Thoughts, observations, comments, and concerns regarding our readings and classroom discussions.
posted by annes @ 7:10 AM
Ok I have a question.Is room 101 and torture a rite of passage for people in this society? We see both Winston and Julia eventually released back into the society after their remolidng. Is this common in that society?
Wait! Since Dan's not here, I better take up the slack:Let's get this party started!
Now, as an answer to your question:I think that Room 101 is a rite of passage for a certain type of people, specifically the "rebels." There is no specific rite of passage for the "good" party members- As long as they obey and work, they don't need the rite of passage.
I don't think it's necessarilary a right of passage, as much a way to make the thoughtcriminals of society to forget all of their thoughts and conform to the Party. It was a way to torture him and take away his free thought
I think that Room 101 is the way for the Party to make sure that the people know their place and not question Big Brother again. Of course, that is kind of obvious. :)I have a question to go along with that: "Why do some of the people who rebel get vaporized, and some get released back into society?
I don't think that it is a right of passage but a torture center to snap people back to the reality of their world and that the party has total control.
Emily- I think it is the only way for the society to survive. They will either convert them or kill them I think that, that is the only answer.
I agree with laura. I think it was a way to break out his love for Julia, to take away the last thing he had left.
Yes, I think that in order for the government to be able to feel like they trust the comrades, they put them through room 101. And if they do not confess their support of the party then, the party will have them shot: and therefore vaporized.
I don't see it as a rite of passage. After the people are released they are ostrasized and not accepted into civilian life again.
Laura- I think if they are a lost cause then they don't even try, but before they get vaporized I think that they try to convert them first.
laurab-Well it confused me when winston was asking OBrien question and asked if Big Brother exists like he exists. and the he tells Winston that he does not exist. So i'm confused if he did get "vaporized" from society but didn't actually die.
Thank you , Madison, you answered my question! :)
I'm confused about how Winston thought he was going to die. Why didn't they kill him? Wasn't that the whole plan?
Madisonm- I don't think the party trusts the comrades or even sees them as humans. I think that the party memebers are pawns that the inner party uses to keep themselves on top of the economical pyramid.
Lauraf, that is a good point. What classifies a person as being vaporized? Is it complete disappearance from society? Is it death? Or is it just the realization and found trust in the party and Big Brother?--Personally, I think it would be death.
I think that Room 101 is the ULTIMATE torture, the ULTIMATE fear. As O'Brien said, everyone is individual and is frightened of different things. The COMPLETENESS of Room 101 is what makes it so ideal.
LauraB--I think that it depends on how you respond to torture or "treatment." Winston well and I think O'Brien trusted him.I had another question to go along with that though. Why keep Winston alive? Why give him a job that is just meant to occupy him? Why let him just sit in a bar all day? What is the gov't gaining from this?
I agree with laura that it is just a way to make them conform to the party. They want everybody to be the same so it cant be a right of passage because if they hadnt gone against the party then he wouldnt have to be tortured. This shows how its not a right of passage because everybody who goes with the party did not have to go along with what they were telling him and a right of passage would have to be something that EVERYBODY went through.
erin-O'Brien told him that he kept him from dieing because he was worth it...I don't understand though what makes them decide the difference between criminals that are worth changing and those who are just killed/vaporized
This is not really related to Emily's question, but what do you all think of irony in this book? Is it a predominant theme? For example, wasn't it ironic that Winston ended up in the same shop that he found the three "vaporized" men in from before? What were other instances where irony played a role?
Hannah, I agree. I was just thinking that the party now thinks that because they have had the people confess their support in the party, that they feel they can be let back into society without them revolting or commiting thought crime again.
Erin- They didn't kill him because I don't think it was part of the plan because they told him you better change or you will get shot and becuase you are going to get shot you won't care if you convert to the Party because you are going to die anyway.
Michelle- i agree because they dont just torture a person, but they find what that person is most scared of, creating the perfect torture because its not just a physical pain, but a mental one as well.
I think Winston was not in the highest category of thoughtcriminals. Since he is the lower category he wasn't in the vaporizing category.
Erinl-I think that they didn't kill Winston because they need strong Party members, and by going though the process of torture they think that the person in question (Winston) will be strong.
madison--so do they kill the criminals who won't conform to the Party and what they require and their brainwashing?
laura- I don't understand what their criteria is for who lives and who dies. They must somehow know if that one person is going to change or not. Like they know everything else about the person so maybe they know this as well.
