- Do you think Winston is emotional about Syme’s vanishing?
Right at the beginning of part five, Orwell brings up a funny character we met back in Chapter 1. Syme was a "friend" of Winston's who he meets up with and talks to in the canteen. Syme was a newspeak expert who is working on the new edition of the newspeak dictionary. The edition to end all editions, Syme makes it sound like. Here we find out that the comrade Winston had, has vanished. All mentions of Syme are even now rectified, with his name being scrubbed out of the list of people in the chess committee.
Winston I don't believe is emotional at all in Syme's disappearance for two reasons. One, he knew it would happen eventually. Two, he was not really friends with Syme. He says back in Chapter 1 how Syme always said a little bit too much, he did not know when to stop talking. His information on Newspeak and the Party also makes him somebody that could become dangerous should he start to take revolutionary roots. The worst part about it is, Syme has no clue about the trouble that his behaviors could potentially cause him, again not that these behaviors are wrong if comparing it to our society, he just lacks the self awareness to the current environment he lives in.
Winston mentions how in his world, you have comrades, and how you really don't have friends. This could be another reason why Winston does not talk about Syme much in part five. He knows the Syme would have ratted him out to the thought police if he was ever given a reason to. Naturally, its going be to hard to have feelings for somebody who would do this kind of thing to you...
- If Julia is right, why would the Party drop bombs on its own people?
It is mentioned that during the preparations leading up to Hate Week, that bombs are starting to drop more frequently. Winston is startled when Julia suggests that there is no great war going on outside of Oceania, and that the bombs are being dropped by the Party itself. Its interesting to note that Winston has not thought about this possibility, judging by his awareness of how the Party operates and its operations of control.
Keeping with that theme, the bombs being dropped by the Party would literally be to keep the population in fear of the enemy. This fear could be easily harnessed to rationalize going to war with that enemy country. The Party would step in to basically tell its citizens, that we will keep you safe, we will fight this dangerous war in order to protect our citizens. In reality, this fear will balloon Oceania's military industrial complex, consolidating more power to the state, which I am sure partly will fight a war. Mostly though, that power will be used against the people to keep them in line and obedient.
- Explain what Winston means by the corn and bird analogy
The corn and the bird analogy is something Winston mentions at the end of part five in relation to Julia. Julia is oblivious to the propaganda being put out by the Party. She does not understand that Rutherford, Aaronson, and Jones were wiped out of existence. She does not care that the Party says it invented the Airplane, even though when Winston was in school they never said anything about this.
This is something we touched on in a previous episode and blog post. Julia just wants to do her thing. Yes, she despises the Party, but only because it is impeding her ability to be a free spirit, enjoying the countryside, better food, and sex. She DOES NOT want to start any sort of resistance movement, as she sees it as a losing game. She is happy with doing what she currently does. She can not see past the lies the Party says, she does not really care to look for it. In this fashion, Winston compares Julia's blindness to that of corn passing through the digestive system of a bird untouched. It leaves no residue behind and does not harm the bird. Julia, treats Party propaganda in the same way. She does not question it, she soaks it in, and just keeps moving on with her life, never questioning it because it does not directly affect her life. She can still sneak around and cause mischief. In the end, what she doesn't know, won't hurt her.