Thoughts, observations, comments, and concerns regarding our readings and classroom discussions.
posted by annes @ 8:04 AM
So what do you think reality is?
Reality is something you have to deal with in life. Like the saying life's not fair, that's reality. You have the opportunity to make your own reality by working and having a good life or you can be lazy and broke and have a harsh life. Reality is what you make it, but there are certain things you have to deal with.
So, I am a little confused about the O'Brein being good and bad. He is supposed to be against the party but is torturing Winston..
I think reality is what you make out of facts
I think that reality cannot be defined. Our own reality can only be determined by what we think is really happening around us and what it means in the greater scheme of things.
Erin- O'Brien is a member of the Ministry of Love he's with the Party I guess.
Reality is the way things really are and that cannot be changed.
I think that Reality is something that cannot be changed. Even though The Party tries to destroy what really happened in the past, they cannot change anything but records. Just because the Party changed the record to be that Oceana was always at war with Eastasia, it did not change what had already happened.
Why do you think Julia gave up Winston right away and WInston did the opposite for Julia?
Erin- I am right there with you because he seems to be his friend, but then is making him believe what the Party says. Also, O'Brien is like a double agent. Then if you realized Winston would still all of the sudden feel love for O'Brien. Why does he still feel love toward him?
That's soo confusing then. Why would he say that he was against the party on lead them on? How did he know what Winston was against that party??
Zach- I think that they are feeding Winston a bunch of lies so that he believes that he could give up on Julia.
erin- i think (dont know, just think) that O'brien has really been against Winston all along. Maybe Mr. Charrington had reported to the thought police what Winston thought about O'brien and the Thought Police used this information to their advantage to pull Winston even further against the Party so that they can accuse him of doing commiting more thoughtcrime.
zachf- I think Julia would rather live without Winston than not live at all. Winston thought that it was true love and that he shouldn't give her up. Maybe Julia was just using him earlier in the book and now does not care about him
I think we are looking at this question in the wrong way. Don't look at reality as it is defined in a dictionary. Look at it through the eyes of O'brien. Can we really say that things such as time and the past exist? We can not hold these things, we can't control them. In this sense, is something that can not be held or manipulated real?Personally, I believe no. I'm more like Winston in this sense- These ideas exist in the form of our understanding them. The actions we take because of the past are the physical representations of these intangible concepts.
ZachI don't think Julia loved Winston the way Winston loved Julia. It was easier for Julia to give Winston up.
Shelby- I think Winston has love for O'Brien during the torture because he acknowledges Winston's strength after he refuses to give up Julia. In that situation, after being beaten, I think WInston will take any compliment.
I agree Emily. She said that she had been with other party members before, and yet she is still alive. Maybe she has been to the Ministry of Love before, but she has escaped by betraying the man she was with.
Another question:Why does O'brien allow Winston to have a couple questions? What is the point of that?
Zach, going on the assumption that O'brien is telling the truth- This was the result of the difference in Winston's and Julia's personalities. Winston, though fatalistic, has an understanding of the big picture. This led him to campaign for what he believed in. Julia was more interested in the here and now, and therefore was more interested in personal preservation than the extension of her ideas.
Emily- I think he wants to gain his trust and love so that he feels like he can talk with him.
Emily- I don't think it's too significant, but the multiple questions could be O'brien's attempt to gain Winston's "trust" so that he can further manipulate him.
Emily- I was kind of wondering the same thing. Why don't they just kill him right then? Why do the torture him when they will kill him later? Are they really going to kill him later or are they just trying to scare him??
zach- i think that we hae seen Julias unwillingness for suicide throughout the book. Maybe she just wanted the sex and she didnt really love Winston. Or, since we already have the notion that she is truly in love with him, maybe she just didnt love him with the passion that Winston loves her. Perhaps she has fallen in love with him, only he has fallen harder, which could make it easier for her to give him up.
Here's a question:Do you all think a society like that of 1984 could actually exist and survive? Do you think we will ever let our society devolve into that state of disarray, and, if we do, do you think it would survive?
Another ides- maybe Julia was just angry at Winston. He has had so many "love affairs" and she has never been caught before, so this may just be her way to get back at Winston.
erinl- I think that they are just using death as a threat if he doesn't change. But if he doesn't change, i think they will follow through with his death.
