Saturday, January 01, 2005

Winston!

Winston is the protagonist and main character of the novel. He is an intellectual middle-aged man of thirty-nine and a member of the Outer Party. He is also an honest man who questions and rebels against the lonely and insecure life, stripped of all human feelings, in the state of Oceania. In this book, he falls in love with Julia and is punished for the relationship with her. Winston is the symbol of humanity in this story.

Despite him being intellectual, he is kind of naive. He has opened his mind to O'Brien before he was sure that O’ Brien was also against the Party just because of the dreams he had that gives him a hint that it could be O’ Brien who is feeling the same way towards the Party as he is. He sticks to his beliefs and stands up for it. He is suspicious of almost everyone except O’Brien.
Unlike Julia, Winston is a kind-hearted person. Even though he is married to someone whom he does not loved, he tolerated it. He may have killed her by pushing her off the cliff during one of the days they were together alone, without the existence of telescreens or microphones nearby, but he didn’t.

Perhaps in this story, he may be a hero to certain readers out there. Although he knew that he will eventually get caught by the Thought Police and will be punished, he still sticks to his beliefs and rebellious thoughts against the Party. He is the main symbol of humanity in the story. In the beginning of the story, when we find out about his actions and his thoughts about the Party, we predicted that he is the hero who will save the people from dictatorship, from Big Brother.
Winston turns out to be a simple case of a person reformed by the party. By the end of the book, Winston is completely mentally dead. He cannot think or act for himself, and he is merely a toy of the party. He is useless to anyone and may as well be put to death.

No doubt, Winston is contemplative and a fatalistic guy in this book. He hates the totalitarian control and enforced repression that are characteristic of the government. Overall, he harbors revolutionary dreams. Winston lives in a world in which legitimate optimism is an impossibility; lacking any real hope, he gives himself false hope, fully aware that he is doing so. For example, even though he knows that the Thought police will catch him after writing ‘DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER’ in his personal diary, he continues to commit more crimes such as having an affair with Julia.

o'briEn!

This sophisticated leader of the Inner Party is supposed to be the head of the secret Brotherhood dedicated to the overthrow of Big Brother. In his black overalls, he haunts both Winston's dreams and his waking moments to the very end of the novel. What I find interesting about him is that i don't really know if he is a friend or an enemy of Winston.

He is almost a kind of father for Winston. Before Winston's capture, O'Brien "helps" Winston to make contact with the Brotherhood, and he teaches him about the Ideology and the rules of this secret Organization. After the capture, O'Brien gives Winston the feeling that he is somehow protecting him. The relation between O'Brien and Winston has all attributes of a typical relationship between a father and a child, he teaches, punishes and educates his child, and protecting it from anything that could harm the child.

O’ Brien is the only character in this book that we can relate to with politics. O’Brien gives us the impression that the way the system works in Oceania is splendid and impressive. In a way, it sounds convincing. He is a very intelligent man and somehow, I feel that O’Brien is the person whom you can talk to. Even though he talks in a way to convince Winston, he is still stern and has only one aim at the end of the day, that is, to ‘enlighten’ Winston.

O’ Brien is the reflection of what real politicians are. There may be many ugly things within the political system but he will never criticize it. He is determined to win over Winston and somehow, we feel a sense of power within O’ Brien himself. But we detest the political system all the same. It treated the Proles like animals and they controlled every single mind out there in Oceania. The political system is undoubtedly ugly. To be unconscious and to obey the words of the Party seems easy to one if one doesn’t have the intellect to think likewise, like the Proles. They take away love in families and turn young children into heartless patriotic citizens of Oceania. HorrriffffyIng!

However like every other politicians, O’ Brien is power-hungry. During the process of this punishment, the psychological torture, he admits that he pretended to be connected to the Brotherhood merely to trap Winston in an act of open disloyalty to the Party. O brien pretends to sympathize with Winston merely to gain his trust. All in all, O’ Brien is a shadowy, symbolic enigma in the Party. bUT he's my favourite character! he is cool.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Language and self (act of rebellion, history, writing)

Newspeak is the language in the book introduced by the Party to replace English. The Party is constantly refining and perfecting Newspeak, with the ultimate goal that no one will be capable of conceptualizing anything that might question the Party's absolute power.

In this book, Winston is against the language being used in Oceania. They seem to be altering their vocabulary and the each time a new dictionary is created, the number of words is getting more simple and lesser. This is to stimulate the way the mind of the people thinks. People should think simple so that they will not question the Party’s actions that will affect the Party’s absolute power over the people.

