1984 theme of reality control Flashcards Preview

English Units 3 & 4 > 1984 theme of reality control > Flashcards

Flashcards in 1984 theme of reality control Deck (14):

How does the party control its citizens

A combination of surveillance, terror, and propaganda. There are no laws to punish crime but the party can use torture, imprisonment, or vaporization on anyone whose thoughts or actions indicate that they may rebel in the future. The presence of telescreens in every room reminds citizens that they are constantly being watched, and all live in fear that someone will report them to the Thought Police.


How does the party control the minds of the people

Another way the Party controls the minds of the people is by destroying historical evidence that contradicts what the Party wishes the people to believe: for instance, when the Party reduces the chocolate ration, it also eliminates any information that would make it possible for anyone to verify that the chocolate ration had once been larger.


2 other examples of record alteration

Winston and his fellow employees in the Records Department are given the task of rewriting news articles and other literature in order to bring the written record into compliance with the version of history supported by the Party, a never ending job, since the Party constantly changes facts in order to support its policies.

Books that describe the past in a way that does not conform with Party ideology are destroyed or translated into Newspeak, a form of English designed by the Party to lack words that are considered unnecessary or dangerous, and which thereby prevents revolutionary thoughts.



A style of consciousness that the Party demands all citizens adopt. Doublethink involves believing two contradictory things at the same time.


Examples of doublethink

One major example of doublethink comes in the form of the slogans of the ministries: "War is Peace," "Freedom is Slavery," and "Ignorance is Strength." Winston's job at the Ministry of Truth also involves doublethink; he must delete any evidence that contradicts the Party's new version of the truth, while at the same time erasing his own awareness that he has changed anything.


Ultimate subtlety quote (about doublethink)

"That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed."


Ultimate subtlety analysis

The "ultimate subtlety" that Winston mentions refers to the fact that, while experiencing doublethink, people must also not be aware of the fact that they are experiencing it.


Doublethink analysis

If doublethink is successful, there is no need for punishment; people will simply believe whatever the Party tells them, even if this doesn't make sense, because they have given up the ability to logically interpret the situation. This is part of the Party's larger tactic of reality control, a method of oppressing the population through altering the way people see and interpret the world around them.


Scraped clean quote

"All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary."


Scraped clean quote analysis

Because the Party's version of the truth is constantly changing there is a nightmarish sense of monotony to Winston's work, which will simply go on and on, its only purpose to strengthen the Party's reality control. Monotony characterises life in the world of 1984. Orwell shows that life under a totalitarian regime is endlessly dull and repetitive, as the Party erases all individuality.


2 + 2 = 5 quote

"In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. And what was terrifying was not that they would kill you for thinking otherwise, but that they might be right. For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four?"


2 + 2 = 5 quote analysis

Orwell conveys the idea that reality control is even more horrifying than death. Perhaps because he has little to live for, Winston does not fear death; however, his words suggest that the ability to reason is the most important thing in life, and without that, he might as well be dead. With this in mind, Winston's eventual fate at the end of the novel is even more tragic than if he had been killed.


Huge force quote

"It was as though some huge force were pressing down upon you persuading you to deny the evidence of your senses."


Huge force quote analysis

He describes the pressure to conform to Party ideology at the expense of his own logic as a kind of physical force, so powerful that it could lead him to believe that 2+2=5.