Anna- I actually think that the society might survive. I think that human minds can be so manipulative that we could believe anything that we are told. I really hope that would never happen to anyone in this world, but I think that it was a possibility.
lindsey- Get back at Winston for what?
emily- Do you think that Winston will really change or will he just pretend?
Anna- I think that our society could definetly could end up like the society in 1984. Take what Kenna was saying about 2+2=5. If you change the minds of the children early enough, you can make them belive whatever you say. Eventually everyone will believe that 2+2=5.
Lindsey- I thought Julia was the one who was having all of the affairs. Also, why would she want to get Winston back?
Anna- I don't think a society like 1984 could ever exist and be successful in our world. If we elected a president who turned out to be a tyrant he would be impeached right away. I say this because we are so sensitive to what's going on in our government because people wanted Clinton out of office after cheating on his wife.
Anna- I don't think that a society such as that would ever even start in ours today. The people would never let it happen in any way. But, if it could survive, i don't think it would function well with some opposing it and some trying to follow the government
emilya- for getting her caught
Anna- I don't think that it could exist because there will be someone or something that will eventually take over because you cannot control a whole society's brain. I don't think this society can live, there will be a way for it to disolve. It is just like a little kid. If the mom tells the kid not to touch the stove, the child will find a way to touch the stove.
Erin- I think Winston will just pretend he has changed. There is no way he could change after fighting for this for so long. He knows what he wants and the party is not what he wants, so he is going to do anything to keep fighting for his cause.
That's a good point, Zach. With our complex government system, it would probably be hard for one man to take control.
I hope it's alright if I answer my own question... Well, I'm going to, so I guess you'll have to go with it!I don't think that a society like the one in 1984 could survive, at least not in the United States. We have tasted too many freedoms to allow them to be taken away. We have grown up knowing that we have the right and the ability to make the most of our lives, and to tell us that we can not thrive and prosper would be to tell us that we can't breath, we can't eat. Americans understand the importance of individuality and personal preservation, and in this sense, I don't think that we would let ourselves fall into a emotionless, dull society like this.In other countries, however, I could see how a government similar to that of 1984 may come into existence. Truthfully, any country that is still under the rule of a dictator or a tyrannical government possesses a certain quality of fear and timidity that may react adversely if put into a 1984-like situation. In this case, these people don't really know what it's like to have freedoms, so they wouldn't feel robbed if Big Brother took over their lives.
I agree with you. I don't think that he will really change. He will always have his memories and clear thoughtful mind.
Zach- I definitely agree! That's a great example of the situation.So to sum it up, those of us who don't think it could survive believe in the power of the human mind and of human instincts.Those of us who do believe the society could exist believe that the human mind is too easily manipulated to be able to think on its own and maintain its natural instincts.
Here's another question:Is Big Brother real? We've all been wondering this for a while, so what are your opinions now?
Oh my. I really liked Ben's two situations. How can you choose who dies? They are all people who deserve to live and should have every chance to live out their life. But, that was a really intense connection.
Anna- I don't think that Big Brother is real, it is just a way to scare people and give an image to the Party. When you see all the posters that say, "BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU" it is definetly intimidating.
Anna- I don't think Big Brother is real, I think he's just more of a symbol. Like Jim Crow for example, not a real guy but had laws and symbolized segregation.
I do not think Big Brother is real. He exists as a face for the party and makes the party's purpose seem like a political movement. However, the party exists for economic reason and not for political reasons.
Answering Ben's question about killing the five or killing the one, I agree with Emily. In this case, the one with ripping out the organs and all of that: To save the five people who just happen to have bad luck by killing the one who happened to have good luck is too much like playing God. We see this case as a chance where the five people's affliction wasn't our choice, so therefore their deaths, as heartless as it sounds, would not be our fault. If we killed the one man, however, that would have been solely our fault- He had no affliction before.The choice of running over five people or running over the one is a different situation. Our thought process is "I'm going to kill someone, and it will be all my fault. So, I will have to choose the one person over the five."In other words, the element of choice plays a role in this situation. If the person dies strictly because we killed them, it's different than if they were going to die anyway. As awful as it sounds, that's how the mind thinks when it's at its most primitive state.Sorry that that was so grim! It was a grim question...
