Book 2 Chapter 9
After a ninety-hour workweek at The Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith is completely exhausted. In the middle of Hate Week, Oceania has switched enemies and allies in the ongoing war, heaping upon Winston a tremendous amount of work to change all previous documents. At one rally, the speaker is forced to change his speech halfway through to point out that Oceania is not (showing the extreme changes and pressure Winston was under), and has never been, at war with Eurasia.
Rather, the speaker says, Oceania is, and always has been, at war with Eastasia. The people become embarrassed about carrying the anti-Eurasia signs and blame Emmanuel Goldstein’s agents for sabotaging them. Nevertheless, they exhibit hatred for Eastasia, showing the power and influence the party have.
Back in his room, Winston reads through Goldstein’s book( ‘The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism’), given to him by O’Brien. This book traces a theory of social classes throughout recent history: High Class, Middle Class, and Low Class—the Inner Party, the Outer Party, and the Proles. The book outlines, Eurasia was created when Russia subsumed all of Europe, Oceania was created when the United States absorbed the British Empire, and Eastasia is made up of the remaining nations. These three nations keep their respective populaces preoccupied with a perpetual border war in order to preserve power among the High class.
Winston, debates what he has read in the book and realises that it did not tell him anything new; Winston already knew the how of the Party’s doctrine, but what he really wants to know is the why. Goldstein also writes that the war never advances significantly, as no two allied nations can defeat the third. As Winston reads, Julia enters the room and flings herself into his arms. Winston reads to Julia from the book. Goldstein explains that the control of history is a central tool of the Party.
1984 is a dystopian novella by George Orwell published in 1949, which takes place in 1984. The Novella explores the ideas of a totalitarian state controlling every aspect of life, even people’s thoughts. The state is called Oceania and is ruled by a group known as the Party; its leader and dictator is Big Brother.
The Novella follows the life of Winston Smith, the central character, is a thirty-nine-year-old man living in London. He is a low-ranking member of ‘the Party’, who is frustrated by the omnipresent eyes of the party, and its ominous ruler Big Brother. He secretly hates the Party and decides to rebel by starting a diary in which he reveals his rebellious thoughts and plans. By owning a diary, Winston commits thoughtcrime and knows that one day he will be discovered by the Thought Police and potentially killed.
Winston is fascinated by the lives of ‘proles’ (the lowest class in the social hierarchy of Oceania). They are the only group allowed to live pretty much as they like without heavy police surveillance. He later befriends a prole, Mr. Charrington (the Owner of shop in the prole district), who shares his interest in the past and life before the rule of Big Brother.
Whilst at work, Winston is approached by a woman who works in another department, she pretends to fall, as a result he helps her up. As he does this, she slips a piece of paper into his hand. It says, ‘I love you.’ Winston is surprised and disturbed by this; any sexual relationship between Party members is strictly forbidden. However, it’s something he’d never seen before, which as a result leaves him intrigued. They later agree to secretly meet in the country, only in places that aren’t under surveillance. He begins a love affair with the woman, who we later learn is called Julia. Winston and Julia eventually rent the room above Mr. Charrington’s junkshop as a long-term private place for the two of them.
A member of the Inner Party, known as ‘O’Brien’, finds an excuse to give Winston his home address, an unusual event. Winston, whilst being quite taken back is overjoyed, as he’d always believed O’Brien may not be like the other members of the party and might share his hatred of the Party. Winston and Julia secretly travel to see O’Brien and he enlists them into the Brotherhood (a secret organisation dedicated to fighting Big Brother). He arranges to give Winston a copy of “The Book,” a document that contains the truth about Big Brother and the development of the super-states. Winston and Julia rush to their room above the junkshop to read the book, hoping to finally confirm their suspicions. Only for the Thought Police burst in to arrest them. They then learn that Mr. Charrington is a Thought Police agent. They are therefore separately taken to the Ministry of Love. There, Winston learns that O’Brien is in fact an orthodox government agent and has deliberately tricked him. O’Brien takes charge of the process of “re-integrating” Winston, by torturing and brainwashing him until he fully believes in the Party and it’s viewpoints. As the final step of this process, Winston is forced to betray his love for Julia, and his feelings for her are destroyed.
Winston is released after all of his torturing, only to live out his final days as a broken man. Soon, the Thought Police will execute him for his crime, the Novella ends with Winston having submitted completely, as he even loves Big Brother.