Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Period 5 Discussion Continues Over Pages 167-224

Let the discussion continue!! Here are some questions to ponder:

Would you rather be a party member or a prole? (Living Conditions vs. Freedom)
Would society as it stands in the book be able to function without war?
Is it possible for the Brotherhood to exist? How would they get around the prying eyes of the party?
Who do you think Winston can trust? Who shouldn't he trust?
Could Winston and Julia really make a difference in bringing down the party?

These questions tie back to the Fishbowl:

How long do you think the telescreen was present in the room? If it had been there long, why didn't the Party arrest Julia and Winston earlier, rather than waiting for multiple months?

Do you think the Mr. Charrington that Winston saw when he was being arrested was the 'real' Mr. Charrington?


Blogger Aylar said...

WOW!!!! First to comment this is truly an astronomical moment! Ok well I think that THe party did not arrest Julia and Winston from the beginning of their rebellion because how would they effectively torture them that way? The party needed time to study their individual thoughts, fears, and yes their strengths too. How could the party rehabilitate or kill them with any relish if they only beat them the same way that they beat every other prisoner that ever passed through the Ministry if Love. As morbid as it is, the party smells fears and feeds on it. The government is no better then running a country with a serial killer in command. They prey on the weak, and the strong, those that know the truth, and those that have been acuced of knowing the truth. ALL can and probably will be enemies of the party at one point or another. It all is rather confusing honestly. Julia, Winston and so many others got in trouble for laws that don't exist, sort of, well..... only because the party doesn't like it. It is very hard to do anything right in this society, just as Winston sees. He confesses to things that he really never did. And sadly the party wants it that way.

Thu Apr 19, 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger TomR said...

I think Goldstein's book explains clearly that society can only function with absolute war or absolute piece, because both allow each country to essentially be its own little world outside of the rest of humanity (although war is a lot more complicated to explain).

The Brotherhood is more symbolic, in my mind, it's not a real organization, but rather a philosophy. Winston got away with his diary at the beginning because he found a spot where the telescreens could not find him, and I expect that there are other, albeit few in number, ways to get around the party.

Winston and Julia cannot make a difference in bringing down the Party because, simply, everyone is united against them. As much as those commercials would like you to believe, a couple of brats like Winston and Julia can't do anything because they're too busy wallowing in self-pity and complaining about their situation to do anything productive.

As for the Party vs. prole debate, I really can't say I'd like to be either. Honestly, both groups are appallingly ignorant, but it seems that the proles are, as a whole, the happier people.

Thu Apr 19, 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger Lane C. said...

Whoa!! lots of questions. I am going to choose the question about The Brotherhood. I think that it is quite possible for the Brotherhood to exist but NOT for it to get around the prying eyes of the party. It would seem that if the Brotherhood actually exists it is, at least parcially, under the control of the party. At least, the party allows it to exist based on its ability to root out "unsatisfactory" members of Oceanic society. Therefore, its existence is actually a part of the thought police and not an actual rebellion whether members are aware of the fact or not. In that line of thought, one must conclude that no, Julia and Winston's participation would do no good in the actual rebellion because the "high" of the society hold such control that no such rebellion is possible at all.

Thu Apr 19, 09:50:00 PM  
Blogger BenH said...

I think the brotherhood is essentially a rumor. I think the party has been so carefully set up as to make that scale of collaboration impossible, and so far it seems successful.

Would society be able to function without war? I think the answer is no. Whoever wrote the book said it right: to keep the standard of living low, you must use up goods. And what a better way to do it than war? You could also do something like feign inefficiency, but war consumes huge quantities of goods, and gives people a fighting spirit.

I think we have seen proof that Winston can trust no one. Everyone around him but Julia has betrayed him. He obviously was a fool to trust them in the first place, and now it has come back to bite him in the butt.

I don't think they could make a difference because they are all alone, and even the two of them could not defeat the indoctrination and surveillance of the party. We have already seen their defeat, essentially. I doubt they would have been too effective even if they had not been arrested, because they do not have a position of influence.

