Thoughts, observations, comments, and concerns regarding our readings and classroom discussions.
posted by annes @ 9:02 AM
Let's get this party started!
I think it means that he cannot understand why someone would be so evil that they would seize control over the entire population and create a world devoid of individuality or equality. He hates life and can't imagine why (if the was a better life before this age) someone would want to take it away.
I would agree with what Maddy just said. Winston understands how it happened but doesn't get why it was allowed tohappen.
What do you guys think the whole coral in the glass weight symbolized?
The quote could be referring the fact that none of the society is made to understand why something happens, but rather only that it did happen. The true motives of the Party and the society as a whole are not widely known, nor are other basic needs for the people (such as the random chocolate rations).
I think the HOW is what Ben said but I also think that it shows a sign that Winston is beginning to remember his past...at least what happened, but not WHY it happened or the outcome, or why the Party came to be so powerful.
Why doesn't the government watch the proles more closely than they do? If Winston is smart enough to realize that they could be a grave threat to the stability of the government, why don't they? They have obviously thought of everything else, why haven't the cracked down on the proles? Are they not worthy of watching?
Ok question: like Maria said, is there something more to Winston and (girl)'s relationship than just love? It seems that she is spying on him or has bigger motives.
Dan- How does anyone know that Big Brother is evil? If they beleive everything The Party tells them, then how can anyone in the party be considered evil?
I think Winston understands how the society got the way it is but he does not understand why it got to be that way. I don't think he understands why nobody stopped the party from practically controlling everything the citizens did.
Kari, I think they underestimate the proles and think that they're just stupid poor people who are too dumb to join the absolute glory that composes the Party. They're so self-contained they're not seen as a threat.
I think the Party doesn't watch the proles as closely because they know just like Wisnton said that they do not think of rebellion and that they and animals are free. This is only because they do not use their freedom to rebel against the Party.
I think the coral is representative of life. It is delicate, and in their society, true life is hard to find, just like the coral.
I believe that the whole how/why idea mostly points to the fact that Ingsoc has never been interested in giving the "why" for the things it does, it is more interested in simply making its people do it. The people know HOW to do the things they do, but they don't know WHY they do them.
Kenna--Good question. I think it symbolizes how something so beautiful was dying off. Coral reefs are scarce now, and I think that maybe in a way, the author is showing how there are ways to perserve the beautiful things, even if they don't exist anymore.
Dan- I think that she may just be using him, but I am not sure what it would be for.
I thought it was kinda weird that out of know where this girl that he has never talked to in his life gives him a note that is like... I love you. Kinda random right?
Kenna: I think that the cora-glass weight is there to symbolize the destruction of the past life. It is a remnant of a better time which no one believes. No one wanted to buy it because they think that it is not important. It is sad that the antique shop doesn't get much business. It's like people have lost hope of a better future and have no desire or need to have remnants of the past. They find no importance in the past, only in the present.
Kari I think that the government doesnt watch the proles because they dont think that they are that big of a threat. Big Brother may think that because these porles are lesser people, they do not have the capacity to rise up, which also may be what they think. They may not know that they have the ability do this.
hannah-obviously there are people in the party that do not listen to everything that the party tells them. i know that the book creates that opinion, but i don't think that everyone listens to what the party sais. Where did you get the impression that absolutely everyone listens to what the party sais?
Dan, (In response to your first comment)I agree that it must take a huge amount of stirred emotion to drive someone like Big Brother and his party to try to(and succeed in) controlling all of society, and brainwashing them in a sense to do everything as they say. This has been a hard idea for me to grasp throughout reading this book. I still do not understand what could drive Big Brother, or anyone for that matter, to want to control a whole society. In my own personal opinion, I would not find any pleasure in controlling all of a whole society. I dont know what I would do with that insane amount of power. I do not see what sort of benefit whole derive from having that sort of control over people. I am more of a person who benefits from interacting with people, instead of controlling them.
I think dan is right that the coral paper weight symbolizes what life used to be like. Its forgotten and not cared about, much like the past and the truth.
maria-- thanks!! I would gave to agree with that, I also thought that maybe it symbolized a diamond in the rough, like the old man in the shop was for Winston. The man gave him information that his mind had been begging for, the man was that information, like the water to quench his thirst for England's past.
Hannah: many people do not think that BB is evil because they have not been taught that. I was more specifically talking about Winston. He, for some reason, sees through the lies of the party and he knows deep down somewhere in his heart that is very dark and never sees any light that the Party is out to destroy free thinkers, free enterprise, free expression, and everything else that is free. To answer your question, I was mostly talking about Winston. He for sure thinks that the party is evil.
