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Do you think the Brotherhood was real?

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Maria I certainly hope they were! I like to believe that the human spirit would persevere in such a horrid, inhumane world.


Alexander Lorenzo: Perfect, couldn't put it any more eloquent! :-)


Maria Perhaps the "Brotherhood" was a fictitious organization, but I find it hard to believe that a real resistance movement would not exist.


Matthew Williams Lorenzo wrote: "No. The Brotherhood was a fiction devised by the Party to ferret out would be traitors and saboteurs like Winston and Julia. What better way than to offer the malcontents some thin sliver of hope..."

Not necessarily. Winston did ask, and O'Brien told him that was a question he would never know. Leaving it vague I think was entirely deliberate, so as to say that even if it did, it would be ineffectual as far as the Party was concerned. As he stated towards the end:

"That, Winston, you will never know. If we choose to set you free when we have finished with you, and if you live to be ninety years old, still you will never learn whether the answer to that question is Yes or No. As long as you live it will be an unsolved riddle in your mind."


Matthew Williams Lorenzo wrote: "Hi, Matthew--

I would say this: it was O’Brien who gave The Book to Winston and Julia. It was the Party, and even more likely, O’Brien himself, who wrote The Book. I interpret this as a deliber..."


I recall that quite well. As part of Winston's revelation, he revealed to him that Goldstein didn't exist and the book was their creation. But the existence of the Brotherhood itself was never confirmed or denied. That point was left deliberately vague even though the rest was revealed to be false.


Samantha D you guys should watch V For Vendetta now.


message 7: by Ken (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ken Lorenzo wrote: "V For Vendetta is an excellent film. I like the Wachowski Bros. I'm looking forward to the DVD release of Cloud Atlas, too."

V for Vendetta is an excellent film. I have the book but haven't gotten around to reading it yet.

I saw the movie Cloud Atlas and thought it was great. When it comes out at Family Video I will rent and watch it again.


message 8: by Matthew (last edited Dec 29, 2012 12:40PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew Williams I would recommend the comic version of the book more than the movie. The Wachowskis did a good job with it, but the comic made more sense in terms of plot and painted a much more detailed picture of England as a totalitarian regime.


Zayne K. No. The brotherhood was a thought brought up by O'Brien to rat out the conspirators, to then bring them to the Ministry of Love and "cure" them.


Louise The brotherhood was only made up. I have a theory, though. What if there was once a brotherhood and O'Brien was a member of it, or probably the leader himself thus leading to the publication of 'the book'? Only that the revolution got busted and failed leading to O'Brien being tortured and everything. Similar to Winston, O'Brien was 'made sane' and set free. Then the party came up with the plan to ensnare people with the hope of the brotherhood existing.


Louise It's really way out there, but it seems likely.


James Why should the Brotherhood be a fiction? Winston was convinced it was real. Why shouldn't we believe the same of O'Brien?

Winston was convinced it was real, therefore it was. Another modern history, all in his temporal lobe. Isn't that the point, that it doesn't matter if it was real or not?


SarahW I almost consider the brotherhood and Goldstein real in roughly the same way people consider Alquada and Osama Bin Laden to be real.

Why trust what Winston sees and trust Obrian, oh right because the government is unreliable.


message 14: by Griffin (last edited Feb 06, 2013 07:42PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Griffin P. I think that Julia's right when she says that there isn't really a war, that the government controls all of it. It would seem that Ingsoc creates lies to keep people fearful or hateful, and The Brotherhood and Goldstein are probably some of them. If O'Brien wrote Goldstein's book, it implies that it's a government creation used for the Two Minutes' Hate and other devices. What is odd is that Ingsoc allows nationalism, the driving force for most revolutions, to fester at its heart, promoting and even forcing it upon people. I think the real goal of 1984 is for Orwell to express that socialism will lead to bad things. He makes a valid point, although it's questionable whether three countries could ever rule the world (or one; I think Ingsoc has it all and the "Eastasian prisoners" are nothing more than east Asian people under the rule of Ingsoc which are being taken to Miniluv. Anyway, the point is that there is no Brotherhood, it's all a creation of Ingsoc. Of course, we know from Winston and Julia that there are rebels in the world, but the overwhelming power of the government basically eliminates any chance of unification; Winston and Julia are not the same people coming out of Miniluv as they were going in; all their spirit is gone, and they don't rebel anymore. I think that, although Winston is the main protagonist and is right in all his convictions, that he is a tad insane. I think that a lot of what happened was in his head. I think the entire plot of 1984 is meant to be distorted by his thoughts and by the hazy nature of most of the facts; this device is likely used to show what this alternative version of 1984 is like, as Winston frequently describes not knowing much at all because of doublethink, even stating when O'Brien discards the picture of Jones, Aaronson and Rutherford that it is possible he really did forget its existence just seconds after having held it. The entire dystopia of Oceania is based on the idea that nothing is certain to keep people in fear and submission, and that 1984 is written in such a style to provide a sense of how that feels.


message 15: by Ken (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ken Griffin wrote: "I think that Julia's right when she says that there isn't really a war, that the government controls all of it. It would seem that Ingsoc creates lies to keep people fearful or hateful, and The Bro..."

