1984 Discussion (Chapter 1, Part V)
- Compare the people Winston says would get vaporized to those he thinks will not
It is important to note another person back in part one that Winston said would get vaporized. He suggested that he himself would get vaporized for having bought the diary and written in it, let alone the words "Down with Big Brother" he scribbled down. Winston is an obvious target for the thought police after committing such a vile act as denouncing Big Brother. In part five, Winston's predictions of who is and isn't getting vaporized are not as obvious. This is because from the information we have, they seem like devout Party members.
He mentions multiple times that Syme will get vaporized, and this comes after we find out Syme is dedicated to the Newspeak dictionary, he goes to public executions, doesn't seem to question Big Brother, believes in INGSOC, and rejoices over victories. Syme poses a different threat to the Party compared to Winston. As Winston describes Syme, he lacks discretion, aloofness, he reads too much, and does not know when to stop talking. In essence, he knows TOO much. If that information were to make it out to the wrong hands, or if Syme were to start having second thoughts on the Party like Winston, it could spell trouble.
Now Winston states that Tom Parsons and the Quacking man will not be vaporized. They share the similarity with Syme in that they all seem to have a strong allegiance to Big Brother. Where Syme is too smart for his own good, Tom and the Quacking Man seem to not have the same capacity to think for themselves or awareness of the goals of the Party. The Quacking Man is not thinking when he speaks, he is just spewing out words and sentences, and that is good because it is positive reinforcement of Party ideals. Tom is just fat and dumb according to Winston, he would never question anything about the Party. Syme again, has in depth knowledge of Newspeak, he understands where the language is going and what the goal of it is. If Winston were to maybe show him how corrupted these plans are, then that information could spread to the masses.
- Do you think Tom Parsons loves his kids? Look at the way he is describing them
It is interesting that when Tom talks about his kids, he doesn't really say any overt terms of endearment. He calls them beggars, and calls them very keen. Deep down, as with most parents, I think he does love his kids. In my opinion it is more out of a love for what they will do for the spies and the Party itself. It is almost as if he is proud of bringing kids into the world FOR the Party. He is gleeful when describing his daughter following the man and reporting him for wearing the wrong shoes. So it is love, but not the kind that somebody in our society would have for someone. You have to think too, kids can sneakily report people to the thought police. Something that the Parson's might have in the back of their mind. Winston stated before how kids rat out their parents, and even thinks that Mrs. Parsons would eventually get vaporized.
- Give your thoughts on the Newspeak dictionary. How can it be used to control Oceania?
The 11th edition of the Newspeak dictionary is a project that is introduced to us by Syme. Syme is super excited about this new edition, ranting and raving how it is going to replace the language that him and Winston are currently using. I just can't seem to come around to this idea. Although I have no doubt about Syme's thoughts, I think inevitably, there will be a 12th, 13th, 14th edition and beyond as long as Big Brother is in power.
I think that the dictionary, and the words people use are Big Brother's main forms of control of Oceania. Like Syme describes, this new 11th edition is not adding words, it is cutting out words and destroying them. The goal is to narrow the range of thought by reducing thoughts, feelings, words, adjectives, etc. down to just a few words. Nobody will be able to describe anything that is different from anybody else. Now think about if somebody did use words outside of the scope of this new edition of the Newspeak dictionary, people will immediately know that they are speaking OLDSPEAK. This could lead to people being labeled for vaporization or for people to be treated as second, third, or fourth class citizens.
- What do you notice about the way Tom asks Winston for his sub? Is he using newspeak/doublethink/reality control?
A sub is a voluntary subscription for various activities related to the promotion or dealing with the Party. In part five, we see Tom ask Winston for a sub for the house-by-house fund, which sounds like a pot of money for decorating the block for Hate Week. About a quarter of a person's salary had to be diverted to voluntary subscriptions, but for this one, Winston has seemingly forgot about it. I question whether it was known about at all. To me, Tom wills the subscription into existence, basically lying about it. Sort of like, "Hey remember you promised me this one thing?". To which you would reply "I don't...but if you say so?". We have all been there.
"Two dollars you promised me," says Tom. Winston may have already have paid it, and Tom could be just trying to extort more money from him for the cause. Especially in the position that Tom is in, being higher up in the ranks, and being somebody that the Party finds valuable to the propagation of Party ideals. Deep down Winston also has to keep track of Tom's kids, the Spies. So, Tom has leverage in demanding more money from Winston for the sub.
- Do you think the strange man the Parson's daughter followed was actually an enemy of the state?
If the only evidence of being a Eurasian soldier is shoes, I think you will need more evidence. For the young girl though, this is enough to condemn this man and hand him over to the patrol units. Now maybe it is weird for the man to be hiking in the woods, but does this mean that he is necessarily a spy? I really doubt the man was an enemy, and this goes to show the heightened state of the people to report on anything that is just a little bit off in a person. We see Winston further this point by stating later in part five, that you have to be very careful with your facial expressions. You must not look overly anxious or nervous, for you risk being punished. This was called face-crime, in newspeak. The worst thing is, whether you are out in the woods, or have a sense of worry in your face, you are not taken to a court of law to explain yourself. First of all, you shouldn't need too! You are allowed to have emotions. Secondly, we have heard that Oceania really has no laws, so you are just immediately punished by the Party.
- The quacking man, is he even human? Why don’t you think he has any eyes?
We have to take Winston's description here as truth when he describes the quacking man as indeed, a man. Even Winston has a hard time believing it though. What kind of a man has blank discs for eyes?! When we look at what the Quacking man is speaking, the frequency and verbiage is very different from the cast of characters we have met so far. We have seen other characters praise Big Brother, denounce Goldstein, but the quacking man ONLY says things that are in direct elevation of Big Brother or any of the Party's principles. As Winston describes, the man is speaking pure INGSOC. He is not concerned with anything or anybody else. Another difference is that he is not really talking, it is more just noise. A stream of sounds that form words. With all the speech he does, it kind of makes me honestly think the Party used this man for experimentation. Essentially, they created a walking, talking poster-boy/commercial for Big Brother. They enhanced his vocal chords and mouth to talk fast, and removed his eyes because his only purpose is to talk. Why would you need eyes right?