Kenna- I thought it was interesting that a piece of coral was used in this situation. It's an interesting reference to the beauty of nature and life itself. To Winston it represents everything Ingsoc is not- beautiful, colorful and full of life.
Riley--That's true, not everyone listens. But those who don't are "done away with," if you catch my drift. People express their thoughts in physical ways as Winston has surmised, such as talking in their sleep or a tic.
Maybe the coral weight represents the way life use to be. The coral represents life before the party, and the glass covers the old life but does not conceal it. This similar to the party and how it tries to hide history, but like Winston says, they cannot completely detroy it.
Madison: I agree completely. This might just be me, but I think that he (or it) is distracted from the true meaning of life. Their leaders are focused on complete power. Bettering their society is a secondary objective.
Most of the population is made up of the proles and yet they show no sign of trying to rebel against The Party. Why is this?
I agree Erin, the note was pretty random. I guess that's why she appeared everywhere Winston went and he felt her watching him. My question is, how did he hold off from talking to her that long? From experience, I got a note like that once and it would have been hard for me not to say anything. How did WInston hold off?
Anna: I agree with you about the fact that the coral is there being interesting. It's like the people don't care about beauty in nature unless it's encouraged by the Party. If you really think about it, the English language is a beautiful thing in itself and the fact that the Party is trying to instate a whole different language is terryfying.
Ty- I think the proles are afraid to rebel and they are preoccupied with their own lives. I think it woud be hard for a prole to find someone else who wanted to rebel.
This is changing the subject a bit, but has anyone else noticed the reference to Winston's body acting on its own? He says that his feet took him to the shop without his willing so and that his hands picked up the coral paperweight also without his will. Does this remind anyone else of another certain book that we've read?
That's a good point, Kari. A society that does not progress, is stagnant, is surely on a road to destruction. The Party is completely obsessed with covering their tracks because they leave so many loopholes and employs people by the millions to do so, because they need a clean record to keep their power. All the rules and restrictions make free thought disappear--and all the inventions, ideas and everything else go with it.
daniel--back to your question about the dark-haired girl, do you think that she is a good guy or a bad guy? She's making Winston think that she is on his side, but after her strict military-like leadership in where they would meet, do you think she could be an undercover bad guy?
The coral also represents something that is so rare that shouldn't be. If everyone had a beautiful coral paperweight, no one would care. If everyone in society could think freely, no one would care that they were opposing B.B.
ty-the book gives the impression that the people in this society have been in the society since birth. When someone is raised in a bad environment, they do not know anything different, why would this be any different? The people are raised believe that the party is in total control, and therefore they have no chance to learn anything different and so try to fit in with total obedience.
I agree with zach. They really only care about their own lives, which is why they are so obsessed with the lottery: they want money so they can be better off. Also, I don't think that proles have the attention span to organize something like this by themselves. From the scene with the old man, it seems like they remember things that are unimportant and can get distracted by a comment that sparks something in their obsolete memory.
Zach, I think that Winston held off talking to the dark-haired girl because he thought that she was from the thought police. For example, when he saw her outside the junk shop, Winston was thinking about bashing her head with a cobblestone.
Why are the proles afraid to rebel? Are they even afraid, or are they just not intelligent enough to rebel? Why does the Party not fear the proles? If the proles make up 80 or so % of the poplation, why does the party disregard them as a threat?
anna--Nice! I didn't notice that at first. It ties back to Fahrenheit 451 when Montag's hands seem to act on their own.
Kari--I agree with what you said concerning my thought. So, if Big Brother is an actual person, what sort of event in his life could cause him to act out in this way to want to control everything.And if Big Brother isnt an actual person, if he is more of a group of controlling people/leaders, why would they be doing all of this? Could they have been striving to achieve something? What? And have they achieved it this far in the story?
When Winston found the coral, it was amongst just mounds of old junk, but it is really beautiful. I think that this represents how Winston was searching so long for something good and a way out of this life and he finally found it, but just having it in his pocket is risking his life. I think that this represents the start of Winston's sort of suicide mission.
rsinn-- I would have to disagree. They know that the proles exist, and aren't the proles different, shouldn't just knowing of the proles existance make them think twice about total obedience.
Maria: I think it is hard to tell at this point which side (girl) is on. It seems that she is trying to corner him and do something party-is to him, but at the same time it seems that she is genuinely in love with him. So I'm not sure which side she's on.
Zach-I think that he held off talk to her out of complete fear. He wasn't sure if she was stting a trap or what was going on.
