George Orwell was visited by Time Travelers and taken to either our present or a few years into the future.
Think about it, he predicted not only flat-screen televisions (The Telescreen), Textspeak (Newspeak) and government surveillance
(Take a guess...), but also the wars in the Middle East and totalitarian states controlling the minds of the masses (ala North Korea
). OK, so the real 1984 was a tad normal, but what if a Time Traveller (such as The Doctor
) picks him up, brings him here but only long enough to give him Plausible Deniability
, meaning that while seeing all these things and learning the modern politics, he doesn't exactly get it all in context and upon returning it gets a tad mixed up in his head, leading him to write a story about a totalitarian state in England
(after all, in the 1940's, the government watching the population with camera would have been a terrifyingly new concept).
- Sexcrime does not exist in OTL though.
There is no coherent philosophy, ideology or meaning in Ingsoc whatsoever. Ingsoc is simply an excuse created by the Inner Party, who are in fact power-crazy, sadistic, psychopathic, mind rapists
Ingsoc, Oligarchical Collectivism, "we are at war with Eurasia / Eastasia / Oceania / Whatever," Big Brother, and/or Doublethink in general? They were simply made up by the Inner Party for the sole purpose of making excuses to capture "thoughtcriminals" so they can torture them and break them. Well, after all, O'Brien said that the pure motivation of the Party is not creativity, not any other purpose of Utopia Justifies the Means
, nor did consider themselves Well-Intentioned Extremist
s who are working to bring about Utopia, but they did admit that their only motivation is pure power. Power that is obtained by making others suffer. Also, the existence of doublethink would invalidate Ingsoc as a rational, coherent philosophy. They rose to power through the elaborate lie of "Big Brother" and "Utopia Justifies the Means
," and then put up surveillance telescreens everywhere because, well, what better way to psychologically rape people than to know their every private move and Black Mail
them using the information?
The Outer Party, in turn, exist solely for the purpose of being tortured. Well, everything from sex to dissent to anxiety to dreaming can be justified as "thoughtcrime" and thus consigns eventual torture. Which makes it worse for the Outer Party since they are the ones who are always inspected by the telescreens and thought police. Like poor Winston. Or Syme. Or Julia. Or Parsons, who might as well be this WMG's smoking gun since he was arrested despite being an obedient B.B.-worshipper. Of course, if the masses knew the real intentions of the Inner Party (that is, mass Mind Rape) all of the Outer Party would declare "Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!
", go Despair Event Horizon
and turn into a bunch of highly rebellious Nietzsche Wannabe
s who would say "We'll all be tortured anyway, so why don't we commit as much thoughtcrimes as we can and commit suicide?" With the Inner Party being power-hungry Nietzsche Wannabes themselves, why have a rival group of Nietzsche Wannabes? The entire system of systematic rape called Ingsoc would fall like dominoes.
And so they tried to pose Ingsoc and Big Brother as the focal point of all hope and love, so that the Outer Party would remain oblivious to the fact that they are going to be tortured, and the inner emotions of hope and love would intensify the catharsis (and if they do get captured, the existence of Big Brother would increase the guilt, which makes it more pleasurable for the Inner Party). After all, who's The Cutie when broken
? An annoying, rebellious Nietzsche Wannabe
who knows he is going to be tortured and simply bitches about all of us being sent to Room 101 and then unpersoned, with the tortures and Room 101's only serving as a validation of his philosophy and a lectural
humiliation to his torturers (The Joker
is an example, while being tortured, he laughs off and makes a total joke out of it, humiliating even Batman in the process
), or a Wide-Eyed Idealist
who still tries to cling to the naiveté of "hope" and "love
" while being constantly tortured, humiliated and raped, and slowly, tragically and painfully dragged into Despair Event Horizon
by the powers that be? Obviously, the latter, in almost all cases. Hope, love, idealism and other such cuteness are the most pleasurable to break (hence why we have the tropes The Woobie
and Break the Cutie
, both of which have immense appeal whether it's Victorian-era literature or anime), and Big Brother, as the focal point of all these positive emotions (Orwell himself said it in his Author Tract
), arouses them and thus maintains Outer Party members in a childishly innocent "Moe
" mentality while preventing them becoming Nietzsche Wannabes (if there are Nietzsche wannabes, however, they'll get unpersoned, promoted in the mass-orgy of nihilists called the Inner Party, or just remain as proles).
The ideology of Ingsoc is not a systematic, coherent philosophy, but rather a tool that simply serves the Inner Party's power hunger and desire to mind rape the members of the objectified Outer Party.
- This can be considered canon. O'Brien himself virtually openly admits it.
- Isn't that kinda the point of the novel?
So many evils shatter our dignity. As we all know, when we die, our brains are shut down, robbing us of feelings, thoughts, and even our humanity.
The Party is a metaphor of mortality/entropy/evil. The proles (ordinary people) are left to slowly rot as they are barely maintained by the illusion of safety until their souls are ready to be harvested, but those defiant enough to rebel against human misery (revolutionaries, dreamer of utopians...) are sorted out by the Brotherhood (things ostensibly working for a better world) and brainwashed in the Ministry of Love. Poor Winston, even he loves Big Brother, he is being driven closer to mental collapse, as his unconscious is still screaming for freedom, and the Party will shatter what has been left of Winston's Empty Shell
with a bullet.
When all other evils don't break us, death will surely do, digesting our very being, leaving some sort of excrement full of filth, pathogens, and screaming void of madness beyond logic and language
. The readers may ask, how does someone suffer when they are already dead and mindless? I don't know how, I don't understand what it is, but it's how things work in the horrors of 1984, where logic, objectivity, and hope are all lies. My brain already hurts from trying to comprehend the abomination that is human misery and death...
Oh, death is commonly thought to be the final rest, like Big Brother being hailed as an almighty, trusty leader and O'Brien being damn good at pretending to be nice.
Another clue comes from Warhammer 40,000
, where Nurgle, the Chaos god of diseases and death, is called Grandfather and is described as acting disturbingly nice
- 1984 isn't just a metaphor of how people are conditioned to accept their mortality and misery, it's literally Nurgle taking over a planet and ruling it with an iron hand clad with poisoned velvet globes!
- If we're going into 40K comparisons, you can pretty much say with utmost confidence that the Imperium is the Party made even more cruel, considerably more violent and mixed with the Holy Roman Empire and Nazi Germany; but, horrifyingly, made well-intentioned and even necessary for the preservation of the human race.
1984 is a description of Rei Ayanami's
mind, with only the flow of time reversed.
, no value for herself or her life indicating a self-esteem so low that Azathoth
himself could not sink more... The Party has always wanted everyone to be like that. Not only has she been a virtual slave to the bone to Gendo (Big Brother), but also she casually sacrifices herself for Shinji, submitting to the Party of Death/Bodily and Mental Harm as well (see 1984 as Death theory above). In the End of Evangelion, however
The Proles are the failsafe for the Party.
