“He wondered vaguely how many others like her there might be in there younger generation- people who had grown up in the world of the Revolution…” (131)
Here is proof that there would always be resistance, no matter how old or what generation. However, what’s interesting is that Julia stays smart and tries to just survive whereas Winston, who’s older and lived longer, wants to take more pro-active action. It’s as if Julia has grown to accept the Party’s dominance, whereas Winston has lived longer and believes that overthrowing the Party is possible. Also, I can’t help but think why there is such a drastic difference between the people of Oceania. There are people like the Parsons who seem completely brainwashed by Big Brother, and there are people like Julia and Winston, who secretly despise the Party. So the question is, “What sets Julia and Winston apart from the rest? What makes them resistant to the Party’s influence?”
“‘Do you realize that the past, starting from yesterday, has been abolished? If it survives anywhere, its in a few solid objects with no words attached to them, like that lump of glass there. Already we know almost literally nothing about the Revolution and the years before the Revolution. Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, ever statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right. I know, of course, that the past was falsified, but it would never be possible for me to prove it, even when I did the falsification myself.’” (155)
Here, George Orwell masterfully portrayed many of the things that historical leaders such as Mao Zedong had done. In the mid-1900s Mao Zedong rose in power in China and was the founder of the People’s Republic of China. One of the many things he did in his revolution was to destroy documents and arts, striping China of its culture. Here, the Party does a similar thing, only far more extreme. Their power to control the past is incredible and effective. Yet what puzzles me is that why everyone just “swallowed” it all. Again, the same question came to mind, what made Winston different from most of the others? This reminded me of Mr. Charrington. Why hasn’t he been arrested yet? Why doesn’t the Thought Police believe he’s a threat? Perhaps the Party thinks he is like the proles, too insignificant to be any danger. And yet, he’s influenced a Party member by selling him a blank book and some old coral, and even telling Winston about the “real” past. Isn’t that a big enough threat?
“‘I don’t mean confessing. Confession is not betrayal. What you say or do doesn’t matter; only feelings matter. If you could make me stop loving you –that would be the real betrayal.’” (166)
Here it seems that Orwell is giving us, the reader, a bit of hope in this overall bleak outlook for the two protagonists. This passage reminds me of an earlier excerpt where Winston was thinking to himself, saying how “Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimeters inside your skull.” (27) But at least they finally have something where they could defy with Party with, something that the Party cannot alter. Or could they? After all, the Party IS able to “alter” the past and control the masses so easily. So could the Ministry of Love seriously alter one’s heart? Another thing that was interesting was that further down, you could see Winston changing slightly and starting to think about the ideology that Julia had. After reading this, I realized that everything Julia does is centered on her belief that she could overcome the Party by simply denying them her true feelings. For example, she joins the Junior Anti-Sex league and behaves the most radically during Two-Minutes Hate, and yet she has a radically opposite mindset.
“Nothing of the kind exists. The members of the Brotherhood have no way to recognizing one another… You will get no comradeship and no encouragement. When finally you are caught, you will get no help.” (176)
The Brotherhood was exactly the opposite of what I had expected. The name itself is misleading since “Brotherhood” would imply that its members are very close and are united, like family. And yet, quite it’s quite the opposite. There is “no comradeship and no encouragement.” In my opinion, it’s not much different from the Party and the Thought Police. Living under the Brotherhood and the Thought Police is quite similar in the sense that either way, you are alone. The Brotherhood not allowing its members to know each other, and the Thought Police suspecting every acquaintance you make. And yet, a question came to mind. How does the Brotherhood operate, then? Wouldn’t each member know at least one other member? Wouldn’t they create a long chain in which the Thought Police could use to track them?
“O’Brien was a person who could be talked to. Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.” (252)
This excerpt particularly stuck out to me for a number of reasons. First, in such a lonely place as the Ministry of Love, Winston does not find comfort in thinking about his lover Julia but rather his tormentor O’Brien. I feel like as if Winston was reduced to nothing, loving anyone who would just stop the pain and who would talk to him. After all, O’Brien did act like he wanted to “help” Winston and to make him “sane.” Perhaps it’s because of O’Brien’s attitude that contrasts so radically with the other all setting of the Ministry does Winston feel drawn towards him. O’Brien seems to control everything, whether or not Winston feels pain, whether or not Winston is fed, whether or not Winston could sleep. Everything in Winston’s life is revolving around O’Brien it seems. Perhaps O’Brien symbolizes Big Brother, one who could bring pain or suffer, one who controls everything. Winston loves his tormentor. Would he love Big Brother in the same sense he loves O’Brien?
“Yes, even…He could not fight against the Party any longer. Besides, the Party was in the right. It must be so: how could the immortal, collective brain be mistaken?” (277)
After reading this particular part, I started seeing how Winston was slowly cracking under the Ministry of Love’s torturing. Nearly all of his former rebelliousness was washed away and he was starting to accept the Party. But what struck me was how he stilled loved Julia. He still hasn’t stopped loving her. Even though his mind has started to crumble, his heart has stayed strong. Has the Party finally decided to leave him alone? Perhaps they believe that he was broken down enough. But why are they nursing Winston if they were to kill him anyway? Is this the “O’Brien” effect where the Party models as the controller of every aspect of Winston’s life? Was this to slowly undermine his thoughts and make him love the Party as he had started to love O’Brien?
“ “Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don’t care what you do to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the bones. Not me! Julia! Not me!’” (286)
Personally, I found this the most disturbing line of the entire book. O’Brien was finally able to force Winston into betraying his love. The thing that seemed to be untouchable, the only thing that seemed to be invincible was finally crushed. I wondered why did they do this? Maybe the Party wanted nothing in Winston, perhaps they wanted to make him into an empty shell, without love for anything except Big Brother. What is also disturbing is that I remember that O’Brien mentioned that Julia had betrayed Winston. “‘She betrayed you, Winston. Immediately –unreservedly. I have seldom seen anyone come over to us so promptly.’” (259) Did Julia really give-up Winston that easily and that quickly? Is this what O’Brien had meant by “betrayed”? After realizing this, I felt a sudden emptiness and loneliness for Winston. He had absolutely nothing; even love is no longer existent. The only thing there is is Big Brother. How do the people on Oceania love Big Brother so naturally? How would they, without nearly as much torture as Winston had undergone, give in so easily?