Thu Apr 19, 09:50:00 PM  
Blogger TyC said...

I think that if I had to choose between being a Party member or a Prole, I would be a Prole. Although they are obviously oblivious to what is going on inside Oceana's government, they seem much happier. There is likely no chance that the Brotherhood even exists, so I would rather live a somewhat happy life and not know about what my government is doing to me than have to go through life knowing that the Party is corrupt yet I can do nothing about it.

Thu Apr 19, 10:33:00 PM  
Blogger danh said...

I'll answer the last two questions. As I said in the fishbowl, I think that the reason Mr. Charrington didn't turn Winny and Jules in sooner and/or they weren't confronted by the telescreen is because the Party wanted them to be demoralized. Once they got the book from O'Brien, they were most likely feeling good about themselves and that they had accomplished something. The worst time to fall is when you are at your best. The Party knew that if Winny and Jules had obtained the book and where therefore confident in their abilities, then taking them out directly after this would kill their spirit and they wouldn't have the heart to fight back. As seen at the end of the reading, Winny didn't even think of trying to escape the building before it was too late. Also, as many people said during the fishbowl, the Party and/or Charrington probably wanted to wait until they were sure that the crimes Winny and Jules were committing were of dire importance.

And for the last question: I think that it is about 99.9% definite that the Mr. Charrington that Winny saw was the Mr. Charrington, the one who sold him his journal, the paperweight, and let him rent the room above his shop. This depends, though, on the skill of plastic surgeons or latex technology at the time. It said that Mr. Charrington no longer had wrinkles, seemed bigger, his hair was black, his nose was different, in some way that I can't remember, etc. If plastic surgeons during this book were skilled, then it would be possible to greatly alter Charrington's appearance so that he looked like an older man. And hair dye is obviously easy to do. Also, Charrington could have just slouched when Winny and Jules were around to give the appearance of the elderly and so that he looked taller and more imposing when his true alliance was finally revealed. So yes, I think that the Mr. Charrington Winny saw was most definitely the Mr. Charrington.

Thu Apr 19, 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger hannahs said...

If I had to choose, I would much rather be a prole. Although they are regarded as animals, the life of a prole seems much happier because it is less restricted than the life of a party member. Also, I don't believe that members of the party are living life. They exist only as pawns for the Inner Party. Finally, everyone leaves the proles alone for the most part. I would prefer to be left alone in poverty than be apart of the Party and be watched by telescreens and have to drink and eat nasty food.

I do not believe the society would be able to function without war. War creates fear and causes people to unite around a common enemy. Also, in a state of war, a government is able to stretch their power with the defense that greater power is necessary during war. In the U.S. of A, for instance, the president is able to suspend certain rights or impose laws that compromise our freedom (Patriot Act anyone?) using the explination that in a time of war certain freedoms must be taken away to keep the peace. During the Civil War, for example, Lincoln suspended the people's right to Habeus Corpas, and although people were unhappy he was allowed to do it.

I don't think the Brotherhood exists because the Party has too many restraints on the citizens of Oceania for any sort of movement to exist. Furthermore, it is very clear that any sort of rebellion (sometimes not even that) is squashed quickly and effectively.

I don't think Winston can trust anyone besides Julia. In a society where your own children can turn you into the police, there is no one you can trust. Also, I think Winston should not have talked to O'Brien because even if he were in the Brotherhood, he could easily betray Winston to save himself. Also, because he is in a high position, he could turn Winston in without incriminating himself.

Winston and Julia have no chance of bringing down the party. O'Brien said that if Julia and Winston join the Brotherhood, they will not make a difference in their lifetime, so they are much worse off by themselves.

Thu Apr 19, 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger Mphair said...

Personally, I would much rather be a prole than a party member, because I perfer the ability to generally do what I want.