In response to the very fist question from Ben: What do you think reality is?I think that reality is fate. You cannot change it after it has occured. You cannot change the past, no matter what you do. It is set in stone. It happened, and there is no changing that. This is ironic in the book because the party has establish such an efficent way of brainwashing the people into believing that things which have happened, did not happen. Maybe the party members are trying to create an alternate reality in the sense that they do really know what happened, but they design an alternate scenario for everyone else to believe. Just like with the whole constant war sittuation. (This ties into the discussion question from Thursday) The party creates the illusion that the country is always at war, with varying countries at different times, to create the sense that the people are working towards something. They're jobs have possible purpose. A purpose that has to do with something other than what they really mean. I think that all of the party members' jobs are just for the benefit of the government. But the government sort of makes it seem like they might get some sort of personal benefit from doing what they do. I think the government leads the people on to this alternate reality to give them a sense of hope. While this reality is not the true one, it is believed by most of the people of Oceania. So back to the main question: Reality is just what it says: real. It is truth. It is unchangeable. It is unreverseable. While people may try to trick themselves into believing something else, the reality of things still does not change. I think reality is natural. It is not man made. People may try to think otherwise, trying to escape to what they want to believe: to create things to be the way they want them(just as the party tries to do), but reality stays constant.
In response to Hannah's comment: I dont think Big Brother is real.I completely agree. I think the government makes up this facade of 'Big Brother' as a figure for the people to trust. Just as in one of our discussions before, Big Brother may be used as a figrue to give a sense of family. A feeling that there is at least one individual person out there that cares about you: someone who feels you may be worth something. Someone who creates jobs and is working in this 'war' to create peace for you to live comfortably in. Which brings me to the point of the hidden signifigance of the war. In the book, it is stated that the constant war is another way displaying constant peoace---if the people only experience constant war times, they will not know that there is even anything better out there. So, I think Big Brother is just a friendly face to mask all of the selfish-unfriendliness of the government. If the people saw a picture of a selfish evil ruler on all of their posters, they would be a lot less likely to stay loyal to him.
In response to EmilyA's comment: I dont think that a society like this would ever start in ours today.I agree in the sense that people would not let something like the government taking complete control over everything, even thought, slide because they would notice that something was wrong and they would stop it before it got too irrational. The only thing that I wonder about is people tend to not notice that bad things are happening in society when they happen gradually. For example, the poverty level in many countries is gradually rising, but it is not always noticed because it isnt an immediate change: it is something that has been happening for a long time and people put it off to the back of their mind because it isnt anything drastic in their mind because it isnt huge to them because it seems like something that has always been that way (even though poverty is quite a large problem in reality). So, if the government was slightly taking away freedoms every so often, would the people notice? How do we know the government isnt slowly taking away freedoms now? Im just saying that I dont know how slowly the process to get to a society like 1984 would take in our modern times without getting stopped, but I think it could find a way to happen. This is sort of haunting because we dont know what could be happening in our world that we have just been subconciously overlooking all along.
In response to Erin's comment: Do you think Winston will really change, or will he just pretend?This is a tough one. While reading about his sessions with OBrien, it seems like he knows what he stands for, but he cant help but value his life, and I think that is what drives him to learn and accept what OBrien is saying: he is trying to do what he can just to survive. I think this is evident in most people: they end up being selfish of their own needs. Winston knows what he believes and he goes into his sessions with OBrien staing what his opinions such as 2+2=5. However, once he feels that his life may be in jeopardy, he tries to say whatever he can to make OBrien stop hurting him. Im not sure what to think, it is hard to tell what Winston really feels. I think that he knows what he stands for, but just as in society, he might be falling for the governments form of brainwashing.
I'm going back to some of the first few comments on the blog and benh's question: What is reality?""Reality" can be taken many different ways. It can be precieved as a physical thing, the quality of something able to be touched. Or it can be based off one's experience. For example the reality of my life, is not the same as the reality of someone else's life.Yes, emilya, often reality in a moment cannot be changed, but over a period of time I believe that one's reality can change. Winston and Julia were happy going on with thier affair by themselves in secret. However, even though they had continued like that for some time, they were still caught, and Winston's reality changed from a "typical Party member's life" to the cold reality of prison and torture.