Erin: I think that the Party didn't kill him because if he loves Big Brother, then that will be one less person to worry about not conforming to the rest of society. Winston will also be like an example of how the Party is always right, and not to try and rebel against the Party. Even though I answered this, I still don't quite understand how they decid who will be vaporized, and who will live.
I like what Ben said in the middle. They want to show that the Party WAS right, they don't want any martyrs.
emily-how do you think they classify the degree of thoughtcrime? If you don't think Winston was at a highest category, what would be?
Hannah just said that Winston would want to be dead instead of torture. I think that that is why he loves Big Brother so much in the end, because he spared Winston's life. Even though Big Brother almost killed Winston, he ends up saving his life.
Lauraf, I think so. I think the party kills/vaporizes people when they dont conform to the ways of the party: when they dont give in after the torture or if they dont truly believe or accept what they have learned during the torturings.
laura b. - I hadn't thought of that. He would be an excellent role model for society. But, I think that it is somewhat clear that he is still capable of his own thought. Do you think that he would turn against the party again?
I would personally classify thooughtcriminals basedon what they did. i.e. If someone began recruting for the brothergood, that would a higher thoughtcrime than just saying something in their sleep.
Didn't a part of torture actually KILL A PART of Winston, mentally if not physically?
Do you think that Winston would ever change back to who he was or have they changed him too much?
Madison--Why was Winston so special though? Why did spend so much time and effort (from O'Brien himself!) on his torturing? Do they spend this much time on everyone, give everyone a long chance?
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Emilyl-But which is worse? Being vaporized and die quickly, or being tortured and paired with your worse fear for an unknown amount of time?
erin--I don't think he would ever rebel against the Party again because they brainwashed him sooo much and now he admits that he TRULY loves Big Brother
Laura- I think that the highest degree of thoughtcrime would be actual organized rebellion. People like the three Winston met (I can't remember their names at the moment) actually led rebellions. This, therefore, would put them in a higher "category" than Winston. The highest "category," I assume, would be the category that Goldstein is in.
hannah--I think that it is better to die/vaporized because even if you survive, you can't think for yourself and are completely controlled by the Party/Big Brother
Phair- That is so true they did kill part of him mentally.
lauraf-I agree. I think the party did not show Winston mercy by letting him live or not vaporizing him.
Michelle- Yes, the torture killed the emotional and spiritual side of Winston, which is exactly what it was meant to do. They set out to make him obey by breaking his spirit, and that's what they did.
Maria- I was wondering the same thing while reading. They must have seen something that would change Winston and then put so much effort into changing him. But I don't think that they put as much effort into everyone. It is probably based on how badly they are convicted of thoughtcrime if you know what I am saying.
Laura to expand on what I said earlier~It is kind of like our justice system. There are misdemeanors and felonies. I think that Winston commited a "misdemeanor" thoughtcrime.
Maria, I think that there really isnt any thing to particular about Winston that causes him to receive so much attention, and torture. I think that based on how much thought Winston had put into everything and how severely against the party he was caused them, the party really wanted to make sure that they got through. They didnt want to let him back into society without making sure that he was 'sane' in their eyes. I think that there are probably others like Winston that receive just as much attention as him. (ie. the other people who have been part of the 'brotherhood' that OBrien says exists when he gives Winston the book. I am sure that other people who have read the book also received as much attention and torture as Winston.)
Erin: I think that Winston wouldn't rebel against the Party again. He knows what will be done to him if he does. Of course, you have to think of all the people in history who have gone up against the higher ups in society,and succeeded in thier revolutions. If Winston tries to rebel against the Party again, do you think he could start a revolution and gather up the proles behind him and take over the Party? Just a thought.
erin--do you think OBrien took so much effort to torture, but save Winston is because when Winston met obrien in his house, he saw the passion and extent that Winston would go for what he believed in? that O'brien saw that Winston could become someone with a great passion for the Party and working for Big Brother
Thanks Erin, good thought!I had another question. What about the Brotherhood? Is it just something they use to trap everyone? Or is it something they just made up for Winston?
laurab--I don't think that Winston, even if he did lead a rebellion, could use the proles, because it seems that they don't care enough about bringing down the Party to join in a revolution and potentially disrupt their freedom
Maria--I think that the Brotherhood is probably a sort of trap. I think this because everyone who disagrees with the party's ideas probably is searchin for someone who shares the same ideas as they do. So, a Brotherhood where everyone is against Big Brother would attract many people who have been against Big Brother and it would serve as an excellent trap.
