Hannah CurtinMatthew StewartCollege Writing 1December 14, 2017 In Orwell’s 1984, the protagonist, Winston, describes the term “doublethink”. To him, it symbolizes reality control because of the Party’s ability to manipulate any fact and call it true, and to force civilians with fear to believe these new facts to be true, even when they know that they are not. As he further contemplates on the concept in chapter three, he continues to define it as, “To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it…” He even goes as far as saying that the term itself is a form of doublethink. Later on, in part two, chapter nine, Winston and Julia are reading a book by Emmanuel Goldstein, who defines doublethink in simpler terms as being, “… the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.” Orwell used examples of this throughout 1984. For example, the four ministries are passively named, but their functions are opposite their titles. The Ministry of Love is dedicated to torture and interrogation, the Ministry of Truth falsifies history, the Ministry of Plenty rations goods, and the Ministry of Peace involves itself with war. These ministries were not named that way to disguise their true intent. The population knew what went on in the buildings, and the government made sure of it. The purpose of the Ministries was a way for the Party to control the population. In a way, the ministries were appropriately named, even if the organization’s actions conflicted with the names. The Ministry of Love was meant to torture people into loving the Party, the Ministry of Truth altered the past and forced citizens to accept it as truth, the Ministry of Plenty makes sure that the populace is in a low economic state, but makes them believe that they are wealthy, and the Ministry of Peace makes sure that there is a constant war so that Oceania is only focused on that conflict, rather than creating or focusing on other conflicts. The three slogans, of the Party, “WAR IS PEACE FREEDOM IS SLAVERY IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH”all contain contradictory words. However, they do make sense because the Party makes the words synonymous with each other. To further elaborate, war is used as a form of peacekeeping in Oceania. Everyone on their respective sides in a war has a common enemy. Foreign war is used as a distraction from the domestic conflicts by creating a common rival so that the population worries more about the state of their country in the war, rather than the state of themselves in their country. Basically, war keeps citizens patriotic and faithful in their country and allows the Party to maintain power. Freedom can be compared to slavery in that freedom is a facade used by the Party to disguise the forcing of civic obedience to the government. The Party lets people believe that they are free and independent, but really they are not. In 1984, citizens are free of choice. They are told when to wake up, when to exercise, when to sleep, and what to wear. The only real freedom that they have is being free of making their own decisions. Being free of independent decision making and allowing the government to choose for oneself, is slavery. In the end, they are all slaves to the Party.Ignorance can be considered strength because remaining unaware of the true nature of things keeps one strong. If someone were to know of all of the corruption in the government in Oceania, they would become outraged and possibly rebel. The Party made sure that everyone remained in the dark by changing documents and constantly lying to maintain power. In book one, chapter seven, Winston recalls a transcription from a Party textbook that read,”Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.” What is really interesting about all of this, is that the Party did not try to hide any of this. People could have known exactly what was going on, but they were either so afraid that they remained silent, or they were exceptionally good at hiding their face/thoughtcrime.Examples of doublethink can be recognized throughout 1984. In book one, chapter three, Winston is aware that Oceania has been at war with Eastasia and has been an ally with Eurasia for 4 years, but Winston remembers that there was a time when Eurasia was the enemy. In part two, chapter nine, however, there is another switch in which Eurasia becomes the enemy once again and has been all along. This causes Winston to think more about doublethink because while everyone knew that the enemy was Eastasia, they accept the sudden change without question. It is as if they are so brainwashed that the Party just throws whatever they can at them for the hell of it, because they can. One of the most famous examples of doublethink is 2+2=5. “In the end, the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you’d have to believe it.” (Orwell, page 102)Winston knows that the equation is equal to four, but when O’Brian tortured him to the brink of death, he admitted that 2+2=5. This is doublethink because while he knew the truth, he also had to accept as truth what those in power said was truth. Two concepts that contradict each other were present, and it didn’t matter which one really was true or false because both would be considered truth depending on the individual.
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