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Contradictory Statements in 1984 Essay


In the dystopian novel 1984, by George Orwell, three contradictory statements come from the idea of doublethink, which is the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in ones mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them (176). As the Party endeavors to break down an individuals capacity for independent thought, it becomes possible for an individual to believe anything that the Party tells them, even while possessing information that defies what information they told before. War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength; these are the official slogans of the Party, as inscribed in massive letters on the white pyramid of the Ministry of Truth. The Party desires each individual to believe that by being in a constant state of war, an incessant aura of peace will be in the midst of them. If the Party can persuade the Proles to believe that Freedom is slavery, they will never question their place or demand for more privileges. If the party perseveres in withholding information from the Proles, keeping them ignorant, they will not have to worry about the Proles rising up against the Party to take them down.

By remaining in a constant state of war between one of either Eastasia or Eurasia, the people of Oceania are able to use up the products of what their society makes, without raising the standard of living for anyone. In so far as the war has a direct economic purpose, it is a war for labor power (154). By keeping the citizens busy manufacturing the equipment needed to fight the enduring wars, the citizens are always in employment. This keeps them peaceful because they are too busy working to scrutinize their lives and too busy to wonder how their lives might be altered or improved.

The people are free to do what they want, but they are under constant surveillance by different forces, such as the thought police; helicopters; junior spies and telescreens, under the head of Big Brother. The Party wants to everyone to believe that as an individual, they will die off, but as a group, they are next to immortal. They want the Proles to believe that they are part of a collective culture that will live on forever. Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows, (69) is what Winston wrote in his journal to OBrien. Despite this obvious truth that two plus two make four, the Party wants us to believe that two plus two are five. They believe that to act freely would lessen Oceanias strength and lead it to possible doom. So therefore, if they keep the Proles under constant employment, they will have no time to wonder upon such thoughts about how to overthrow Big Brother.

The Proles are withheld a lot of information about what exactly is going on in Oceania. The Proles are very ignorant of the treatment and watchful eye of Big Brother. They are also exempt from it in most cases. The Party could achieve this through a few different ways. The new language called Newspeak, written to destroy a persons ability to communicate thought, puts up a language barrier for the Proles. Another way is through falsification of news and events throughout history. And when memory failed and written records were falsified...the claim of the Party to have improved the conditions of human life had got to be accepted, because there did not exist, and never again could exist, any standard against which it could be tested (79).

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