Shelby- My answer to your question is a lot like my answer to Michelle's. No, Winston will never revert back to the degree of rebellion that he was at before. However, I believe that there is still a glimmer of unorthodoxy in his heart- I truly don't think the Party could get rid of that original, deep spark. They can cover it up with habits and brainwashing, but they can't truly destroy it. In the end we keep up hope that they can't completely eradicate all of Winston's instincts. That's the one hope we can still hang on to at the end of this book...
laurab- i dont think that the proles would go against be broether because as i think O'Brien said, they would never go along with an organized rebellion. They are not aware of their situation enough to rebel against the Party. THey dont really realized how bad "bad" they have it or even how they compare to actaul party members.
So, we are back to the idea of "killing". Killing people, physically and mentally, and the killing of ideas. What is the significance of killing-anything-in 1984? I'm a little lost as to what the Party's goal is in killing various things.
Laura- I think that he might sill come back and rebel against the party. He lived through the first brainwashing and I think he might find it in himself to try again. It's a small possibility..but if he did I think it could possibly be huge.
I didn't think about that, Laura. Good point. That seems pretty obvious , know that I think about it.:)
MariaK- good question! I think it is a trap used for everyone because there was a lot of talk about it when Goldstein was talking in the minutes of Hate. It seemed as though many people knew it existed. I don't think they just used it for Winston...
This is adding on to Maria's question:Is Emmanuel Goldstein a real person or is he a symbol like Big Brother?
Madison--That's what I thought too, but didn't Winston originally hear of it from his grandpa? Do you think maybe that once the Brotherhood did exist?
Maria- I think that it is just a way to trap unfaithful party members and that there may not even be such a thing. What if everybody who claims to be a member of the Brotherhood was actually just a Party member who had no problem with the government. Maybe they are just trying to catch all of these unloyal people.
mphair... The party likes to kill things and people because it gives them Power. It is all about power for them.
Lauraf- I don't think O'Brien was trying to save Winston. I believe that O'Brien betrayed Winston and tricked him into trusting him. O'Brien appealed to Winston because Winston trusted him, but that doesn't mean O'Brien was trustworthy. Winston chose to trust O'Brien and he percieved him as a good guy, but I don't think that O'Brien was on Winston's side.
Annad-I think that Goldsein was once a person, but was created to become bigger than life.
Anna--I think that Goldstein is just a symbol to show everyone why NOT to rebel against the Party. I don't think he really existed because they didn't want him to seem like a regular human.
Michelle- Killing is the way the Party gets its power. If not physically killing its enemies, it kills any and all free thought that may exist throughout the society.
Anna~I think Goldstein is something created by the party. He is a necessary part of this government. Without it there is no to direct their anger at.
anna- i think that he is just like big brother, he is only a way to either pull people closer to the party or to drive them away, only to catch them at their own game.
Well, I tihnk that at this point, Goldstein is not real, He is just a face of opposition because it is needed. I mean this book that he wrote, we know O'Brien actually wrote.
good point emilya--even O'Brien said.. they do it all for power, not for the good of the people or anything else but power for themselves.
emilyl-so is the Brotherhood created too?
Lindsey--Good thought. I think that if Goldstein existed, then the Brotherhood really existed, they each are built off each other.
To answer Maria and Anna's question, I think that we may never know whether Big Brother and Goldstein are real people or not. The Party makes up so many things, the people don't know who is real and who isn't. Like Winston said, if the Party says that there is Big Brother, then I say that there is a Big Brother.
Emilya- I agree that the party bases all of their actions on the need for power.
Oh I did the HTML tags the wrong way! Sorry. That was how you do them on another website...I agree with both Maria and Michelle.I believe that Goldstein may at one time have existed, but he was soon turned into more of a symbol than anything. We can see this in that O'Brien wrote part of the book.
I think that the brotherhood probably was created to attract rebels. So people like Winston and Julia would go and look for something that wasn't really there and then the Party could trap them.
Emilya and Annad-Thanks! Then it goes back to the Power issue...and power hungriness.
laurab--but isn't that what the Party's purpose is? to have society believe WHATEVER they say, even though it is mostly false?
I shall enter this newfound conversation with a question: why is it significant that Orwell kept saying Jules looked at Winny with looks of dislike? I know that Winny says that betraying someone changes your feelings toward them, but if he genuinely loved her before his experience at Minitrue, wouldn't they at least feel a little compassionate/loving toward each other?