Erinl-I believe that O’Brien is playing the "good cop/bad cop" play. One minute he pretends to be Winston's friend, the next he is Winston's biggest torture inflictor. He keeps Winston off balance. I also think that O’Brien is a member of the party set up to catch "ungoodthinkers" and to inflict torture, both physical and mental.In my opinion, Julia really did love Winston, but was merely more fragile and susceptible to torture. This probably came out of the fact that she has always known the rule of the Party, and only the rule of the Party. We already knew that she forgot thins a whole lot easier than Winston did, in the case of being at war with Eurasia or Eastasia. Being almost always completely under the control of the Party, I think, made her more able to be influenced by torture.
In response to Annad's question: Do you all think a society like that of 1984 could actually exist and survive? Do you think we will ever let our society devolve into that state of disarray, and, if we do, do you think it would survive? I believe that yes, our society could end up like 1984. We, as Americans, already have given up so many of our freedoms, what's to keep the government from keeping them. "Let us remember that everything that Hitler did was 'legal', and everything the Hungarian revolutionists did was 'illegal'". As Zachf and Tyc said, we do have a complex government and for ONE MAN to take over would be pretty near impossible, however I do not believe that Big Brother is a literal, single, person. Like Hannahs, Zachf, Madisonm, and others have said, I think that Big Brother is merely symbolic for something bigger, in my opinion, the Inner Party. The only person we really know about who is in the Inner Party, is O’Brien, who is suspicious in his own right.
In response to Erin's comment: Do you think Winston will really change, or will he just pretend?I think that Winston will really change because of what the torture entails. They are shocking him with high voltage, and that alone can have an effect on his mind. Even if he doesn't want to, it would be simple for them to just shock him enough to hurt his memory.I think that 1984's society could not survive. CHOICE and CONSCIENCE keep this from happening. Even if something like Doublethink came into being, people would either ignore it, or revolt against it. I don't think people would stand for constant war either, because it would be extrememly hard, nearly impossible, to overcome the natural intinct of attraction between a man and woman, and a mother's love toward's her kids. The MOTHERS would keep their sons out of war, the MOTHERS would revolt against the government, the MOTHERS would stop a 1984 government from taking place. We cannot underestimate a MOTHER'S love for her kids.
This is going to be a long post, so brace yourself...In response to BenH's first question: Reality is the one thing that can't be changed, not even by the Party. They can distort it so it doesn't look like reality, but there is nothing they can do about what is happening in the present' they can only react to it. I also agree with Lindsay's comment.In response to Zachf's comment: I think that question ties back to two things; the fact that sometimes the fear of torture can be a more powerful weapon then the torture itself, and as Winston said, humans will do anything to make the pain stop. It goes against human (or living beings) nature to invite more pain. In response to Emilyl's question: I think the purpose of the questions was to give Winston the illusion that he had some sort of control. However, the questions didn't tell him anything that he didn't already know (just like Goldstein's book). O'Brien brought his confidence up then promptly crushed it back down, which is just another way in which the Party is wearing down Winston's psyche.In response to Erinl's question of why didn't they just kill him?: They didn't kill him because 1) it is good for the Party's ego to know that they have complete control over him, and it gives them the illusion that they have control over the rest of society and 2) it would be far more humane for them to just kill him. His one wish is for the physical suffering to end, and death is the only true way. In my opinion, that would be his wish, therefore the Party's is opposite. My question off of that is why hasn't Winston considered suicide? I know he was hopeful for the razor in the beginning (was that an O'Brien mind trick?) but he seemed to forget about that.On the topic of would a 1984-like society survive, I tend to agree with Emilya. At least in this country, we would never let it get that far. And as Annad said, we have tasted too many freedoms for us to allow them to be taken away. History has proved that totalitarian can and do exist, but where the Party will eventually fail is with their attempt to completely kill human nature. Human nature is just that: human nature. It will not ever be contained because it is essential to life. Without it, our species would be doomed. Now for some thoughts of my own:I don't think the torture has changed Winston all that much. Yes, it has ruined his pride and turned him into a sack of bones with a confused mind, but even at the end of the chapter, he still had that small glimmer of hope in the past. He knows deep down that the Party is lying, and he will deny that fact to decrease his pain (doublethink, anyone?)That section was deeply disturbing for me. The games that the Party plays with the human mind are unimaginable. I had shivers going up and down my spine for thirty solid pages. I think that section was like a catch-22 in the respect that was inspirational for showing how much humans can endure, yet DISTURBING how cruel one human can be to another. The second part of that definitely overshadowed the first part. Next, I think that torturing Winston has taken a psychological toll on O’Brien. Winston is able to get into his head just like he is able to get into Winston’s. I think the rants that he gave Winston, especially at the end of the chapter, were his way of justifying his lunacy to himself. He calls Winston a lunatic because he can’t come to grips with the fact that he himself is the lunatic. He knows that torture is wrong somewhere down in that black heart (or at least I hope so) and is trying to get Winston to understand that that he has no choice. Now let me explain that… He says that the Party will only become more ruthless and merciless, and that you will either help effect the torture or be dead torturees (I don’t think that is a real word) because I think eventually the Party will run out of victims because they will have purged out all of the members of at least the outer Party because of their paranoia of their power being challenged. Oh boy was that a lot of typing. That has to break the record for the longest comment ever, and I am glad that the record is held by a member of period 5. Cough, cough.