To have or place confidence in; depend on.
To expect with assurance; assume: I trust that you will be on time.
To believe: I trust what you say.

I do not personally believe that Winston can truly trust anyone in his world, because the Party has means of forcing anything out of anyone, even under complete torture, even Julia would most likely betray him. O'Brein seems too fond of his position to be completely trustworthy.

Fri Apr 20, 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger EmilyL said...

Ok, I am sorry this is late. I checked the blog at 8:15 and it was not posted so I will reply now.

I chose to answer who can Winston trust. I don't think he can trust anyone. He has no way of knowing who will turn him in. He can't even trust himself because of doublethink. What he thinks is true may not be true because of the party manipulation.

Fri Apr 20, 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger maria k said...

I would actually rather be a Party member than a prole. It's not because I'd get better living conditions and be richer and all that, but I would have a better chance of corrupting the government. The higher you are, the more power you have, and the bigger influence you can be for the "good of the people."

I think the telescreen had been there for a long time. I think that they were watching Mr. Charrington because of his interest in antique items. When Winston first bought the diary, they noticed and stuck their Thought Police agent in Mr. Charrington's place. When Winston heard the telescreen speak to him, the last voice he said sounded familiar. I agree with Daniel that the person Winston saw was the true Mr. Charrington, the one that sold him the glass and the room, even though his appearance had changed. Maybe Mr. Charrington was never a real guy, maybe the shop was just a trap to draw in people tempted to do thoughtcrime.

Fri Apr 20, 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger maddyg said...

I think the telescreen was probably in the room for a long time. I thought it was curious how out of the blue, in an antiques shop, Mr. Charrington shows this stranger a room and says how he needs someone to rent it. After Winston bought the journal there, they probably hatched the whole scheme and put the telescreen in. I think they didn't arrest Winston and Julia right away because they were curious or maybe thought that if they came out of it, they would be valuable. The same thing happened in 451, the chief did not arrest Montag right away and instead gave him a chance to just get rid of the books. Maybe for some reason ,they nedded Julia and Winston too much to let them go that quickly, or they just wanted to see how their rebellion progressed to be prepared for future occasions like this.

Also, I think that even though Winston and Julia are just 2 people in this society that has been successfully eliminating every threat, they could make a difference in bringing down the party. This could only happen if they can come up with some sort of crazy plan to get the proles to join them, but I don't think that this would be impossible.

Fri Apr 20, 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger AnnaD said...

Personally, I would rather be a Prole. I value the simple things in life more than the physical things (for the most part.) In this sense, I would rather experience freedom, love and emotions than have good living conditions.

For the second part of the question: I think that the telescreen was there the whole time. I believe that they waited so long to arrest Winston and Julia simply to be able to rack up the charges against them,. I believe that Mr.Charrington was the "real" Charrington because I don't see why he wouldn't be.

Fri Apr 20, 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger zachf said...

I don't think Winston should trust anyone because of how many times he's been betrayed. For example, he trusted Mr. Charrington and Winston got busted by him. He can't trust anyone in that society because someone is always watching someone. His society is under constant surveillance, he can't get away with anything he wants without him keeping his mouth shut because no one is trustworthy.

Fri Apr 20, 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger kenna_d said...

for the first question--

I think I would much rather be a prole. Yes, they are a little bit uncivilized, and don't really know much about the world around them, but what the Party gives them, but they are human. They breathe, speak, and think on their own accord. Why would you want to be controlled by something your not even sure exists? The proles are controlled by the Party to some degree, but if a prole thinks against the Party, no one really cares, as compared to a Party member, who cannot even breathe unevenly without becoming a suspect for thought crime. What kind of life is it when you are horrified that your own thoughts may be the cause of your destructioln? The proles live a simplistic, and somewhat controlled life, like a favorite house pet, they are given what they need to make them happy, and they follow blindly in return. Give something the things it needs to survive, and it will stay out of your hair. The proles have a much more free lifestyle in their ignorance, than a Party memeber with an education based off what the Party thinks is correct, or the way the Party has made things.