Maddy- That is a great idea. I was wondering if the brotherhood was real. Do they just have the to attract rebels?
Maddy~ I completely agree with you about the Brotherhood. I think it was created by the Party to exercise their power.
Maddyg- I agree. I don't think anyone is trustworthy in this society. Winston and Julia were lucky to find each other, but I don't think that the Brotherhood exists to rebel against the party if it exists at all.
Here we go... This is going to be another extremely long post.In response to Emily's question about room 101 being a right of passage, I think it is kind of a last resort by the party in order to break those who are the strongest. I think they would only go through the trouble of setting the room up just for one person for those who they truly deemed "worthy". I think it was like a security blanket for them in the sense that after all of the other torture, room 101 is the piece of straw that breaks their spirit completely.In response to Laura's question about why they kill some and not others, I think it is a matter of balance. If they killed all of the "smart" people, then the society wouldn't be able to function. If the killed all of the people of lesser intelligence, then that could create a possible breeding pot of either rebellion or ideas would leave a shortage of people willing to do the "grunt" work.In response to Maria's question about what the government gains from keeping Winston alive, I think that it is one last way of making his life miserable. It could be argued that Winston might have been better off dead than forced to live in the condition that he was in. I also think it was a way of denying him the thing he wanted the most. He wanted to die with a rebellious thought in his head, and by not killing him, he couldn't do that.I agree with Maria's thought about the fact that the party wants to prove that they are right rather than creating martyrs. They are often viewed as heroes, which is exactly what the Party doesn't want. People stand behind heroes, which could cause a rebellion. I also agree with Erin's idea about Winston being a good role model for society. It shows them that even a thoughtcriminal can be rehibillitated, however it also makes him into a poster-child for the power of the Party. It tells them "Look what they can do to the human mind, and they could do it to you also".Hannah asked whether you would rather be vaporized or go through the torture and come out alive. I personally would choose to just be vaporized and get it over with than suffer for months on end. Both things result in some sort of death anyway. Vaporization causes physical death, and torture on that scale causes psychological death, which for me would be worse.Maria brought up the issue of the Brotherhood. I personally think that either the Brotherhood really exists (although it has probably been infiltrated by the Party) or it is completely a mechanism of the Party to catch thoughtcriminals. It is hard to say which one it is though, considering there is not a whole lot of evidence that supports either side.While I was reading, the issue of the varicose ulser kept standing out to me. I think that the ulcer represents human nature. It is always there, and can cause some things that are not favored (sex drive for the Party and itchiness/pain for Winston). It is also always there, and although it can be soothed, it never really goes away.I also decided that this book didn't have a happy ending. Although Winston was "happy" at the end, his statement at the end of the book shows that the party won. They turned Winston against himself. How depressing.
We discussed somewhat last fishbowl about the government keeping Winston alive. It's a good question. After O'Brien's shtick about power in the last section, it seems clear to me that the Party is desperate for any situation in which they get to exert some sort of control over helpless people, as that keeps their society running.The existence of the Brotherhood is another quandary. I'm a bit of a sceptic due to O'Brien's somewhat vague explanation of the organization as well as the whole "I'm a Party member pretending to be on your side" thing.Big Brother and Goldstein, too, are hard to decipher. Again, I'm made dubious by the lack of explanation and the fact that no one in the novel seemed to have seen them in person.Kari, as for the book having a happy ending, I'm going to have to play devil's advocate and say that we really can't judge. In fact, doesn't it explicitly state that Winston had won "the battle over himself?" All through the book the Party is portrayed as this looming monster that is an absolute evil. However, we never really see the Party's side of the story, do we? Just something to think about.One mildly irrational thought I had while reading is what a Party member would do in Room 101 if they shared a deathly fear with a "patient." Or maybe they all the same fear: rebels? The fact that many of the fears are likely incredibly dangerous makes me think that the workers of Room 101 are among the Party's most expendable and frequently replaced.
I still, like Tom, don't think that Big Brother and Goldstein actually extist. I think that all of the stuff about them is fabricated in order to control the people. Also, Goldstein is fabricated in order find those people who have hope in order to be able to find their fears and find enough about them to fuel the torture they use in room 101. Tom's mildly irrational thought is also interesting and brings me to this question. Winston knows his interrogator. Is it like that for everyone? Does everyone have a personal connection to the person "makes them sane." If so that would make a huge difference in whether or not they face the same fears. It really was an interesting idea Tom though not really irrational.
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