Hey everyone I got sick on Friday and had to leave early. I'm a little confused at the length of comments on this live fishbowl and I also can't find the blog question for this day. I'm just going to wing it here and mostly respond to Kari's big long post. Here goes.Kari,I must disagree with you right off the bat about your perception of reality. Reality changes depending on who you're asking. Some slightly insane person might take for reality that the moon is made of cheese. Just because our sense of reality tells us this is false doesn't mean it isn't still real for that crazy guy. It is such a hard concept to grasp because, as usual, everyone KNOWS they are right. He is absolutely certain that the moon is made of cheese while we are certain it isn't. We personally haven't seen the evidence so what is there to say we're right and he's wrong except what we make reality out to be. So the actual question here is does reality even exist as one single thing? (I don't know if that makes sense to you or not, sorry)Also I agree with your first point to answer Emily's question. Killing Winston when he had not fully surrendered would have been allowing something to go unfixed. Even if that unfixed thing is dead it has the ability of beginning to wear down the inner party. It destroys their sense that EVERYTHING is under their control even if it has no effect on the members of regular society. Winston's total surrender is necessary, not to keep the outer party under control, but to keep the inner party IN control of EVERYTHING. (Again, not sure if that makes any sense)Last but not least, I completely and totally agree with the last thing you said before you went on to thoughts of your own. Human nature can't be squashed. It just isn't possible. No matter how hard someone pushes to make you think you BELONG under the control of another it will always remain that you KNOW something's not right. Look at all types of slavery through the whole history of the world. It never lasts because people realize they have freedoms. Horses or animals on the other hand, are perfectly content to be slaves (you get the point) because there is nothing in them that says, "HEY!! I deserve better." That is why I think the society of 1984 couldn't actually happen.P.S. I missed the whole T-shirt thing on Friday, does anyone know if I got put into a group?
Hey guys, I was mostly involved in the fishbowl, but it looks like you guys had a great discussion on here.Kari--To what you said about Winston's torturing not really changing him, I was thinking the same thing. It changed what he said, but it didn't change his feelings. His love for Julia was an example of that. Winston has proven himself stubborn, and I agree that pain can't change a person's heart. However, it did change his thoughts.We talked in the center about how eventually your thoughts control your heart. So if you tell yourself you hate history, you might eventually start to hate history. Could it be the same with the torture? There was once an old quote that said something like "Watch your words, they become your thoughts, watch your thoughts, they become your character" or something like that. So if Winston agrees out loud that the Party is right, it will eventually influence his thoughts that will influence his heart. Smith brought up a really great point: Appearance Vs. Reality is only temporary, soon one will HAVE to become the other.I know I just said something and then disagreed with myself, but this was a confusing section. It's kinda like Winston viewing O'Brien as both a tormentor and a protector.
Emily, in response to your statement that you think Winston will just pretend he has changed, i disagree. I think that Winston will eventually be so pursuaded to shift his beliefs so that he ends up believing everything that the party states. If 2+2=5, than i think eventually Winston will believe it. How long is Winston going to stay in the Ministry of Love? 1 year, or 30? The party seems to be in such control of the whole pupulace, i'm willing to bet that the party is able to completely control individual minds as well. Julia confessed almost immediately, but she was also along just for the ride (and to get sum) but Winston really truly believes that if he persists he will overcome the party, which is why i think he lasted longer than Julia. But still, Winston will be there forever. No one of the brotherhood knows that he is inside the ministry of love, nor do i think they would try to rescue him. O' Brien' sucked him in so well, making him believe in the brotherhood just to throw him back down and show how powerful the party really is.
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