Ty- I think the proles are not interested in rebelling because they seem to be fairly satisfied with their lives as they are. The proles are portrayed as being simple-minded and superficial. Winston notes that he is amazed at their capacity to memorize lottery numbers and statistics. I think that the proles need to be a little bit more interested in the bigger meaning than in the small, superficial things that they seem to be so absorbed in.
The proles, in my opinion, are like children. They are concerned with all the wrong things because they cannot and will not see the big picture.
Anna, I agree that the Proles have their heads filled with useless information, but Winston says that if the proles set their minds to it, they could overtake the party overnight.
Kenna--I agree with what you said about the paper weight: Things are only rare or desireable when they are, in reality rare. Just like you said, if everyone had a beautiful valuable paperweight, no one would want one, it would just be common.That makes me wonder if that is what Big Brother is trying to accomplish: Trying to make everyone equal(or to believe that they are) so they do not feel like they are missing out on anything or that they need to try to achieve anything. Maybe it is a strategy to keep the society from revolting. I dont know...just a thought.
Maddy- i love the connection you made that the coral represents his suicide mission because that is exactly what it is doing. It is showing how somethign that is so beautiful and something that he wants so much can also be his biggest mistake.
Kenna-who's "they" that is looking at the proles? the people in the party? most of them probably think that they are above the proles, the "commonfolk" the "poor" people. I don't think that the people in the party like Winston would want to be like the proles.
anna--Do the proles care though? The Party don't seem anything to them and they might think that life can't get any better, so do you think that they would want to be more interested in someone that doesn't care about them?
Ty- I forgot about that. I agree that they could do it if they set their minds to it, particularly because they are 85% of the population.
If I had to analyze Big Brother's character, (I'm sorry that this will sound like Dr. Phil) I would think that he had little control over his life as a child. He had no power in whatever situation he came from. (This is assuming that there actually is a Big Brother). If he is not a real person, more likely a group of people, I think they have the problem that all people in power experience. THey get a taste of power and they just like more. Power is like potato chips; after you eat one you just need to keep eating more.As for the idea of progress, I don't see progress, rather I see change. No one can tell whether life was better of worse before the revolution. Life might not necessarily worse, but it might not be better either.
madisonm-- amazing point!! It would make so much sense. That is once again like a child, if you make them think they all have the same amount of a certain thing, they stay content and under control.
Madison: i like what you said about the Party making everyone equal so they won't feel that they're missing out. It makes sense that they would do this. If you want to have control over people, give them all what they want so they don't dispute.
I agree with Dan on how it is too early to tell which side the dark haired girl is on, she's obviously concerned about her well being because she is meeting Winston in crowded places. I think we can learn more about her when Winston meets her after those directions she gave him. I wonder what is going to happen with Winston and the girl when they meet, will they meet in public or alone?
Anna- I don't think the proles care that much because nothing is bothering them and they are just happy as they are. Whould you be interested in someone that doesn't care about you?
Kenna--nice analogy! So how could Winston organize a huge group of children to overthrow a gov't they know nothing about? What do you think will happen?
That's also a good point, Maria. I don't think they're involved with Ingsoc at all. The only way I think they would become involved is if one of the people from the Brotherhood started recruiting them.
rsinn-- I didn't say they would want to be like them, I am saying that the people that have been raised in the party are not so sheltered as to think that their lifestyle is the only one in existance.
Kenna and Dan--yes, that is what I was thinking(Im glad that my comment ended up making sense)! I think that by making trying to make everyone feel equal, they start to believe that they have everything that they could ever have, and they do not need to work towards everything else.This also seems like it could be tied back to communism, because everything is supposed to be divided equally among all the people.
Zach: i too question what will happen when they meet. Is the place that (girl) told him to go to out of range of telescreens? It seems that their meeting point is in the country, but is there a such thing as "the country" in Airstrip One?
But in the minds of most people, because they have been constantly bombarded with brainwashing propaganda, do not recognize that change.
maria-- it is exactly like Hitler and his followers, they were all children and youth: easily manipulated. All someone who wanted the proles to riot and cause an uprising, would be to tell them exactly what they want to hear, and make them promises that you make them think you will intend to keep.
tom; but what about the people like winston. the people who do remember, or at least think they remember. How do they fit into the equation?
Kenna: Hitler's followers weren't all kids, but I do agree that kids are easier to manipulate.
Why are the proles so out of the loop? They make up most of the population but they have no idea what's going on in their society and they can do something to change that.
After reading this portion of the book, I noticed that the proles live a life that is similar to ours. In some ways, I found the life of the proles to be happier than those of the Party.
Kenna, while we're on the subject of Hitler- Isn't it an interesting reference to the youth spies in relation to Hitler's youth?
dan-- anyone is easy to manipulate if you tell them what they want to hear, and make them believe what your saying.