While he was reading the book that basically started the whole party system, Winston found a part that mentioned a failsafe in case the party got out of control, but he never did find out what it was. Later, at the end of the story, Winston decided that all hope somehow lies with the Proles. Then you realize that the Proles make up the majority of Oceania's population. Based on the inferred logic of the book, the best chance for change would be to get the Proles to rebel on behalf of the Outer Party. At the end of it all, the Inner Party would become the Outer Party, the Outer Party would become the Inner Party, and the Proles would still be Proles since they were never anything more than pawns. Not only is it possible, but with the manipulative editing of history, it's probably happened several times before!
The Book is a decoy created by the Party.
The book and the Brotherhood are fabrications of the Party. Realistically, they would suppress and kill any rebel completely. If the Brotherhood truly existed, it would be dangerous. The Brotherhood myth allows them to trap dissidents. The rumours spread by Party members tell of evil capitalism and "freedom" to get dissidents interested, and to scare the rest of the people. The book says that the three superpowers are ultimately unbeatable, and the war is just an excuse. But... Why would they write something so undermining of the message, so controversial? To implicate the readers permanently. These people understand that what they are doing is wrong, and then the Ministry of Love does its magic and flips you. Winston learns falsely that the Party is fighting a needless, unwinnable and unlosable war so dissidents do not try to sabotage or defect. Winston is neutralized without any mark — as no one really knows anyone intimately, they merely see someone come back from insanity. Killing them would make them martyrs; instead they are simply converted. This eliminates any opposition in Party members.
Therefore the only proof that Eastasia and Eurasia aren't democracies comes from the Party
. You can probably see where I'm going with this: Eastasia and Eurasia are actually an-national alliances of varying degrees of democracies. Much in the way the deluge of fleeing German
scientists enriched American
science, the flight of millions of Westerners enriches Asia. They don't have to be perfectly free, but they are decidedly not Big Brother. Capitalist America proved to be much more efficient in industrial terms in WW2
(despite what you might think
) and the two superpowers outrank Oceania in population. Now, the book claims they are run just like the Party, just like Ingsoc. That actually benefits the Party — the dissidents are convinced that nowhere is better off. It's a tactic used in North Korea, which projects their worst qualities on "Imperialist" America.
Now, what about the last scene? The war effort is in trouble: Eurasia is winning. Then, out of nowhere a miraculous counterattack is formed and Oceania is victorious. The crowd accepts this instantly. Obviously, one or both of these things is false. The likely lie is about the counterattack. In actuality, the war really did fluctuate in the fourth zone, but now Oceania is actually losing. Its initial brutality and organization led to early victories, but its malaise and lack of enterprise/creativity/ability to do Gambit Speed Chess
is the Party's downfall. However, the Party certainly cannot admit that, so they keep the lies going to continue their power as long as they can. Why would they tell of the lost ground in the first place? They have to set up the climax, the victory. The counterattack might have actually happened and failed horribly. No matter; like North Korea, they'll keep the lies going.
So, what does this all mean? This means that a degenerating, increasingly inefficient superpower is losing to two nations. Instead of diverting all resources to the war effort, however, the Party draws another historical parallel: That of Nazi Germany. The Nazi regime, when loss on the Eastern Front was growing more and more likely, actually doubled down on Holocaust efforts. Oceania at the point of Winston's imprisonment is spending enormous power on spying (those telescreens definitely don't power themselves and you need to pay the cops)
and torturing their citizens. Like the Holocaust, this diverts from the war effort. Like Nazi Germany in 1945, the Party is hell-bent on brainwashing as many people as possible, to retain emotional power over the people even as their power ends
. People this insane
are not uncommon in totalitarian governments. The Party is really in its death throes and the book (not a new invention by 1984) is its device to catch and convert any dissidents. It's a brilliant scheme and very well hidden. (The index on Newspeak being written in past tense supports this, as it could have been written after the fall).
...Ahem. Yeah, that's my theory.
Oceania makes up 3/4 of the world's surface.
Oceania would eventually evolve into Orks
Remember when O'Brien convinces Winston that the Party can control everything? What if the Party said that Red goes fasta? Yes. The Party will eventually technologically evolve the WAAGH field, remove sexuality completely (via asexual reproduction), and make its society feed literally on the permanent war. In addition, some Newspeak words do have two opposite meanings. I am pretty sure that the Ork word for "the best friend" is the same as "the favourite enemy."
Oceania isn't the world empire it is presented as, in fact it isn't even a superpower, it is a poor totalitarian state that convinced the population that it was a superpower with propaganda.
Aka: North Korea.
Room 101, and to an extension the entire fear-powered system of Oceania, in fact just relies
on the "fear drug" from Batman Begins
If the Ministry is going to physically tailor the regime to each and every one's worst fears every day even though those fears are totally absurd (fear of the eldritch, for example) the system would implode because Dystopia Is Hard
. A fear drug would be more efficient, and would fit in with how Oceania feeds and thrives on the fear of its inhabitants.
Eastasia and/or Eurasia are democracies.
The Party is insane and/or clinically depressed.
Think about it: Earth has become a massive nuclear hellhole where humans are definite bastards or morons
, while the Party themselves repressed their own biological instincts, destroyed even a single semblance of curiosity, became the political equivalent of And I Must Scream
, and been in tyrannical isolation for an indefinite amount of time. This is because they've become so miserable and nihilistic they feel the need to project their depression onto the rest of the citizens. They can't even be Driven to Suicide
because their collective sadistic power-hunger is the only thing keeping them going.
The Ministry of Love is actually exempt to the policy of sexcrime.
Why would everyone describe Winston's torture as a rape anyway?
Winston became a severe alcoholic in the end.
It's in the end chapters, along with the "I Love Big Brother" line.
- Isn't this a given? It says he just keeps ordering Victory Gin or whatever it was, not caring how far the bill stacked up.
- I believe it was him constantly going to the Chestnut Tree Cafe, but he was apparently undercharged every time.
- Doubtful Winston will live long enough to be an alcoholic.
Winston died of severe alcoholism in the end
The "He Loved Big Brother" part was a just a delusion and a dying dream, with him actually dying due to an upset liver
, which he ignored due to doublethink.
In the world of 1984, humanity suffers from a widespread pandemic of the Stockholm Syndrome
Oceania is bombing itself, and the proles know about it.
The idea is thus: It has been postulated before that Oceania has never been at war with Eastasia or Eurasia (or, possibly, neither nation exists) and simply acts as though it is at war in order to stay in control; therefore the idea that Oceania is bombing itself comes forth. In one instance, Winston mentions how the proles have an uncanny ability to know ahead of time when the rocket bombs will hit. The proles must know ahead of time because they're in on the secret!
- Julia had theorized this in the book. Supported by increase in bombings leading up to hate week,and all bombings happening to the proles.
The Outer Party IS NOT the equivalent of the middle-class.
