Pascal Gunsch

WT1 1984

Rationale

I have written a diary entry from O’Brien from George Orwell’s novel 1984. I have chosen this type of writing because it enables you to go deeper into the situations in the book and the true feelings of the character. In O’Brien’s case, I found this particularly interesting because his character seems to raise more questions about the book and its concept than it answers. While all the characters develop as the novel progresses, O’Brien really undevelops, as he and becomes more and more mysterious.

I thought the day just after O’Brien invited Winston and Julia over to his apartment (at the beginning of Chapter VI on page 164) would be the best moment to write the diary entry about. This is because in this passage, O’Brien appears to be a prominent figure in the Brotherhood, perhaps even the embodiment of Goldstein. However, the opposite is true: O’Brien, as a member of the Inner Party, has been planning Winston’s and Julia’s arrest very carefully from the beginning and I tried to capture that moment.

The audience of a diary entry obviously is no one but the writer of the diary himself. Therefore I didn’t describe some of the events, as O’Brien would be able to recall them. Furthermore, since O’Brien writes the diary, I tried to use his type of language, that is his persuasiveness and arrogance, and his use of Newspeak, in the piece of writing.

The task links to the course ‘Literature critical analysis’. I tried to refer to some of the motifs in the book such as doublethink, the thought police, Mr Charrington’s antiques store, Room 101 and “The place where there is no darkness”, to show how they fit in the context.

Total word count of the rationale: 286 words

Written Task

June 14, 1984

Today has been very successful. I am certain that I can expect that Winston and Julia soon.

I waited for Winston in a corridor in the Ministry of Truth, right under a telescreen. Then, when he passed, I ‘accidentally’ bumped into him. He looked surprised and anxious, but I could easily calm him down and make him think that I was part of the Brotherhood. I told him about the nearly finished tenth edition of the Newspeak Dictionary and asked him to come over so that he can take a look at it. After I had mentioned the unperson Syme and had given him my address right under a telescreen, I saw in his eyes that he trusted me, it looked like he had been waiting for this to happen all of his life. I think he hasn’t even considered me betraying them, well, I don’t think he cares if I do or don’t. He could just figure that he will be caught one day, no matter what he does, so even this little spark of hope is enough for him to visit me. Of course, he will take Julia with him.

Julia has a very simple personality. She enjoys rebelling against the Party, but just for the act of rebelling. Her rebellion is not based on her ideology and it will be easy to break her later in Room 101. Even Winston says that she is just “a rebel from the waist down”.

Winston, on the other hand, is a special case. In his diary he only talks about two things: how much he hates the Party and Big Brother, and how much he likes me. He is so naïve to think that there is this special connection between us. When our eyes meet, he feels that he sees someone who thinks the same about the Party as he does. This is complete nonsense but still quite beneficial for me: he will trust me and when we meet at the Ministry of Truth, it will break him even more when he finds out I am a head officer at the Thought Police.

But there is something I find very interesting about him: his dreams. He keeps on talking about the dream in which I tell him that we will meet in “the place where there is no darkness”. I do not understand how it is possible that he subconsciously knows about my work at the Ministry of Truth, but on the other hand, what does it matter? He will be caught anyhow, no matter if he knows about it or not.

There is only this one problem. To successfully complete their treatment in the Ministry of Love, I will have to think of something for Winston and Julia in Room 101. At first I thought of spiders, fire or even snakes, but none of them seemed to really work on them. So I decided to test what they think about rats. I have asked officer Charrington to place a trained rat under their bed in his antique’s store. Then, one day when they lie on their bed, officer Charrington will tell the rat to get to the other side of the room. They will be surprised by it and we can see if rats are an appropriate way of treating him or her.

Winston’s position at the Ministry of Truth makes it more difficult. His job requires a remarkably good ability to practice doublethink. The fact that he has lived in the era before that of the Party, makes it harder for him than for others, including his girlfriend Julia. He can remember things from the past and things that he has altered. He can relate his standard of life to that in his youth and he knows that there were times without psychological control. And he is stupid that he does this so often. Therefore, to successfully complete his treatment, I must teach him doublethink. He must learn who the real enemy is – and has been since the beginning. He must learn that 2 + 2 = 5 – if the Party tells him. He must learn that everything the Party says is true – even if it contradicts his own memory. He must learn that this society isn’t possible without doublethink. He must learn that he has to adapt himself to what the Party says. He must learn that resistance is futile, but I’m sure I will teach him that.

But before they come I should finish my work on ‘The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism’. I don’t really agree on the statements in the chapter ‘War is Peace’. The perpetual war is also important in that it gives the people nationalistic feelings. Because of this, they won’t really mind their poor living conditions. Perhaps it is also good to mention that the bombings are done by the Party, to make the readers even more furious and hateful towards the Party. But I’ll have to discuss that with the others during our meeting the day after tomorrow at fifteen.

I think that I should start keeping an eye on John from the Ministry of Love. I have heard he has been making a lot of eye contact lately, and that he didn’t participate in the shouting during the two-minutes hate. Tomorrow, I will ask for his telescreen number.

Tomorrow I also have to make sure William is vaporised. And I shouldn’t forget to reward officer Charrington for his works. I think I’ll give him a special wine from Airstrip Three. We should also get him some new antiques from the Vaults.

There is one more problem. I don’t know what to do with Martin. He does his work very good and I really can’t live without a slave, but he is Eastasian, and we have become allies with Eastasia. Formally, I have to send him to a working camp, but he doesn’t deserve that.

I think I will sleep a night and decide tomorrow.

Total word count of the written task: 999 words

Bibliography

Orwell, G. (2008). 1984. London: Penguin Books.
The Guardian, internet. Retreived June 9, 2014, from http://www.theguardian.com/books/2009/may/10/1984-george-orwell
BBC, internet. Retreived June 9, 2014, from http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-21337504

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