Ling AP Lit. and Comp. 2010-11 discussion

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What is Truth? > The Party's Control Over Its Own Opposition

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message 1: by Ilana (last edited Nov 07, 2010 06:40PM) (new)

Ilana | 24 comments One of the things that the Party must do to keep the Outer Party and the Proles loyal is to keep the fear alive. The propaganda the Party puts out is slathered in outrageous statements against Eurasia/Eastasia and Emmanuel Goldstein, and the Two-Minutes Hate and Hate week rile them up and heighten their hatred of the Party's detractors. But is it possible that all these antagonists to Big Brother and his reign were in fact made up by the Party itself just to keep people angry, afraid, and nationalistic, and all these things that are such objects of hatred don't even exist? Julia speculates about this on page 127: "The rocket bombs which fell daily on London were probably fired by the Government of Oceania itself 'just to keep people frightened'." Could it be that even the Party's opposition is the Party's own creation, just so that the proles always have their anger directed towards the right place?
I think that this is entirely possible. Take, for example, the figure of Emmanuel Goldstein. Of Goldstein's appearance in the Two Minutes Hate, Winston says:
"He was an object of hatred more constant than either Eurasia or Eastasia...But what was strange was that, although Goldstein was hated and despised by everybody, although every day, and a thousand times a day on platforms, on the telescreen, in newspapers, in books, his theories were refuted, smashed, ridiculed, held up to the general gaze for the pitiful rubbish that the were...his influence never seemed to grow less Always there were fresh dupes waiting to be seduced by him A day never passed when spies and saboteurs acting under his directions were not unmasked by the Thought Police" (pg. 15).
Goldstein is seen and heard on the telescreen, but there is no flesh-and-blood evidence that he exists. And yet he has such an affect over the population of Oceania that their anger at him is nigh-uncontrollable. (Julia even throws a book at him during the Two-Minutes Hate on pages 14-15.) People blamed for being his spies are turned over to the Thought Police every day, it seems, as a warning of what could happen to you if you were suspected in any way of conspiring against the government, but Goldstein is always said to be the underlying culprit so that the people don't get the idea that the Party is just randomly arresting people to instill fear in them.
Thee same thing be said for the rocket bombs, the menaces of Eurasia and Eastasia, possibly even Big Brother himself. We don't get to see where the rocket bombs are coming from, except that the Government claims they've been sent by Eurasia (or later, Eastasia) and they show up most during Hate Week, conveniently when hatred of enemies must be at its highest. We never see any of the fighting with Eurasia and Eastasia: for all we know, the party could just be burning all the materials the "war" should be using up. Even Big Brother never manifests himself as more than a face on a poster designed to remind people there's always something watching them. Because we have no proof any of this actually exists, we cannot be sure that they are not just made-up mechanisms by the party to control the fervor and fear of the people to their advantage.


message 2: by Alon (new)

Alon Mazori | 23 comments As is said by the book of the Brotherhood, and as is revealed in Part III by O’Brien, the Party has achieved the ultimate state of existence: it is an idea. An idea that is firmly rooted into the Oceanian populace, an idea that requires no physical representation other than posters of some random man, an idea that cannot and will not ever be eradicated. The Party, like God himself, is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. And just as with God, there can be no end to the Party.


message 3: by Loren (new)

Loren Helms | 14 comments I like Alon's point about the Party being and idea. As long as the party is in control, it has the power to manipulate anything it wants, the reality is as O'Brian said "inconsequential". What the party wants to be the truth is the truth. Goldstein is merely a tool to used in order to keep the balance that the party desires, he is an enemy created by the the state, for the state. O'Brian said that Goldstein will never die, because the Party doesn't want a world that changes, it wants to have control over what the people love and what the people hate, with no room for variation. The Party's power is collective, so everyone must be the same.


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