to prove Oceania had never been at war with Eurasia.

Topic Tracking: Reality Control 9

When the change occurred, Winston was at a demonstration in a central London square. It was nighttime, and a speaker was whipping the crowd into a frenzy. A messenger delivered a note to the speaker and he changed the name of the enemy in mid-sentence. Chaos erupted as people tore down the incorrect posters of Eurasian soldiers that had been placed "mistakenly" in the square. While this was happening, a stranger slipped a briefcase containing the Book into Winston's hand. For six days he has waited for some time off to look at it. Finally he gets fifteen hours off and Winston heads for the room above the junk-shop.

Winston begins to read. The first chapter, entitled "Ignorance is Strength," divides society into three distinct strata: High, Middle and Low. He skips ahead, knowing he will have plenty of time to read and re-read the book. He starts reading Chapter 3, entitled "War is Peace."

The chapter describes how the world has been divided into three super-states: Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia. The states have been continually at war for the last 25 years, battling over control of the same regions: northern Africa, the Middle East, southern India, and Indonesia.

The states are too evenly matched and have built defenses too formidable for any one to be conquered by the others even in combination. According to Goldstein, The reason behind waging war has changed completely. The super-states do not fight to conquer or defeat one another.

"The primary aim of modern warfare (in accordance with the principles of doublethink, this aim is simultaneously recognized and not recognized by the directing brains of the Inner Party) is to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living." Part 2, Chapter 9, pg. 189

If the general standard of living were to be increased, wealth could be evenly distributed and there would be no need for a hierarchical society. Hence, for the privileged minority to maintain their position, they need to make sure that the standard of living for the masses remains low.

Topic Tracking: Proletariat 13

Economic scarcity is artificially created to magnify the differences between the classes. War helps people to accept the existence of this social and economic hierarchy.

"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." Part 2, Chapter 9, pg. 192

Technological development under the Party is virtually nonexistent; scientific breakthroughs require creative thought, a concept outlawed by the Party. The Party wishes to first conquer the whole surface of the Earth and remain in power by killing any form of independent thought. Scientific research is limited to finding new ways of killing large numbers of people without warning, and finding new ways to control the mind of an individual.

Topic Tracking: Surveillance 16

The super-states already have the atomic bomb, a weapon more destructive than any other yet discovered. The nuclear war of the Fifties convinced the ruling classes of the super-states that a larger nuclear conflict would mean the end of society. Hence, there is a tacit understanding between the states that no nuclear weapons will be used..

The fighting takes place within the central territories. The governments of the super-states do not want to occupy territory and allow citizens to come in contact with each other. For example, If Oceania occupied France and Germany, and Oceanians met the people of France and Germany, they may realize the French and Germans are not much different from themselves. The government trains its citizens to hate and distrust foreigners as monsters. They do not want this illusion destroyed. In reality, life in the three super-states and the philosophies of their respective governments are very similar. War functions only as the mechanism keeping the government in power.

Winston stops reading for a moment. The book fascinates him.

"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." Part 2, Chapter 9, pg. 201

Julia arrives and flings herself into his arms. He tells her that he has the book, but she is not very interested and goes to make coffee. After they have been in bed for half an hour, Winston returns to the subject of the book. He starts reading it to her. She is clearly not paying much attention.

He starts with Chapter One. Throughout history the High group in society has tried to keep its privileged position, while the Middle has periodically overthrown them with the help of the Low, who together believe they are fighting for liberty and justice, only to have the Middle become the new High. The Low group remains downtrodden. The political theory of Socialism, once aiming at creating a utopia based on equality, became increasingly totalitarian, moving away from the goals of liberty and equality. Ingsoc, the Party philosophy, also wanted to switch the Middle group for the High, but the new rulers would then keep their power permanently.

"Even the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages was tolerant by modern standards. Part of the reason for this was that in the past no government had the power to keep its citizens under constant surveillance. The invention of print, however, made it easier to manipulate public opinion, and the film and the radio carried the process further. With the development of television, and the technical advance which made it possible to receive and transmit simultaneously on the same instrument, private life came to an end." Part 2, Chapter 9, pg. 206-7

In some ways the Party did carry out the Socialist agenda. Nothing in Oceania is owned individually; everything is owned by the Party, able to dispose of things as they see fit.

Oceanian society is defined by three classes in a pyramid structure, with Big Brother, the face of the Party, at the top. No rebellion is possible. The Party members are completely controlled and the proles are not educated enough to realize that the world could be any different.

The Party members live under the watchful eyes of the Thought Police. Law as we know it does not exist. Arrest or torture by the Thought Police is not punishment for crimes, it is the active removal of people who are suspected of independent thought dangerous to the ideals of The Party. Major mental training is required, starting in childhood, to ensure political orthodoxy. By dislocating the sense of reality, the Party may well be able to hold onto its power forever.

Topic Tracking: Reality Control 10
Topic Tracking: Newspeak 10

Winston finishes reading and notices Julia has fallen asleep beside him. He still has not learned the major secret - why the Party does all these things. He understands how, but not why. After reading The Book, he is not mad, even if he may feel part of a minority. He falls asleep beside Julia.

When Winston and Julia wake and dress, they go to the window and watch the woman hanging her washing out below; bearing children has thickened her body. For obvious reasons, the two of them can never have children. In As Winston watches the woman, he is comforted by the sheer number of human beings out there living under Party rule. He will pass on the secret of The Book to his generation and spark the rebellion. Eventually the revolution must come, perhaps when their lives are long past. "We are the dead," he says. "We are the dead," repeats Julia behind him. Suddenly an iron voice declares behind them, "You are the dead."

Topic Tracking: Proletariat 14

The telescreen was behind the St. Clement's Dane Engraving all along. The police surround the house and break into the room. One of them smashes the glass paperweight; they kick and punch Julia and Winston. Mr. Charrington comes into the room, oddly changed in his appearance. He appears to be in his mid thirties, his hair is black, and he is no longer wearing his spectacles. Winston realizes he was an agent of the Thought Police from the beginning.

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