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Do you think the Brotherhood was real?

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message 1: by Alex (new)

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


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 5: 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 6: 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?


Sarah 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 12: 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 16: 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 18: 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 19: 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.


message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

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 22: 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 23: 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 24: 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 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?


message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

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. . . .


message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

Winston was naive. It cost him his freedom.


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

When was he ever free?


message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

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 33: 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 38: 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.


Sydney Williams Emmanuel Goldstein is seen as a traitor to the people of Oceania. He started a party called the Brotherhood going against Big Brother. When people from Oceania see his face in Two MInutes Hate they get angry, throw things at his face, and shout names at him. These emotions are expressed to a guy that has never been seen in front of Oceania’s people. Their isn’t any proof that he actually existed. Even if their was proof, Big Brother is always changing history to make it to what they want. If the past is always changing, what is true, and what does the Party make up to seem true? The Party might have just made up the idea of Goldstein to make the people of Oceania see how bad the Brotherhood is and then follow Big Brother because it's their protector. Also, Goldstein is used to take the weak or non believers of the Party away. The Party wants everyone to be completely involved. Some of the people in Oceania hear of another option, Big Brother, and would become interested which the Party doesn’t want. Emmanuel Goldstein is a mystery.


message 40: by Taylor (new)

Taylor Williams In all honesty, in George Orwell's novel “1984”, it’s hard to tell if Emmanuel Goldstein ever really existed. During the two minute hate a picture of him is shown to the people and they are instantly raged. The people of Oceania make it obvious he is not there favorite person. Most of the people would prefer a picture of Big Brother, their savior. Since it’s obvious that Goldstein makes it possible for Big Brother to be portrayed as a savior, it’s possible the party just created him for that reason. The easily could have thought of someone who would make themselves look better. He is never shown in person, and other than the hate, the party just uses him as a fear factor. Also, because of this society having the possibility to change things, like the truth, whenever they want it’s probable that Goldstein is fake. For instance, when Winston finds proof of the party changing the truth it really questions things and puts them into perspective. Maybe the party lies about a lot of things. Maybe the party is not good. However, they know what they’re doing and it’s seems to work. Where or not Goldstein is real or fake he definitely made an impact on the people of the party.


message 41: by Sierra (new)

Sierra Valencia I don't think the Brotherhood was real. It was just what the party used to find the people that were not loving/trusting Big Brother. None of the proles had a reason to rebel because they had no reason to rebel or anything to rebel against. My English teacher gave us the example that we were the proles and our government
was the Party. He asked us what we would rebel against or do we even have anything to rebel against. I thought about it and there was nothing I would really rebel against. I don't have a solid, good reason. There was no specific reason to rebel. The Brotherhood was just something for Winston to hold on to. He believed they existed because he wanted them to, to make what he was trying to do easier. It was just O'Brien's trap to finally catch Winston and fix to loving Big Brother again.


Alexis Barth I think it was real because when Winston asked O'Brian if The Brotherhood existed he answered by saying, "You will never know." If it didn't exist don't you think it would have been easy to say "No?"


Matthew Pearson I fought with this in my head and couldn't decide if i believed it was real or not... i agree that it could be a coping device for people/citizens to hold onto (hope for a better life) like Winston that accepted that this was life but had a big part of him that hated big brother/the party because they were the ones that made this life the way it was. Because of how his job was in the department of records and knew how much the party lied and covered it up, it made him question daily what was real and what wasn't, which i believe is part of the point of thought control (mess with the brain so much that its mush and they can do/say whatever they want)... so i think that the party could've created it as a way to 'weed' out thought criminals. When Winston and O'Brien made eye contact early in the book and Winston wondered if it meant anything, i'm sure it did... that might have been O'Brien 'testing' (casting the line to see if he gets a bite) Winston and it grew from there. On the other hand O'Brien did say that he co-wrote the book w/Goldstein... so i dont know if the brotherhood was real at one point and now its a tool for big brother to use... it would be a cruel irony that they use the very thing that once opposed them to their advantage. that actually sounds about right... So even while i write this, my mind has been made up on what i decide on this subject... i believe the brotherhood was real at one point but the party/big brother is so absolute now that they use it to their advantage. Its almost like 'the matrix' idea... you give someone a thread of hope so as to keep them on a leash to your will.


message 44: by Joshua (new) - added it

Joshua The first point that must be addressed is, this being a piece of fiction, what did the author want for us to believe? The existence of such a secret organization in practicality would likely be exceedingly difficult to detect by Big Brother. As we know, Winston implicated even individuals who he had never spoken to, so the involvement individuals, such as himself, in the Brotherhood, would be admitted even without guilt. However, the point one believes the author is trying to make is that it does not matter whether the Brotherhood exists. My point is that what the people believed was more important, and indeed, more influential, than the physical existence of such an organization. Controlling the minds of the people was more important than a real rebellion.


Jojhan The Brotherhood has probably existed as long as the party has. In a totalitarian regime like the one in the book, the regime would try everything to stay in power. Even by weeding out potential rebels and getting rid of them one by one. The Brotherhood was specifically made for rebellious party members as the book states that the proles have no reason to rebel as they are seen as animals.


message 46: by [deleted user] (new)

I think that the Brotherhood is real because why would the author reveal the rest to be false, yet keep the Brotherhood in secret?


Shourya I don't think that the brotherhood is real because as Winston during the torture period asked about it , the answer he got to know was something quoted as-
"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."


message 48: by [deleted user] (new)

Jojhan wrote: "The Brotherhood has probably existed as long as the party has. In a totalitarian regime like the one in the book, the regime would try everything to stay in power. Even by weeding out potential reb..."

That's Goldstein. Not the Brotherhood. Goldstein was a complete trap, but the Brotherhood was never proven false. I wonder why George Orwell forced it to be like that, if it was for symbolism or a sort of hint?


message 49: by [deleted user] (new)

Jhanvi wrote: "Jojhan wrote: "The Brotherhood has probably existed as long as the party has. In a totalitarian regime like the one in the book, the regime would try everything to stay in power. Even by weeding ou..."

Or perhaps, that's just the way the story went. Maybe, O'Brien didn't want to reveal any more information than what was already neccessary.


message 50: by C.A. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.A. I'd like to think the Brotherhood was real, because if it weren't, why would O'Brien have been so mysterious and cryptic about it when Winston asked him if it was? Wouldn't he have been quick to crush any last inkling of hope left in him?


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