The "middle class" referred here is more of a generalized term for a "class somewhere between the elite and the proletariat" rather than referring to the modern definition, which is the Capitalists. The Outer Party corresponds more to the bureaucrats, lower government officials and lesser Party members, where the Big Brother Is Watching
tactics would be more practical so that the bureaucracy at large can always be kept well-oiled and in order. The Middle Class is more likely to be a part of the Proles, with the Proles thriving on hedonism and being able to retain the free market, or have been exterminated during the Revolution. If the socialist Big Brother Is Watching
with No Sex Allowed
regime was applied to all the Middle Class and the Capitalist Bourgeoisie, the numerous Mega Corporations
would not be amused and would have revolted before Oceania was even established as a superpower, allowing either the complete extermination of the "Middle Class" or the prominence of a Brave New World
/ Jennifer Government
(or at the very least Fahrenheit 451
, or just pick any Cyber Punk
setting) society to take place instead since we all know capitalism thrives on excess, incentives and Dionysian hedonism (quite the exact opposite of English Socialism), and do you think the corporations and businessmen want to lose all that? It could be argued that the corporations fused together with the Inner Party, but that does not explain all the No Sex Allowed repression, and if Ingsoc is really corporate then they should care more for profit than "thoughtcrime" and pointless, worthless, profitless
- Maybe it's possible that the Mega Corporations have become the Inner Party...
- But No Sex Allowed, no materialism allowed, and Ingsoc oppresses even the higher-ups. Oceania seems to be more minimalist compared to a consumerist society. How would a Corrupt Corporate Executive like that?
- It's probably safe to say that Ingsoc isn't actually supposed to be purely socialist given Orwell's own well-documented socialist views. It's far more likely that Ingsoc is supposed to represent a regime more in line with Stalin or Hitler — nothing to do with socialism but still claimed some kind of connection to it to put up a good front. Still, to get back on track, there has to be some kind of topmost level to the regime. It's possible that the Corrupt Corporate Executives in question occupy that level.
Alternatively, the Party is a de facto Mega Corp.
hiding under socialism.
Proles are basically the consumers who keep buying crap media produced by the Party while ignorantly slaving away for them while on minimum wage in factories with No OSHA Compliance
, while we all know that the Party itself is a massive Military-Industrial Complex that only cares for War for Fun and Profit
. And all the profits are wastefully accumulated by the Corrupt Corporate Executive
s (Inner Party) who break their own rules (can you really trust an Inner Party member
saying he isn't a decadent hedonistic sex criminal?) while having occasional hobby of torturing their poorly-paid employees (Outer Party members) for the lulz
1984 either takes place before or after
the events of The Matrix
Before is kind of obvious (machines get superpowerful, overthrow humanity — same ol', same ol'). However, 1984 taking place after The Matrix
due to humans being restless after rebuilding the world.
- Before wouldn't make much sense. The point of 1984 is that there isn't a surplus, and technological progress is therefore static, and doesn't exceed whatever the State needs — in fact it seems to have receded. They wouldn't be able to progress to the point where the Matrix would be possible.
- But After would also make no sense. If This Troper would choose between a virtual And I Must Scream versus a virtual And I Must Scream without the feeling of And I Must Scream due to modified illusions in the neurons, I would choose the latter.
- How about 1984 takes place within the Matrix?
In 1984 it's mentioned that there was a nuclear war. In TL191, Britain was nuked by the German Empire three times.
Oceania is comprised of North and South America along with Britain. TL191 has the US annex Canada
and later the CSA.
Eurasia: The still living Russian
Clearly, after losing the war, Britain suffered another revolution that got the Party into power.
- This troper identifies Eurasia as the German Empire and its collection of European puppet kingdoms and principalities instead, while the USA-led republics merged into Oceania (this means that the empires of Brazil and Mexico were overthrown at some point during the German-Monarchist/American-Republican Cold War analogue). Post-War Republican Britain escaped German supervision thanks to closer relations with the United States and the greater American naval strength compared to the German one.
- An interesting theory except for one small detail: The book mentions that the Soviet Union had formed the superstate Eurasia, where as in TL 191 Russia remained a monarchy. Good theory, but doesn't work.
He's smart enough to see that even Inner Party members are oppressed under Ingsoc and that the Party is destroying the world. He can control his face so that people instinctively see him as trustworthy. The reader's led to think that this and his mind reading come from advanced Inner Party psychological science, but this contrasts with other things in 1984's world seeming decidedly backward; if they're innate abilities instead, then he could be using them on the Party as well. It's true that he destroyed Winston and Julia, but that was because he needed to maintain his cover; he couldn't trust them fully unless they showed they couldn't be broken.
- It has been pointed out that the essay on Newspeak is written in regular English and in the past tense. This implies that Ingsoc will eventually fall. If this was Orwell's intention, then it is quite possible that the Party is being subverted from within.
- How the hell does Newspeak being in the past tense imply Ingsoc is going to fall? I honest to God do not get the train of thought.
- The essay on Newspeak is part of the Nineteen Eighty-Four universe, meaning that if it's in the past tense, either the Party stopped using Newspeak and went back to regular English, which doesn't make sense because the Party was using Newspeak to restrict expressiveness in language, or the Party fell and people went back to using normal English because they had free will again.
- There is no indication whatsoever that the appendix is "part of the Nineteen Eighty-Four universe." It would make as much sense to suggest that the rest of the novel is an In-Universe post-Ingsoc biography of Winston.
- And he never admits nor denies the existence of the Brotherhood. He just tells Winston that he will never know if the Brotherhood is real or not.
- Going one better, if Winston's shooting himself was just a fantasy, rather than reality, then O'Brien saved him — it was either stop rebelling or get executed. And he may survive in the long term if Oceania loses the war.
- A slightly more sadistic version: O'Brien, being something of a psychopath, finds that he enjoys torture, but does not want to die. So he allies himself with the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood, recognizing his value, view him as a tool and allow him to join Mini Luv. While his purpose is partially to spy, it is also partially to find people like Winston and Julia whom he can excusably torture without harming the Brotherhood either way.
- He could also simply be not a psychopath, and be so hardened by the general state of things that he views his actions as mercy — he protects Winston and Julia from having to throw acid at children, and also from their own rebellion, even if it's in the only way he can. Repression doesn't leave just because you've left a society, after all.
...But this isn't consoling, because the dreamer was Boxer from Animal Farm
- Alternately, the dreamer was actually Benjamin from the film adaptation, so there is hope for a better future.
- Alternately, the chapter where Winston wakes up to his clock radio blaring Springsteen, puts on his shiny purplish jacket and narrow tie and gets into his Dodge Aries Austin Maestro is a lost manuscript.
Syme didn't get executed — he was promoted to the Inner Party.
Syme was smart, and through his work on the new edition of the Newspeak dictionary he obtained an understanding of how society really works. But while most people who do so turn into rebels, he was supporting it. The Inner Party saw his potential and decided to make him one of them.