I think that when the two meet that it was was well planed out so that no one will know what is going on. I think that there has to be a place where there is no telescreens. There arn't any telescreens where the proles live...
anna-- exactly!!! You start from the bottom and work your way up.
Lindsey, in most cases, those people are killed off due to thought/facecrimes. I imagine it's rare for someone to survive for as long as Winston has.
I have a question. When Winston bought the coral, he spent four dollars. If 1984 is set in London, how come the dollar is the currency?
Zachf-How do we know that the proles are unaware of the party? W Maybe they are somewhat aware of the Party's action, but why should they do anything to change the party? How will life change for them?
Kenna--Maybe the people that Winston works with are they same as the proles. They don't realize what really is happening, and if they do, they are are too scared to change it. To us, they seem really easily manipulated!
I had the same question Ty. Judging from the map, since they are such a big country I think they came up with some form of universal currency.
Ty: I agree. And wasn't the guy behind the counter talking about how things used to cost a lot of pounds, which are British currency?
Ty, I think Oceania is not really related at all to modern day Britain in this book. Destroying Britain's characteristic currency was probably just another way to eliminate history as it was.
Do you guys think that they will be able to take over, or would even have the thought to take over?
ty--Good question! I was also wondering if 4 dollars was a lot or a little. Right now, it doesn't seem too much, but their dollar values might be different. Do you think that Big Brother and the Party came from the US?
maria-- brilliant!! Everyone in 1984 is being manipulated in some way. Even Big Brother, if he exists, is being manipulated into thinking that he is supreme, and that in the end, no one will oppose him.
Good question Ty- I have noticed that this society is similar to historic European societies, such as Nazi Germany, but in some ways, I think Orwell is talking about America as well. Maybe the dollar is a hint of this connection.
Anna- That is so true it seems like a way to get rid of history.
Hannah- I look at the proles like the blacks in the civil rights movement in the 60's. They could have taken a back seat and been segregated but they rose up and strived for equality.
kenna-Yikes! So is that what the party feeds on?
kenna-your right, they do know that other ways of life exist. But i'm saying that they most likely think that they are above the proles who are the commonfolk. They do no live as proles do, they would not know that that lifestyle would be better than theirs, free from big brother. So why would they think that proles have a lifestyle free from big brother, when they think that he is the absolute ruler.
Maria- I think the different countries (US/ Britain) are sort of a nonissue in their society. They are all just part of Oceania.
Ok I had to present today, so I was unable to live blog so I will add my comments now. MariaK said"ty--Good question! I was also wondering if 4 dollars was a lot or a little. Right now, it doesn't seem too much, but their dollar values might be different. Do you think that Big Brother and the Party came from the US?" Maria, I think 4 dollars is a lot because we have no evidence of Winston every being paid. He may have been saving that money for a long time. Yes, I do think Big Brother and the party came from the US. We were talking about Orwell being a Marxist, and the US is the poster child for capitalism. If they really in a Marxist society then it would make sense that Big Brother came from the United States because Marxism is the end of capitalism. Having a leader that was once a capitalist would add irony to the book. ZachF said Hannah- I look at the proles like the blacks in the civil rights movement in the 60's. They could have taken a back seat and been segregated but they rose up and strived for equality. I totally agree with this. This part of why I think the proles may eventually revolt. All the party members treat them like dogs. I think they may just get fed up and start a revolution. KennaD saidmaria-- brilliant!! Everyone in 1984 is being manipulated in some way. Even Big Brother, if he exists, is being manipulated into thinking that he is supreme, and that in the end, no one will oppose him. Wow, I never thought of it this way! The more I think about it, though the more I realize many leaders are like this. Hitler, for one, thought he was the greatest person alive. Maybe he was manipulated into thinking so.Anna D saidTy- I think the proles are not interested in rebelling because they seem to be fairly satisfied with their lives as they are. The proles are portrayed as being simple-minded and superficial. Winston notes that he is amazed at their capacity to memorize lottery numbers and statistics. I think that the proles need to be a little bit more interested in the bigger meaning than in the small, superficial things that they seem to be so absorbed in. Your idea reminded me of 451. All of the people in 451 go to school learn useless information. They do not go to school to actually learn. Lastly, I do not think anybody mentioned this but I wanted to touch on the fact that the old man in the pub seems unable to compare the current situation to the past. We discussed this in my group’s pre-presentation meeting. To me his inability to compare the two things shows how much of the proles’memories have been erased. They can remember the past, but are unable to say whether it is better or worse than the current situation.
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