1984 Discussion (Chapter 1, Part VII)

1984 Discussion (Chapter 1, Part VII)
Full Episode: Chapter 1, Part 7
  • Why do you think the Party places restrictions on its members and is more relaxed with the Proles?

We have seen Winston describe the divide between the Proles and the Party. This was earlier in chapter 1, where Winston was describing the difference in reading material and media that were created for the Party vs the common people. The ministry where Winston worked had a whole separate department that produced "rubbishy newspapers, containing almost nothing except sport, crime, and astrology...". Porn was even produced for the Proles, in which Party members were not allowed access to. Fast forward to part seven, and we see other restrictions on the Party, like divorce and sexual promiscuity.

Ultimately, there has to be a reason for this. I think it boils down to the fact that these activities and media resources are not good for long term development, and the Party knows this. The Party wants the nuclear family maintained, it wants its members to have their minds sharp and focused on the Party activities. Things like sports, Hollywood, astrology, sex I think are meant to keep people's focus on pleasure and not realize the prison they are in. All of a sudden you don't question anything because you start to think you have everything you need! It becomes a slippery slope until you are addicted and never want to get off that ferris wheel.

I think the Party realizes this slippery slope, and that is why its members are not allowed to partake in these indulgences. As Winston describes in part seven, the Proles have the mindset that they are free. Are they really though...

The freedoms that they can experience ultimately dig themselves further into a hole that they can not climb out from.

  • Try to answer Winston’s question on the Party’s manipulation of the past, the HOW and the WHY?

It surprises me that Winston does not know the answer to both of these questions, namely the WHY. He actively participates in the How at work by rectifying media that comes across his desk, and sending the originals down the memory hole to be destroyed.

What Winston could mean by the why, is why the Party seemingly continuously makes changes to the Past. This is an interesting question, would not just one time suffice? The Party's efforts could be to constantly confuse the population on time and dates. Even if something is rectified once, you could still have a sense of time. Like if we all of a sudden have an idea spread throughout America that the attacks on September 11th never happened, we could still move forward with our lives having a sense of where we were in 2001. We could formulate a mental picture of where we were in life, what age we were, etc. Now what if we were to rectify this event by keeping the date moving and keeping the bad actors constantly changing. It could change our perspectives on what we were doing at that time. The confusion could lead to us really not paying attention to history anymore. Why should we if it keeps changing? As something we have talked about in a previous post, if you do not really have a past, how can you learn and do anything differently? You are stuck living the mistakes and mishaps you have already experienced.

On another note, multiple manipulations of the past could ultimately be a form a control and creating a reliance on the Party for information. If things are constantly changing, and the only source of somebody knowing about these changes are the telescreen announcements from the Party, somebody can become accustomed to relying on the Party for truth.

  • Do you think it would do any good if you came across the evidence of the 3 gentleman in the Times? Would it make any difference in overthrowing the Party?

When Winston discovered the photograph of Rutherford, Jones, and Aaronson he immediately tried to conceal it from the telescreen by his desk. The photograph showed that the three men were at a Party Function on a date in time where they had previously confessed to betraying Oceania by being on Eurasian soil. Here we find that the telescreen can not only pick you up visually, but is also aware of your breathing and heart rate. It seemed like Winston wanted to keep the page of the times a lot longer, but he was afraid that his excitement of the situation would give him away and lead to his punishment. He ultimately ends up discarding the piece down the memory hole.

This is one of the issues with having this momentous form of evidence of the Party changing the past, if you are discovered to be concealing such a thing, it would most certainly lead to your demise. It would be so hard to do anything with it because who else could you trust to hold on to that secret? You would need enough people on your side to overthrow the Party, and most people are going to be so entrenched in the propaganda of Big Brother that they might not even believe the piece of evidence you have is real. We talk about in the full episode for part seven that the proles think they are free because they have access to certain things the Party does not. Most likely, somebody will not want to be bothered by Winston's supposed evidence, they will be busy watching football and drinking Victory gin...