It is important for the Inner Party to avoid any information leaking to the members of the Outer Party. For that reason any new IP members must sever all ties to their former OP acquaintances. The most effective way to do that is to give former OP members new identities and erase their old identities from existence by declaring them unperson.
The Party was once allied with Eastasia.
The Party was never allied with Eastasia. The Party has always been allied with Eurasia.
The Party is allied with Eastasia. The Party is at war with Eurasia. The Party has always been at war with Eurasia.
This also relies upon a certain amount of Doublethink
and the assumption that the three powers are in fact collaborating to maintain a world order. To wit:
- Oceania, by nature of its collaboration with both Eastasia and Eurasia, is allied to Eastasia and Eurasia respectively.
- However, all three sides are technically at war, and are thus technically not allied.
- Thus, the Party can pretend to switch allegiances and enemies without completely being wrong as such, as Oceania has both always been allied to, not allied to, and at war with both Eurasia and Eastasia. It just depends on which version of the truth it wants to present.
Eastasia, Eurasia, and Oceania don't exist.
The structure of the world as presented to Winston Smith (and the readers) is a lie created by England's totalitarian government to promote loyalty and deter rebellion in their subjects. It's entirely possible that the rest of the world is a democratic utopia or a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
- Can't parts of Britain in Real Life pick up French or Irish TV? Orwell's writing in The Forties would amplify this — AM radio carries very far sometimes, especially at night. The BBC's broadcasts into Nazi-occupied Europe would've been fresh on everyone's mind at the time.
- Okay, then it's entirely possible that Europe is a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
- Do people have radios? No, they don't. If the TV screens were connected by cable, then there isn't even the possibility of other nations jamming the signal.
- The government confiscates all the radios, shoots anyone who possesses one, and maintains the viewscreen network exclusively.
- This explanation is all but Word of God; see Orwell's "As I Please" column of May 12, 1944.
- On the other hand, the entire world may be under the control of one government that sends its citizens off to remote areas to fight one another under the pretense that they are fighting in a war. Notice how the heaviest fighting is always at sea, Africa, Antarctica or mainland Asia, not in the more populated regions, and always wavers back and forth?
- This is especially logical, since if Eastasia and Eurasia are essentially indistinguishable from Oceania, then they would likewise mimic the "allied with one against the other" gimmick. But with only three nations, you can't have all of them allied with one against the other; one of them will be left in the cold to go it alone. The only way to do it would be for the war to be a fiction maintained for the reasons outlined in the book-within-a-book. So, while the question of three superstates or just one is up grabs, the existence of the war is completely out of the question.
- They might not all be able to go two-on-one at the same time... But they could fake it. That, or maybe they occasionally go through "we are at war with the rest of the world; we have always been at war with the rest of the world" phases.
- It's also possible that each country always has soldiers fighting the other two countries, and that those soldiers are just constantly told "We're always at war with this country, we're allied with this other country." Since the allies never communicate on a basic level, the three countries don't even have to be in sync. Oceania could claim war on Eastasia and ally with Eurasia; Eastasia could declare war on Eurasia and ally with Oceania; and Eurasia could declare war on Oceania and ally with Eastasia, for example, and all three just ship soldiers out to fronts around the world, and no one would question it.
- Why there would be a need to suddenly switch enemies in the middle of a speech? If the fictional enemies only exist as a means to waste, wouldn't one enemy be enough?
- Perhaps the speaker simply mixed up the names Eurasia and Eastasia and ran with it.
- Remember, the Party's motivation is stated explicitly to be pure power. They're quite capable of pulling stunts like that just to revel in the fact that they can. In addition, by constantly changing "reality" and by coercing people into going along with it, they destroy people's confidence in their own memories, making it that much easier to change what is important. In other words, changing "who our enemy is" is effectively a way to train people to change their own memories when the State desires it.
- Even if the enemy countries are indeed fictional (which isn't confirmed, just conjectured), remember that party members honestly believe every single one of their own lies. Which means if they happen to decide to switch enemies in the middle of a speech, they've got to go through the motions that decision implies.
- It would also explain why Oceania is never at war with both Eurasia and Eastasia. Why is it those two would always be enemies, trading alliances with Oceania?
- This troper always thought that they switched to keep shaking things up. Otherwise, the war hype would plateau, especially since it's likely that many people believe it's a lie already. And keep in mind when the book was written. Also, Switching during the speech, as well as the power thing mentioned above, could've been done as a display of said power, as no-one openly acknowledged the change, thus preventing others from being open about it, too.
The rest of the world is progressing much as it always did (barring a few Alternate History
elements), but Britain has become a North Korea-like dictatorial black-hole of a nation.
No one is allowed in or out (easier because it's an island), and the government tightly monitors all communications, making it possible for the government to tell the people whatever the hell they like and have everyone believe them, with a few rockets being chucked at their own people and a few dissidents or foreign infiltrators dressed up as 'prisoners of war' to parade in front of the masses to convince them that they're constantly at war.
- Orwell specifically mentioned that most of the world was under the control of at least one of the super states. The areas that weren't were war zones. He also said that Oceania included most of western Europe, as well as almost all of the Americas, so it wasn't just an island. These might just be lies made by the Party, though.
- All the maps show all of continental Europe being controlled by Eurasia, which is presumably supposed to be an alternate USSR that kept pushing past Germany all the way to the coast. It makes sense if you follow the "Oceania is only Britain and the rest of the world is just fine" thing. "Yeah, we control an empire spanning across several continents. But the only part you'll ever get to go to is a dinky little island because the rest of it is separated by thousands of miles of ocean, and it's too dangerous for normal citizens to make that kind of trip during wartime.
- This WMG sheds a new light on Winston's memory of the fallout shelter incident. It could be that he government staged a nuclear holocaust on the British Isles, to the extent of convincing their own citizens that it was about to happen, so that the rest of the world would think the island was an irradiated, uninhabitable ground zero. This way no outside forces could come snooping around and stumble upon the state, which they might attempt to liberate. Anyone who does find a way in would be thrown in with the lot of those executed in public as Eur/Eastasian war criminals.
- This theory is the base assumption for this thread on the Alternate History forum website. Basically, the Ingsoc regime is the product of a socialist revolution in an alternate-history Britain of the 1950's, which was then overthrown in turn by hardliners in the revolutionary movement who set up the whole edifice of lies (with Oswald Mosley as Big Brother!), transforming Great Britain into an alternate-history version of North Korea.
- Which brings up the intriguing possibility of people doing a runner to France, and being surprised when it's not part of Oceania, as Oceania doesn't exist.
The world of 1984 is the result of the Old Ones
rising and disappearing.
The fascist control of every citizen's thoughts and lives is a direct result of the massive world-wide insanity and bloodshed that accompanied the return of the Old Ones. Rather than allow the utter collapse of human civilization, the few surviving governments of the world cracked down on all thought and emotion, leaving the vast majority of humanity mindless zombies. It's all there in the first paragraph of The Call of Cthulhu
"...Some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age."