Fri Apr 20, 03:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As my comment, I would like to say something in response to Maria's comment:

I understand what you mean, Maria, by saying that if you were a member of the party you would have more of a chance in making a change. However, I feel differently because while your thought does make sense, the proles have more of a chance of making a difference in the way their society is run. I don't think that, so far, Winston (as a party member) has made much of a difference in his society, even though he has intended to. While he does have excellent ideas on what to change in their world, he never puts them into motion physically. I think that is one main reason he puts so much trust in Julia: he wants someone to support his causes and propositions. However, just thinking about something doesnt change anything. His thoughts could make a difference if they were carried out, but they havent been. I think that the proles have a better chance of changing the government. They are not monitored or questioned as much as the party members. If Winston were a prole, then he could speak about his opinions more openly with more than one person. He would have the possible potential to actually make change or spark a revolution. I am not saying that it would be successful, but it would be more of a change than he has made as a party member. I am sure that if Winston started any sort of revolution or sparked any revolutionary opinions as a prole, he would be caught by the thought police eventually, just as he did as a party member. However, his idea would have been passed along to other people, and they may have developed their own ideas about how to change their society.

Fri Apr 20, 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger emilya said...

I would much rather be a prole than a party member. Even though Proles have worse lving conditions and less money, they do not have to stress so much about the party. Party members are alwyas being watched and also have the worry of their work getting done and getting it right. They all have telescreens and must abide by the rules of the party. Proles on the other hand, do not have to worry about this stuff...
I think Winston can trust Goldtein and that is really it. Goldstein is who he looks up to and who he wants to help. IN order to do this, he cannot trust anyone becuase they may be the ThoughtPolice or turn him into the ThoughtPolice. I really do not think Winston can trust anyone...
Yes, Winston and Julia can really make a difference in bringing down the party. It would be tough, but they could do it. They would have to get a large group together and make a plan, but somehow they could...

Sat Apr 21, 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger erinl said...

I would say that I would rather be a prole than a party member. I would rather live in a crap hole then have to live my life in lies.

I think that the party would not be able to exist without war. The war is their soul determination of hate. Without it, the party would have nothing to blame on anyone else.

I think that the only person that Winston can tust is himself. He learned his lesson with O'Brien, how does he know that he can trust anyone else?? I honestly don't think that Winston and Julia wouldn't have been able to do very much in overthrowing the party. They would have had to been way more careful and would have had more plans set up. I think that it was never going to work. The party has too much power.

Sun Apr 22, 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger sarahc said...

I think that the telescreen had been there for a while before Winston was shown the room. But when I first read the other comments, I though, "Then why did Mr. Charrington offer to sell the portrate covering the telescreen to Winston?" If you don' mind, I'd like to offer my explanation in case anyone was wondering the same thing...
I think that Mr. Charrington was testing Winston when he showed him the picture and offered to sell it to him. It seems odd that he wouls just happen to pick the thing that had the telescreen behind it and offer to sell it to Winston, so I think it was a test. I think that is Wintson had said that he would buy it, he would have been arrested right then and there. I think also that Mr. Charrington knew that Winston would most likely decline because it was so big and bulky. But that's just my thoughts...

I don't think that the 1984 society would be able to function without war because that is where all the excess goods go and where the element of control comes from. If they take away the war, people would not give away their freedom. If the war stopped using goods, people would see what it was like to have a better life and know that what BB was giving them wasn't good.

Sun Apr 22, 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger Laurab said...

I would much rather be a prole than a Party member. I think that not having liberties and being controlled to such an extreme would be terrible. If I were a prole, then I would not have the government controlling me so much and I would be able to live how I would want to, completely free from anxiety that the next step I may take might be my last, because of what I think.

I wasn't sure how many questions I had to answer, so I just did the first one. :)

Tue Apr 24, 02:17:00 PM  

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