I like this remark


James Griffin wrote: "I think that Julia's right when she says that there isn't really a war, that the government controls all of it. It would seem that Ingsoc creates lies to keep people fearful or hateful, and The Bro..."

Even if that is empirically true, the idea of empiricism is totally dead in the narrative. The only people who could exercise any degree of it (Inner Party) had given it up willingly in exchange for total control.

So, in keeping with the themes, your hypothesis is totally false-- for no other reason than it does not match their "truth." It is not the correct chosen narrative, so it is not actually happening. Doublethink. It doesn't matter what we know, it matters what we think.


Matthew Williams Griffin wrote: "I think that Julia's right when she says that there isn't really a war, that the government controls all of it. It would seem that Ingsoc creates lies to keep people fearful or hateful, and The Bro..."

I was under the impression that that was just Julia's tenuous grasp of what was going on. On the one hand, she treated nothing as believable, but on the other, she really didn't understand the purpose of any of it. Recall what Goldstein's Manifesto said about how continuous war made peace possible.

If there isn't a war, then how does the government dispose of excess material production? How does it justify the constant expenses that keep society on the verge of deprivation? It's necessary to ensure order, fear and loathing are maintained, and that society is focused on an external enemy.


Matthew Williams Sarah wrote: "By the way in case there was misunderstanding, I meant this is whats often sighted when they say alquada and Osama Bin Laden arent real. Its because to me it was the brotherhood that was a controll..."

Actually, Doublethink is very relevant in the real world. Not only was it a major staple of Stalinist Russia, the Nazis practiced something very similar but less formal, and all totalitarian dictatorships insist on something like it in order for them to maintain power. And hell, you don't even need to step back in time or set foot in a modern dictatorship to witness it.

Everyday in all parts of the world, people willingly turn off their rational faculties and apply a one-sided double-standard in order to maintain party loyalty or the belief they are working for the "greater good". And anytime someone does that, they risk stepping onto the slippery slope that leads to what Orwell envisioned.


message 19: by Ken (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ken Matthew wrote: "Sarah wrote: "By the way in case there was misunderstanding, I meant this is whats often sighted when they say alquada and Osama Bin Laden arent real. Its because to me it was the brotherhood that ..."

ditto


James Matthew wrote: "Sarah wrote: "By the way in case there was misunderstanding, I meant this is whats often sighted when they say alquada and Osama Bin Laden arent real. Its because to me it was the brotherhood that ..."

1. Turn on your news of choice
2. Turn off your brain
3. Repeat


message 21: by Flyingfrog9999 (last edited Feb 12, 2013 07:21AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Flyingfrog9999 Griffin wrote: "I think that Julia's right when she says that there isn't really a war, that the government controls all of it. It would seem that Ingsoc creates lies to keep people fearful or hateful, and The Bro..."

Yes. It is not clear what life is like outside of Oceania. Perhaphs only one government in the entire world. Perhaphs people are free outside of Oceania. It is not known, and cannot be known, since all information comes from the government.


message 22: by Sam (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sam Marques The genius of the Brotherhood was that, though it may not have existed as a reality, its spirit - its ideals - were real. Ideas are tangible things, and on some level, manifest themselves in the real world through our perception of them. Furthermore, in order for Ingsoc to exist, its opposites must of necessity also exist - even when the Party takes great effort to eradicate them from history and push them out of the public forum. If the ideas espoused by "Emmanuel Goldstein" did not exist at least in the deepest trenches of every man's mind, then Ingsoc would cease to be a remarkable phenomenon as far as its existence - it could not be a titled ideology if alternatives did not exist. So in reality, the Brotherhood did exist, as an idea - as Winston Smith himself, and Julia, and even the Proles. The existence of would-be revolutionaries is merely one ingredient necessary for a real revolution.


Muhammad Maria wrote: "I certainly hope they were! I like to believe that the human spirit would persevere in such a horrid, inhumane world."

I doubted its existence since the "mysterious" escape of Goldstein very early in the novel, O'Brian, I believe, totally confirmed my doubts though out the whole story. Nonetheless, I still believe the hope is in the raw minds of the Proles, if there's any hope left of course.


Caitlin I think Orwell left the existence of The Brotherhood purposely ambiguous to amplify Winston's helplessness. According to the Inner Party and O'Brian, there is no Brotherhood because they effectively triumph over any and every mind. But are the other superstates as bad off as the book O'Brian presumably penned himself? That can't be answered. All the Goldstein book did was reflect the fatalistic impression Winston had already formed independently and it's possible that it was written specifically to do so. O'Brian may have aimed to feign sympathy for Winston and other like-minded people by developing a past and history they found satisfying. Winston felt a kinship with O'Brian because of this false sympathy and eventually that was translated over to Big Brother. We never get to see into the workings of the Inner Party, we never get close to any real truths about the current state of the world. Through the eyes of Winston, the reader will never know if there is hope or if that hope was solidified into something as remarkable as the Brotherhood. The Party has to try ever so hard to break it's people down, however, that it seems entirely possible for such a group to exist.


message 25: by Ken (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ken Caitlin wrote: "I think Orwell left the existence of The Brotherhood purposely ambiguous to amplify Winston's helplessness. According to the Inner Party and O'Brian, there is no Brotherhood because they effectivel..."