The appendix implies that the Party will fall.
It's already been pointed out on this page, but let's make it official. The appendix is about Newspeak, in normal English, in the past tense; and it's implied to have been written sometime before 2050. Oh, and there's no other good reason to include it from the author's point of view, since we knew almost everything in it from reading the book; Orwell wasn't a big language guy like J. R. R. Tolkien
- It's also supported in the main text, if you think about it — for all the Party's warped logic and overconfidence, there's almost no way that the kind of continually degrading society like Oceania, where the only point of anything seemed to be to keep the system that was gradually making everything worse in place, would in any way be able to sustain itself for long before imploding.
- Orwell specifically said that the appendix shouldn't be taken as part of the story. Whether you think The Party will eventually fall is up to you to decide. It might not fall; it is the most stable political system imaginable.
- It would fall pretty quickly; the Party is only that stable because it's in a book. Once it's not in a book anymore, it's one of the least stable governments imaginable. Do you know of any government on Earth that kept up the shortages the Party does lasting much more than it already has? Or a government that only has one well-educated prole standing between it and a revolution?
- The Palestine Liberation Organization and the associated Islamic Resistance Movement. They've been at it for 43 years by a conservative count.
- North Korea. If you look for an isolated, starving, militarized nation characterized by extreme poverty and a very wealthy upper class, you have no other contender. Comparatively, Cuba is paradise. Even worse, its Dictators are worshipped like gods for any positive event. If you look carefully, you'll find they have both thoughtcrime, and a populace trained for terrorism.
- North Korea is only kept going by charity programs, drug dealing, and all kinds of other parasitic reliance on the developed world, and hasn't been invaded only because they have a lot of heavy artillery pointed at South Korea. And even then, nobody's sure if it'll survive the death of Kim Jong-il.
- They have so far.
- And not to mention the fact that freeing the North and reunification would effectively destroy South Korea's economy.
- Holocaust, I'm pretty sure.
- We only see Oceania as poor from the perspective of Winston. Just because he's poor as dirt, doesn't mean the nation and the Party are. For all we know, Oceania as a whole is thriving, with the wealth merely concentrated on the Inner Party (or whoever you think is running the show). If that is the case, then they can, in fact, keep up their just-for-fun torture gimmick forever, as long as the social structure remains as solid as they predict.
- Winston may have written the index after the Party fell, before they had the chance to execute him.
- But they did execute Winston. It says right at the end they shot him.
- No; that scenario is Winston's hallucination, the natural consequence of what is happening at the time (that is, his final, unconditional love of Big Brother). Although that doesn't make it likely that he ever snapped out of it...
- It wouldn't even need a half-decent rebellion to collapse the society — they're reducing people's intellect and self-reliance until the vast majority will be unable to take care of themselves, and the people in charge won't be able to live forever (as far as I know). Eventually, the remaining infrastructure will completely collapse because nobody knows how to maintain it. Heck, if the Party's plans go through they might forget how to breed. And if there's an actual war every going on, invaders could pretty much walk into the place.
- This would sound like it would lead into the Idiocracy universe, except for the lack of what technology still works by 2505.
- Except that the entire book is also written in past tense, and in modern English.
The main character never did get back into the party after being tortured: It was all a hoax to get him off the radar.
Orwell didn't understand environmentalism.
The Party hopes to rule forever. What Orwell didn't realise was that the Party's environmentally-unfriendly policies will eventually destroy the planet's ecology. Their subjects will finally be free (albeit dead).
- Maybe good ol' overpopulation among the proles and the resulting food shortage will cause a huge economic collapse and/or food riots...
- Hasn't worked for North Korea yet.
- It's more probable that oil runs out first, and then the whole system will break together. Eastasia might be the first state to fall.
- Well, eventually the sun will implode, and that would break Party rule. Besides, the Party would no doubt eventually realise their environmental woes and do something drastic about it — like immediate full-scale adoption of solar power. Remember, they're prepared to do pretty much anything if their precious power is threatened, and so they would probably weather the oil hump better (or at least in a more organised manner) that we will in Real Life.
- They'll probably switch to nuclear power rather then solar, since that technology exists. Sure there may be a couple meltdowns, but as far as they're concerned that's not a serious problem (and they can always be blamed on traitors and spies).
- There aren't many incentives for people to become good scientists in the 1984 world. The Soviet Union didn't develop solar or wind power on a great scale either.
- It's not because of lack of good scientists, but because of the Soviet Union's large deposits of mineral fuel. Faced with an oil shortage, it wouldn't be a problem to develop an alternative energy source in the 1984 world.
- The problem with the Party noticing about the environment is that they just won't care. Sure, the sun will implode, oil will run out, but never, and I mean never, expect The Party to be pro-nature. Remember, their science is devoted to war, Big Brother worship and general nihilism, not restoration and cooperating with mother nature. You need resources for constant war, and environmentalism would just be a big hindrance to that. They, being massive torture-obsessive dicks and all, will just ignore it via doublethink, and think the Carbon Dioxide they generate and breathe is Oxygen while everyone else suffocates. The Party is an Idiocracy that essentially thrives on its own arrogance by deluding themselves as Reality Warpers whose only care is power and Big Brother, and understanding the environment would cause love of nature, which will of course turn devotion away from war / power / Big Brother, weaken Party rule and put them closer to proles and thoughtcrime, and that is bad. For example, like sex, which is natural but also turns devotion away and thus becomes heresy. For now, allow their hubris to kill them: This Troper imagines a delicious scene where After the End a few hardy Proles that are closer to earth are all that remain, with the Party and civilization having killed themselves via Global Warming and Gaia's Vengeance. Yes, yes, I Call It Karma.
1984 is 1948.
This is more Alan Moore
's theory than mine (see The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier
), but essentially; the novel is set in 1948 (or thereabouts), not 1984. London looks as if it's constantly had the shit kicked out of it because it very recently has; it's just come out of World War II
. Granted, this doesn't explain Winston Smith's childhood or the A-Bomb dropped on Colchester, but the bomb could have been a final hurrah of an almost-defeated Nazi Germany that managed to develop a single atom bomb and decided on a spiteful 'F-you' to Great Britain via V-2 rocket, and Winston's childhood memories could be explained by him being younger than we think (as growing up in the society of "1984" would prematurely age someone if nothing else would); his half-formed memories of his childhood are of growing up in World War II
and the post-war civil unrest after the atom bombing that led to Airstrip One blurring together, and a man who can't remember what year it is isn't going to be the most reliable person to ask regarding his own age. This also doesn't necessarily explain why people would suddenly lose track of time if it's only been about four years — although getting rid of calendars, clocks and other time-keeping devices would help make it difficult for people to remember; diaries are banned, remember? — but it's Moore's theory. It is supported by the fact that Orwell originally intended to call the book '1948' and set it contemporaneously.