Only the leading articles in Oceania are written in this "language." The purpose of Newspeak instills mental habits proper to devotees of Ingsoc and also to make all other methods of thought impossible. With Newspeak, doublethink would be even easier! The member of the Party is able to convey his message to the people of Oceania more easily. This is done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words.

So there is a form of control even in the language we used in our daily lives. These words are invented in order for the people of Oceania not to think in a complex way. In other words, they do not want the proles to be intelligent. This is a form of dystopia as the people are under control and they are being limited by the vocabulary they are exposed to. Therefore, they are unable to express themselves much due to the lack of vocabulary.

The Party controls every source of information, managing and rewriting the content of all newspapers and histories for its own ends. The Party does not allow individuals to keep records of their past, such as photographs or documents. People who simply vanished are even removed from the pictures, which they have taken years back. As a result, memories become fuzzy and unreliable, and citizens becoming perfectly willing to believe whatever the Party tell them such as the war between Eurasia and Eastasia. By controlling the present, the Party is able to manipulate the past. And in controlling the past, the Party can justify all its actions in the present. so the Party is in charge of creating 'fairy-tales' ?

By controlling the history, the Party is able to control the present and no one will be able to question history. Since all records have been altered, no one can stand up against the Party to say that what they have been saying are false.

all i can say is : poor people. but is it possible to become unconscious of what is happening around you? in the real world, politicans can't away with such mistakes. they cannot alter the history. no way. and Doublethink. real human beings with a conscious [ well everyone has!]. will never be able to indulge in Doublethink. believing in something that u noe doesn't happen is not logical at all!.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Language, and ermm.. politics?

There’s this part in the story whereby a certain politician was giving out a speech on Oceania having a war with Eurasia. Suddenly a messenger from far came to tell the politician that all this while, they have been having a war with Eastasia, not Eurasia. Therefore, the next thing before u knows it. All past records of having wars with Eurasia are being altered. The people working in the Ministry of Truth had to alter all past histories and make it seem that nothing has been altered after everything is done. With the strong influence, despite the mistake the politician made, the people think nothing of it and continue to support the Party as normal.

In this book, language seems to be of central importance to human thought because it structures and limits the ideas that individuals are capable of formulating and expressing. Newspeak is the language in the book introduced by the Party to replace English. The Party is constantly refining and perfecting Newspeak, with the ultimate goal that no one will be capable of conceptualizing anything that might question the Party's absolute power.

this is simply too ridiculous. the party even controls the human minds? ya by introducing a language which requires basic understanding only. by doing this, no one can defy the Party's actions. they simply lack the abilities to think deeper. so they are juz like robots. simply following the Party's actions without having second thoughts bout it. the Party claims that they have given the proles the freedom to think independently on their own. come on! the Proles are uneducated! even if u give them that freedom, they won't stand up against you. they regard the Party as God. wait! are the Proles humans? haha!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The Golden Country

The "Golden Country" represents a place where Winston can never be hurt. It is his place where he is truly free and he relates that to the place where Julia and he first meet.

In this book, the golden country is perceived as a form of utopia for Winston. It symbolizes peace, beauty, unity, and uniqueness. The dream is the direct opposite to the reality he has to life. This reality is one of darkness, cruelty. In this dark reality, the only thing one can resort to is his dreams, as sort of private rebellion.

The golden country is a place where Winston finds peace, love and joy. There’s no control in the golden country and he is free to do and experience anything that he desires, including Julia. Somehow, this is utopia for Winston since there’s only happiness in the golden country. The theories of utopia we learnt in Thomas More’s utopia justifies that the Golden Country is indeed a utopia. Winston has expressed its perfectness in the book but it never really exists in the first place. It only appears in his dream.

He has fantasies about his utopia, the Golden Country. The Golden Country was an old pasture with a path, and a mole hole here and there. Somewhere that couldn't be seen was a stream with willow tress. Winston dreamt of the golden country so often. He had pictured Julia coming toward him in the field. in the golden country, it is sooo perfect it is as though Big Brother, the Party and the Thought Police had been swept aside. You could do anything that you want. No one is going to arrest you for that. haha. yeah. if i were Winston, the Golden Country is my perfect world too. his descriptions truly fit a place outside Oceania, somewhere where there's such thing called 'privacy'!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Julia: sexuality and desire


Julia is a rebellion herself. Julia is a woman around 25, working in a special department of the Ministry of Truth. Shehad already a couple of illegal love affairs. Unlike Winston, she is basically a simple woman, something of a lightweight who loves her man and uses sex for fun as well as for rebellion. She is perfectly willing to accept the overnight changes in Oceania's history.

