Sunday, December 15, 2013

Reflect on the Novel's Ending

                The 1984 ending was somewhat predictable after Winston was released from the Ministry of Love. He was released right after he betrayed Julia. After he was released, Winston said he was better off than he was before. This led me to believe that he may possible have become part of the inner party. Also, he said he could get close to Julia now and it did not matter which again led me to believe he was upgraded in society. He and Julia no longer have a feeling of love for each other; everything is different when they meet up after they are released. Winston no longer has a sex drive. O’Brien succeeded in taking away part of Winston’s humanity from that point.
                Also, while Winston was in the Ministry of Love, he wanted to convert to the “other side” because he was suffering. He wanted to believe that 2+2=5 and into the party’s ideals, but he physically and mentally could not. At the end of the book when the narrator says, “He loved Big Brother,” it is because Winston was trained to love him. Winston’s mind was altered when he was in the Ministry of Love. This ending was very eye opening for me because it shows that with the right tools, a party or government can change a whole mode of thought. It seems that this formula to keep power that the Party contrived worked. It was even able to convert its opposition. Killing the opposition would not be enough because there will always be more, but changing the opposition can be successful. Orwell critiques that unless we change the way the world is going, this is a possible future. The novel shows that we must not let this happen, yet it will be hard to stop it from happening if a superior power has to ability to change the way we think. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How does “the book” affect your understanding of the Party/ Orwell’s critique?

Reading excerpts from “The Book” helped me understand the party in much greater detail. It also helped me understand the many paradoxes that affect our society even if they are not readily seen.
                “The Book” is written by Emmanuel Goldstein, the main opposition to the party. Yet, the book says nothing of how to defeat the party, it just explains the party in greater detail. As Winston said himself, the book did not tell him anything he did not already know. The book explains that since the three world powers are always at war, war becomes peace. War becomes a way for the party to keep control over its citizens because instead of spending money on consumer goods, money is always spend on war. It is war without victory though. Orwell critiques out society here. During war countries take extra liberties. For example, the US took away certain freedoms in speech during both world wars. Also, when war becomes so prevalent and constant, it is not really war anymore. It is just a force to be contended with that is always there. When war is constant, peace is never known. Yet also war becomes peace because that is all there is. It is a very interesting paradox that critiques our society for constantly being at war when we know no power will indefinitely over take the other.
                “The Book” explains that ignorance is strength because without knowledge and memories there are no contradictions or oppositions. With the process of doublethink the party can change and overcome history. Thus if the party is all there ever is they will have power forever. Orwell critiques our society because ignorance of a mass of people leads to power of government. In a totalitarian state, the state has ultimate power if the people are too ignorant to realize any issues with the injustice. Ignorance does give the government or the party more strength while taking the strength away from individuals. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

"The History Teacher" by Billy Collins

Trying to protect his students’ innocence
he told them the Ice Age was really just
the Chilly Age, a period of a million years
when everyone had to wear sweaters.

And the Stone Age became the Gravel Age, 5
named after the long driveways of the time.

The Spanish Inquisition was nothing more
than an outbreak of questions such as
“How far is it from here to Madrid?”
“What do you call the matador’s hat?” 10

The War of Roses took place in a garden,
and the Enola Gay dropped on tiny atom
on Japan.

The children would leave his classroom
for the playground to torment the weak 15
and the smart,
messing up their hair and breaking their glasses,

while he gathered up his notes and walked home
past flower beds and white picket fences,
wondering if they would believe that soldiers 20
in the Boer War told long, rambling stories
designed to make the enemy nod off.

Collins uses irony in the use of humor for the reader but he also subtly preaches the message that unless children are stopped from bullying they will grow up to create more wars similar to the ones we learn in history classes. Collins starts of the poem by stating that the teacher’s motive for shielding them from the truth of the past is “to protect his students’ innocence” (1). He tells them that “the Ice Age was really just the Chilly Age, a period of a million years when everyone had to wear sweaters (2-4). He also says the Stone Age was “name after the long driveways of the time” (6). The history teacher lies to his students and tells them that these harsh periods in history were far from hard times. He understates these events in a very comical way.
Collins then goes on the explain how he tells his students that the Spanish Inquisition was “an outbreak of questions” (7), “the war of roses took place in a garden (11) and the atomic bomb dropped on Japan was merely one atom. He continues to shield the truth from his “innocent” students. Yet we find out they are not so innocent because they torment “the weak and the smart, messing up their hair and breaking their glasses” (14-16). These students are bullies. This may be partly fostered by the fact that they do not know of the violence that is prevalent in history. The History teacher teaches that only good events happen, so they are unaware that bullying can lead to anything bad. Yet, children who bully grow into children who create conflict and start wars. These kids are following the patterns of history.
As the History teacher walks home he passes “flower beds and white picket fences” (19). This is ironic because the History teacher walks home in a perfect world, but history has told the tale that the world is far from perfect. This irony emphasizes that we need to teach our children the facts so that they will not repeat the history of violence and wars.  

Monday, December 2, 2013

1984 Evolving Impressions of Julia

                In the chapters 2.4-2.6 in 1984 Julia’s personality has become clearer. At the beginning of the novel before Winston and Julia started the affair, I believed her to be more political. Winston thought she was working for the Thought Police as a spy, but I always had the idea that she and Winston would team up to work against Big Brother. After Julia gave Winston the note saying “I love you”, Winston has gotten to know her personality. Although she hates Big Brother and the party, she is happy enough living under their government as long as she can break certain rules. Julia is extremely interested in the sexual relationship she shares with Winston. She rebels against the party rules and has affairs with many men, but those are the only rules she rebels against.
                As Winston points out she does not care that the Party falsifies enormous amounts of information and that basically everything she knows in her life is a lie. When Winston explains to her his work in the records department where he basically erases past facts, “she did not feel the abyss opening beneath her feel at the thought of lies becoming truths” (154). She is perfectly content living with Big Brother as long as she can have affairs. She does not want to risk her life being a political rebel. She says, “I’m not interested in the next generation, dear. I’m only interested in us” (156). She refuses to rebel politically, but is completely willing to do it sexually.
                Also, she does not understand the government. She does not care what nonsense she is yelling during Two Minutes Hate or other rallies because she believes the whole government is a joke. She hates Big Brother, but she does not understand the entirety of its lies. She does not believe its ideas, but she has no valid reason against them except the fact that she thinks it is dumb and dislikes doing the rituals. Yet even though she hates the rituals, she does not want to rebel because it is not worth risking her life. Julia hates Big Brother yet knows little of their deceptions. She is perfectly content going through the motions of it politically as long as she can have sexual relationships. Thus, we learn that Julia may not be so helpful in Winston’s quest against Big Brother because she ignorantly believes the party’s facts even though she despises the rituals and the party. I also learned that although she breaks the rules, she is ignorant in believing the ideas of Big Brothers like many other party members.