- Also supported by the fact that, according to the BBC's docudrama Space Race, the whole "A-bomb and V-2" thing was one of the reasons the Americans wanted to capture the rocket scientists so badly. So, we know that historically, SOMEBODY considered the idea.
- That was not what Mr. Moore was suggesting. It seemed to simply be an alternate continuity of the 1984-verse, where the Ingsoc government rose to power but fell quickly rather than establishing the hold they had gained over Britain by the time of the events of 1984. The government would have had to be around for far more than just a couple of years to institute the level of (what amounts to) mass mind control they have going on, and by the end of 1984, the government shows no signs of collapsing. And way too much infrastructure and culture are left behind in Black Dossier for it to have occurred after the events of the book. (The inclusion of the 1984 continuity in Black Dossier was a cheap gimmick, considering it made no difference whatsoever to the story; but hey, what was The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen if not a cheap gimmick?)
Julia is a spy.
She's a spy or a prostitute ordered to seduce Winston to entrap him. It's surely not coincidental that, not long after Winston purchases the diary from Mr. Carrington's shop (he was revealed to be a spy later in the novel and would presumably report Winston's actions), Julia starts coming on to Winston and starts inspiring rebellious thoughts in him. Just because the Party disapproves of sex doesn't mean they wouldn't use it to hunt out possible dissidents.
- This is precisely the function of "Jane," the Julia stand-in of the ''1984''-based Tijuana Bible in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier. That Tijuana Bible is a Party publication loosely disguised as subversive pornography ("YOU NOT DO THIS!" being the moral).
The Ingsoc party eventually evolves into the Eloi, and the Proles eventually evolve into the Morlocks.
A Clockwork Orange
- Other way around. The Morlocks are smart and aggressive, and live hidden away from public view, while the Eloi are bred as incurious, passive cattle for the slaughter.
- Isn't the point of the book that the social order eventually flipped around?
takes places almost entirely in Prole Sector and the Prole-equivalent of the Ministry of Love, which is more like a typical London urban prison than Room 101, since "only the proles and the animals are free."
- A Clockwork Orange, the original novel, was set in the early 1970's — maybe the Ludovico Technique was an early experiment by the predecessors of the Ministry of Love.
- Also, "The Rubinstein veck came in with: 'You will see, boy, that the Party will not be ungrateful. Oh, no. At the end of it all there will be some very acceptable little surprise for you. Just you wait and see.'"
Eurasia and Eastasia are allies.
One thing that's always bugged me is why they only switch between being at war with one and being at war with the other. There's never a period when the two are allied to fight Oceania. It seems like all three scenarios would get equal time. In reality, they're planning to conquer Oceania and split it, so one of them pretends to be allied, giving false reports about fighting the "enemy" to Oceania, and rests up and lets their armies recover. Meanwhile, the other continues to soften Oceania up. Eventually, they'll invade together, when they're sure they'll win.
- Or it could be part of the lie, designed so it never looks hopeless for whichever country you live in.
- Or it's simpler than that: Eurasia and Eastasia share a border, while Oceania is the undisputed ruler of the Americas, Australia, and the British Isles, the sea making them virtually impossible to invade successfully.
The "disputed region" is a powerful democracy.
It is implied that the fifties and sixties saw a world war that led to the current political scheme. Wouldn't there have been a flow of refugees from the areas getting nuked (such as Europe) to the areas not getting nuked (such as the Middle East, North Africa, and India
)? These refugees provided the knowledge to industrialize much of Africa and the Middle East. When the superstates invade, this catalyzes the formation of Earth's last democracy. Lacking an industry or population devastated by nuclear war, and blessed with natural resources, the Democrats have been able to hold off the superstates. The superstates claim that the area is disputed because they cannot admit the truth — that a functioning democracy exists and is stronger than all three superstates combined. Otherwise, the populace would be dismayed — or worse, seek to join the Last Democracy.
- And the Last Democracy is Israel.
- That seems analogous to the Book of Revelation, where basically the Israelites fight a global dictatorship.
After Airstrip One collapsed under the weight of its own corruption, people rejected the totalitarian socialism of The Party and over-corrected by switching to rampant capitalism.
O'Brien is Big Brother and
Emmanuel Goldstein in a brilliant Evil Plan
Big Brother is hands-on and sadistic. The original Big Brother was Emmanuel Goldstein. O'Brien overthrew him and his cronies in the early sixties and has been running the show ever since. After killing Goldstein, O'Brien made him the subject of the Two Minutes Hate and used the Party's propaganda techniques to erase all memory of Goldstein being Big Brother. Afterward, O'Brien erased everyone who helped him rise to power. O'Brien was thus able to create an elaborate fiction to consolidate his power. He did so by playing three roles: Big Brother, the charismatic dictator; Emmanuel Goldstein, the rebel who threatens Oceania; and O'Brien, the Inner Party member who pretends to serve Goldstein but serves Big Brother.
As Goldstein, O'Brien can control the existence of any rebellion. Why start a new resistance when one already exists? As O'Brien, he scopes out rebels who threaten his power and tortures them when he discovers them. By being Big Brother and
O'Brien, he can prevent the death of Big Brother. The Brotherhood wouldn't kill O'Brien, since he's one of them; the Party won't kill O'Brien because he serves the vital purpose of hunting down rebels. If he were to be Big Brother openly, he would be open for assassination either by a resistance or by usurpers in his own Party. Instead, the public face of Big Brother is played by the long-dead and long-forgotten Communist dictator Josef Stalin.
They're just as dull and nihilistic as the anti-spirals. Once they become successful in evolving into a Hive Mind
, gain Reality Warper
powers (Doublethink is an attempt at reality control while turning you into a mere on/off switch) and go out into space, they take it upon themselves to drive any race they can find to absolute despair
. All of their talk about the end of the universe is just an attempt at propaganda.
- Also, the Proles evolve into the Spirals because 'proles are free' and have the potential for change.
- Alternatively, the anti-spirals set up the Party. Spiral energy depends on straightness of motivation, which is thoroughly damaged by Doublethink. However, they focused too much on the doublethinking process so much they forgot the Proles, one of which would eventually become Simon...
- Wow. That makes the ending even awesomer...
Big Brother does not exist.
The government of Oceania is based entirely on Rule of Law; that is, there is no one at the top of the chain of command. Each members of both the Inner and Outer Party constantly watch each other and do what is dictated in an oppressive constitution. The highest ranking members of the Inner Party don't even understand why; they're just held in line by the fear that if they do anything 'subversive', they will be tortured and executed.
- That and being bribed into inactivity by having access to anything they want, as far as the Party can supply it.
- I like the idea of a country without any law whatsoever to be based entirely on Rule of Law.
- Big Brother has to exist. The Party says he exists. Big Brother says he exists. Thus Big Brother exists. You, however, do not exist.
- I'm pretty sure that it was highly implied that Big Brother doesn't exist, and never existed in the first place.