Well put


message 26: by Sandra (last edited Mar 23, 2013 09:58PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sandra N There will always be people smart and courageous enough to form an opposition to a tyrannical government-of course, the brotherhood was probably very secret and they had to do little things to work themselves up to the big things that could overthrow their government. I don't think it was widespread, probably a small group of people that were still figuring out how to grow their numbers without being found out by picking deceitful people, hence O' Brien's betrayal to Winston and Julia. With that being said, O'Brien was an ass for setting them up like that-and he's supposed to be this big intellectual guy.


message 27: by Tommy (new)

Tommy Thompson Lorenzo wrote: "No. The Brotherhood was a fiction devised by the Party to ferret out would be traitors and saboteurs like Winston and Julia. What better way than to offer the malcontents some thin sliver of hope..."

Very concise observation... and a fine explanation! Kudos.


Cihad Aydın ahh no actually, it was something created by the party itself to show that they are dealing with some kind of challenging situations for the public and put them under control. So thus, there would be no other rebellian thinking, even if there was, like Julia and Winston, they would be terminated. :)


Geoffrey James wrote: "Why should the Brotherhood be a fiction? Winston was convinced it was real. Why shouldn't we believe the same of O'Brien?

Winston was convinced it was real, therefore it was. Another modern histor..."


If he was convinced the Brotherhood was real, why ask?


Hasani Ferguson I think the brotherhood was a fictional concept created by BIG BROTHER to lure potential offenders. Winston, like many others fell victim to the idea of a shadow militia that could over throw the party. He fell victim to his own willful ignorance.


Brandi Although I would really like to say that the Brotherhood was real, it seems extremely unlikely. As others have already said, the government wanted to control every aspect of the peoples' lives, and the Brotherhood would be the perfect way to do that in the case of the would-be rebels.

That being said, though, that doesn't mean that there definitely isn't some sort of group in reality. I really hope there is, but you know. . . .


Hasani Ferguson Winston was naive. It cost him his freedom.


Paul Martin Hasani wrote: "It cost him his freedom."

When was he ever free?


Hasani Ferguson When he was with Julia


Paul Martin Hasani wrote: "When he was with Julia"

Was he? Does one moment of freedom in an enslaved life make you free? Besides, the party knew about them early on. The man from which they rented the room was an agent of the party, after all.


message 36: by Matthew (last edited Jul 22, 2014 11:36AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew Williams True. There was no hope for him from the get-go. The moment O'Brien made eye contact with him and witnessed him betray genuine emotion, his fate was sealed. It was something Winston already understood, that a mere glance or reaction could betray you. And he knew he would die eventually. His only real crime was in thinking he could live free and enjoy himself beforehand.


Paul Martin The moment O'Brien made eye contact with him and witnessed him betray genuine emotion, his fate was sealed.

Ah, yes, that was the moment I was trying to remember.

Did we ever get to know if there were microphones in the grassy field?


Matthew Williams No, there was no mention of that ever happening. But they did have volumes on him that went back years. Long before he met Julia, long before he began keeping the journal.


Jeske I don't think the Brotherhood was real (though I certainly hoped so). I think they only spread the rumour to ensnare thought criminals and trap them with dirty tricks like O'Brien played with Julie and Winston. Total control.


Duane "The Brotherhood" only existed as a fiction used to ensnare "imperfect" citizens like Winston and Julia. In an absolute totalitarian State it would be necessary to create "false flag" opposition to the State, as a "honey pot" to entrap "defectives" - those who are not completely assimilated.

Then of course the State, or its representative O'Brien, having tacitly admitted to Winston that it had co-opted the idea of a Resistance in such manner, would never confirm or deny whether any form of *real*, extralegal organized resistance existed or not. If they admitted such did exist, the admission itself would deny their own omnipotence and imply that resistance was actually possible, but if they claimed that it didn't exist, they would be removing the "hope" that they needed to have available in order to lure any "defectives" into their trap - including those like Winston who had been "cured" and released, should their reconditioning have somehow "failed".

In Orwell you're dealing with no ordinary writer, but with someone of nearly unbelievable genius, and there is no question whatsoever that he would have reasoned all of this through from the satandpoint of the totalitarian State as well as that of its victims.


message 41: by Ramses (new) - added it

Ramses If we take the line that Goldstein was an expy of Trotsky, then we could speculate that the Brotherhood is the equivalent of the Fourth International, which never gained much traction as Stalin's regime gradually tore it down. It existed (and in fact there are many groups today that claim to be its descendants), but it never posed a real threat to Stalin's regime.

Of course, Orwell's book is much more than just a parody of the USSR (doublethink, for example, is something we are all guilty of, not just the totalitarians), but it's an interesting parallel to the real world.


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