If Big Brother says black is white, fine. If he says two and two make five, no problem. She may not believe the Party line, but it doesn't trouble her. Julia is sharp and funny which is simply why she is attractive. Also, in my opinion, she could be a representative of how women are in society. In this book, women are portrayed as industrious beings, yet they prefer to keep quiet whenever they sense something’s wrong, unlike Winston.

When we first visualized Julia’s image through Winston’s words, we somehow have the feeling that she is a gentle, demure and sophisticated woman. But, Julia is a hypocrite. She will criticize about the Party behind their back and her words accompanied with vulgarities. Also, she appears to be slyer than Winston in this book. She will know where the telescreens or microphones will be, and she tends to be more careful when she is with Winston. We see that through the meetings she planned for both Winston and herself.

What makes Julia an attractive woman is the way she expresses herself. She sticks to her beliefs despite putting up a different front when she is with the others. She participates actively in all the programmes that are organized by the Party to promote loyalty to Oceania and Big brother, yet she rebels through having secret affairs with people.

Julia is sensual, pragmatic, and generally content to live in the moment and make the best of her life. She is well adapted to her chosen forms of small-scale rebellion. All in all, she is a striking contrast with Winston: most of their traits are contradictory

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Overview of 1984

Nineteen eighty-four shows us how ugly the world has become. A total dystopia. We see how the people in Oceania are being controlled in their minds and also their physical bodies by the government. In this story, there’s the main character, Winston, who is a rebel against the society, as he thinks differently from the others. He refuse to believe that big brother exists and that the past is alterable. Being a member of the Outer Party and a worker in the Ministry of Truth, he sees how the Inner Party has deceived the people of Oceania with the news of its triumph over certain parts of Eurasia or Eastasia which are all lies.

Wherever Winston goes, he will see a familiar poster, a big picture, which is so, contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move. ‘BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU’, the caption beneath it ran. Then there is the ‘ telescreens’, devices which he could dim, but never shut off completely. Telescreens broadcasted government propaganda and served as the eyes and ears of the Thought Police, who scrutinized everyone for any possible deviation from acceptable thought or action.

The author feels that the world was yet heading towards a totalitarian regime, where everything is controlled and that the people are supposed to act in the correct way and manner towards everything in Oceania. Any difference in character, or the way one reacts even at home, could arouse the suspicion of the Thought Police. Imagine yourself in Oceania. To the government, it is utopia since they have great power over the citizens of Oceania. But will one be happy there?

As we read in the book, Winston sees hope in the proles since they are huge in numbers and are able to rebel against the Party, should they be conscious of what exactly is happening and realized that all this while, they have been deceived. Unfortunately, they do not have the intellect. Therefore, even though they are granted the freedom to think differently, they would not be able to think differently as they lack the intellect. Thus, they believed in everything that has been broadcasted in the telescreens. In nineteen eighty-four, it shares some similar views as Marxist’s theory, one of which that love is superfluous even among family members.

Children betray their parents by reporting their parents to the Though Police should they see any form of rebellion towards Big brother in their parents. The Thought Police caught Parsons, Winston’s friend in the Ministry of Truth, as he mentioned a dangerous phrase in his dream, ‘ DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER’. His daughter has heard him saying that and reported him to the Thought police. In the near future, everyone will have love for only one person, that is, Big brother. No one else. Living in Oceania is like a living hell. You cannot get away with the crimes that you did and these crimes could be so trivial such as saying rebellious words against the government in your sleep. and the worst thing is, they take away your loved ones.

In this book, somehow, we foresee that political decisions in the near future could create a brutally stifled society of "Newspeak", where words are so abstracted from events and actions that they take on their exact opposite meaning and "Doublethink”, which is the power to hold two contradictory ideas simultaneously.

In this book, negative ideas on the new society are being conveyed. Totalitarianism and excessive control of people are horrors to him. It is fearful to predict that the government can too easily seize 'power over all men'. All in all, I feel that this story pose as a warning to what dictatorship of any form can do to mankind.

The author too tells us what happens to Winston Smith can happen to any man if the wrong leaders come to power. The author’s detailed negative descriptions of the society and the Party influence the reader to react like Winston and hate the system. It is simply ridiculous when it comes to the alteration of the historical events and records to make it seem as if the words and speeches made by the government is true and this will build up the trust the people has on the Party. Also, should you harbor any human emotions in yourself such as loving someone else, you will be shot. It is a total nightmare. The names given for the ministries such as the ministry of truth and ministry of love are all meant to be ironies. The people in Oceania are living in a world of deception. Having a conscious of your own is a crime itself. That is why the Party came up with names such as the ‘ Thought police’ and ‘ Thought crime’.