- The Big Brother the public know of probably does not exist. However, it is implied that there is some kind of central authority, probably a Politburo.
The last entry does not exist. It never did.
This announcement brought to you by the Ministry of Truth. Of course, the Ministry of Truth had nothing at all to do with it. In fact, this whole page was probably written by Goldstein, and is to be disregarded.
Totalitarian control over people fighting a war with a high casualty rate? Constantly shifting alliances so that no one is eliminated? Yes. It's just Risk.
All it takes is five simple words spoken at a gathering of proles to topple the party.
Those words, "They're taking away the vodka" — that'll snap them out of their stupor. All it takes is a party altruistic party member to force himself on stage during hate week and the speaking of the words, and the proles will finally rebel. It's the only thing keeping them sedated. You know how Prohibition failed, after all.
The Party is secretly ruled by the pigs from Animal Farm
It's obvious! 1984 is set many years after Animal Farm. Napoleon and the pigs began making deals with humans at the end. Having completely subjugated their fellow animals on the farm, they are increasing their sphere of influence. It starts with making business deals; then they're entrepreneurs in charge of huge franchises. Then they get massive influence with the government, surpassing Bill Gates
in wealth. Finally, they take over the government and institute massive amounts of propaganda; they take over the schools and condition children to serve them, instituting the practice of Doublethink. Eventually, everyone's too stupid to remember what happened, including the true humans. Eurasia and Eastasia are also controlled by rival animal farms led by pigs. Napoleon or one of his descendants is Big Brother. Also, he shoots lightning from his hands now.
- That gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "only the proles and the animals are free."
- Although the Inner Party isn't exactly free, considering they can't hide from surveillance for more than 30 minutes or so.
- Of course, Snowball is still in hiding under his new alias, Goldstein.
- Oh, and SPAM in Oceania is made of prole.
Both contain 3 superpowers, with one controlling the Americas, one controlling Europe and one controlling Asia. It's evident that areas controlled by the superpowers are renamed in both, for example United Kingdom renamed to Airstrip One in 1984, and Japan renamed to Area 11 in Code Geass, both coincidentally by Oceania and Britannia respectively.
- Or better yet, 1984 is the aftermath of Code Geass where Schneizel won. Lelouch lost the battle of Mt. Fuji, enabling Schneizel to rise above the atmosphere and nuke the world's major cities under the pretense of "Atomic Wars." With the destruction of the United Federation of Nations, his pansies took over Britannia, while the Chinese Federation freed Japan, causing the creation of Oceania and Eastasia respectively. Lelouch, however, changed his identity into Emmanuel Goldstein to fulfill his two desires: To be hated and to rebel against the Establishment. This was based on the fact that it was stated that Schneizel's plan will cause the world to be stuck in the present, and 1984's world is stuck in the present.
- The name of their ideology is translated as "Obliteration of the Self", right?
- So, Death worship is actually Desu Worship? Eastasia is better, it has memes and anonymity hence Rule 34 hence way more better than anti-sexual Ingsoc, better move to Eastasia.... *unpersoned by Thought Policemen*
- According to Orwell himself, it's supposed to be a totalitarian deformation of Buddhist and Taoist teachings. Might be a Take That on Mao's instrumentalization (and subsequently violent deformation) of Confucianism in his own ideology.
- Observe that Big Brother is powered by the GIFT, like V, although he uses it for pure power...
It is stated explicitly in The Book that the three governments of the world effectively operate identical control methods: the blind unquestioning worship of a semi-divine leader, the celebrated execution of anyone deemed an impurity upon society, and the relentless digestion of information to further a dictatorship. Without any rivals to stand against him, the great Lord Kira rose in Japan and created a superpower that answers solely to his ideals, and methods of teaching. All those who discredit his power would be seen as traitors and executed (it is not outside of Kira's interests to make the cause of death a gunshot). As there are three equally-matched superpowers in unbreakable deadlock, it makes sense that all three superpowers are run by people who own Death Notes (possibly after Sidoh returned to the Shinigami realm, and other Shinigami wanted to see what happens for themselves). Whilst the Outer Party (and foreign equivalents) would understand the telescreens are necessary for defence, and the detection of spies and thought criminals, none whatsoever would know their true
purpose is a plan
to detect whether any more notebooks come to Earth. If there may be six operational Notes in the world at any time, obtaining these could prove all-important in ending the war and crushing the enemy states, who dared to challenge the rule of Lord Kira.
- Light Yagami wasn't even born in 1984.
- He who controls the present controls the past. Lord Kira controls all Asian media, including Manga and anime, which means the dates have been deliberately altered to confuse the enemies of Lord Kira and the state; namely, all those who answer to Eastasia's hated enemy, L.
- So Eastasia is ruled by Kira, Eurasia is ruled by L and Wanny/Mellow is Big Brother?
- More like L is Big Brother of Ingsoc, which is set in Britain (L is somehow British), and Kira is Emmanuel Goldstein, ruler of Eastasia. L never showed his face to the public, but he knows your every move...
- The viewscreens also help ensure that Kira can kill whoever he needs to, since he needs to know their name and have seen their face to do it.
- Does that mean Kira doesn't need Room 101, since traitors can be given "heart attacks" even before they can actually dissent?
The end of the book is Winston's promotion to the Inner Party.
- In other words, the Brotherhood and the Inner Party are one and the same!!!
The Inner Party is made up of former rebels who have gone through the torture process Winston did.
This theory is Exactly What It Says on the Tin
. At the end of 1984, Winston remarks that he loves Big Brother, his mind was warped the listen to The Party, and it's not too clear on whether he dies. Since Winston believes everything The Party says, and the Inner Party does as well, isn't it possible that the Inner Party is made of people like Winston, whose minds have been messed with so that they believe The Party, no matter what?
- In addition to that, Winston will eventually take over O'Brien's job as a torturer. O'Brien was actually planning to pass the torch to Winston all along; one of the purposes of torturing him was to show him how it's done properly.
- Perhaps Goldstein was also O'Brien's torturer once long ago?
The Party Is ultimately unsustainable, and will ultimately die a fitting death
While I admit North Korea is a pretty damn efficient and long lasting state, this is primarily because they are a mostly peaceful one. You need resources for constant war, and those resources will run out sooner or later. While the Ingsoc are living it up pretty good right now (relatively), they will collapse under their own weight, their own plan for keeping the world dominated having exhausted them.
This does not make it any more than a Bittersweet Ending
however-resources are needed for machines of peace, as well. But it isn't nearly as much of a downer as many tropers seem to think.
- North Korea... Efficient? Not so much...
- Huh, almost the same idea and example as mine. 'Cept mine was more 'eventually their civilisation will collapse and reduce everyone to living in caves'. Ooh, speaking of which...
1984 is in the ancient past.
The self-destructive spiral of the Party's idea of society eventually causes it to completely collapse — communication breaks down, the technology falls apart, and everyone's reduced to sticks and foraging. From the dust of Oceania, the survivors end up building civilization anew.
- And history will repeat itself. Once every 3968 years.
- And the survivors who rebuild civilization will come from the Prole sector, whose arrival is marked by the inspirational words "Believe in you who believes in yourself..."
- Jossed by repeated references to figures from recorded history-O'Brien compares the Party's methods to the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, Syme tells Winston that in 2050 the works of Shakespeare, Chaucer and Kipling will only exist in Newspeak translations, and Winston thinks of his made-up Commander Oglivy as having become "as real as Charlemagne or Julius Caesar" or something like that, meaning that it must be a post-WWII society.
Oceania's eventual collapse, hinted at by the appendix, was brought about when one of the three superstates was brought down.
The equilibrium of power that keeps Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia together relies on all three states surviving. Take one out of the equation, and the others will quickly fall.
We are all living in '1984' reality now, and we all use doublethink to convince ourselves that we don't.
I mean, seriously, can you prove it wrong?
- I'd actually think that we're the proles. Have you seen all the cheap mass-produced crap we have on TV? Not to mention the whole thing where he describes the typical life of one, the whole marrying at thirty and dying at sixty bit. And those proles at the bar could be any average Joes.
Big Brother is an unseen omniscient ruler who loves us all, and we must love him, or we'll get sent to Room 101
- This is even lampshaded in the book at one point, when O'Brien compares the Party to the medieval Catholic Church.
- You use the dominant religion to prop up the power of the regime, which is incredibly easy to do and historically successful. Religions are very good at finding groups to demonize. Goldstein is a Jewish name, after all...
- No, the book Goldstein supposedly wrote compares the Party to the medieval Catholic Church. O'Brien compares the Party to Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany.
- Speaking of Goldstein, if Big Brother is God, then Goldstein is Satan. Formerly a high-ranking underling of Big Brother, turned against his master, is blamed for anything bad that happens...
- A version of this theory is popular with atheists. The main idea is that totalitarian ideology and religious dogma are essentially the same thing. Both advocate disregarding logic in favor of "group think," extreme worship of an abstract figure or else, condemning deviation of thought to eternal damnation and other such Disproportionate Retribution, severe bans on harmless pleasures for no reason except "he said so," etc. The only difference between a modern secular dictatorship like Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany and a religious one such as Islamic Iran or the Medieval Catholic Church, is that the god of the secular regime is based on a real human being (Stalin or Hitler), while the theocracy worships an entirely imaginary being (Allah or God). Thus, it doesn't really matter if Big Brother is a real person or not, he is still functionally a "god" to the population, and the philosophy of Oceania is still a religious dogma of sorts. Of course, the regime of Oceania officially condemns religion, but what do you expect from the people who invented thoughtcrime, Newspeak and doublethink? To quote George Orwell himself:
"A totalitarian state is effectively a theocracy, and its ruling caste, in order to keep its position, has to be thought of as infallible."
Big Brother is George Mc Fly
, except he never found love.
Doublethink works by exploiting the logic of people. It is the power to hold two contradictory beliefs and believe in both of them. But amidst of all the lies there is a Reality Warping aspect of Doublethink.
- Here's how it works: There is a Quantum-Mechanics experiment called the "Double-slit experiment." When electrons aren't measured individually, they create an interference pattern, act like waves and pass through both of the slits; but on closer and individual observation, they act like particles and pass through one of the slits. Doublethink works by simultaneously holding two contradictory ideas in the initial phase, but when a particular situation comes and "observes" the mind of the subject (such as the coming of The Party), one belief grows much more stronger while the other is hidden away in the unconscious, causing the person performing Doublethink to evade unhappiness and continue to live in peaceful bliss. To get the analogy, replace Doublethink with Double-slit Experiment, the waveform with the proles, and the slits with mutually contradictory ideas. In other words, Doublethink is the Double-slit experiment performed using the sole power of the mind.
- There is another called the "Schrödinger's Cat" paradox. A cat, along with a flask containing a poison, is placed in a sealed box shielded against environmentally induced quantum decoherence. If an internal Geiger counter detects radiation, the flask is shattered, releasing the poison that kills the cat. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that after a while, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when we look in the box, we see the cat either alive or dead. That's exactly how Doublethink works.
- The conclusion is, Doublethink is a Quantum Mechanics-based reality warping power. However, when tried in Real Life, Doublethink cannot work because of consensus reality (reality being based on the belief and determinism of the masses). The Inner Party tried to exploit this, contributing to the efficiency of the Oceanian bureaucracy. Also, the reason why the Inner Party didn't become outright reality warpers is because they focused on turning all humans into Schrödinger's cats through Pavlovian conditioning, are still dogmatic, in despair, and horrible at maths.
Doublethink is Orwell's secret Take That
/ parody / satire of quantum mechanics.
Ever since the guys at Copenhagen came up with the idea that matter particles are also simultaneously energy wavefunctions that are collapsed into matter particles through probability and observation, people started making wild mass guesses where a person can become a reality warper through simply collapsing mutually-contradictory wavefunctions (I'm looking at you, New Agers
). The idea of particle-wave duality and its potential reality-warping abilities was satirized in the form of doublethink and Ingsoc, where ideology is based on wavefunction collapse and everyone is a Schrödinger's Cat but in fact everything is being controlled by the powers that be with a delusion that they can collapse wavefunctions and "warp reality" because they simply can.
- Alternatively, the Party is a Take That on the philosophy of the Vienna Circle. For example, Newspeak reminds much of the "ideal language" Ludwig Wittgenstein proposed in the Tractatus.
How come only Airstrip One (Great Britain) is shown while other areas of Oceania, such as the Americas, which are supposed to be ridden by ignorant proles, weren't shown? Why does Big Brother only observe the Party? The truth is, the so-called Oceania is a micronation made up of exiled Britons who want to indulge themselves in constant propaganda. The proles in the Americas, however, can use Doublethink in the way they want to, since a Big Brother Is Watching
scheme cannot apply to the half of the world (Americas). These proles might actually be intelligent; the only similarity is that both Party and Proles use Doublethink, but the Party is Doing It Wrong
, and the Proles treat it as a handy tool.
Winston Smith actually lives in a world similar to Real Life
. 1984 was a nightmare brought on by something he ate...
- He must have had one of my infamous bacon quesadillas...
The Cannon Fodder
story in Memories
takes place in the same universe as 1984.
City of cannons, always at war? Doable. Definite hierarchy (where there's the people who load the cannon and the sole man who wears shiny medals and fires the cannon? Check. For all we know, they're the ones firing on Airstrip One.
The Party Will Inevitably Fall
Slowly but surely the entire world is falling backwards and the standard of living is collapsing more and more. Since the entire human race is basically insane, nobody will notice and all resources will be focused into continuing the apparatus of terror upon the public. The world will eventually reach a point where industrialization is lost (either through economic disintegration or just purely out of all resources being gobbled up) and then the Party will no longer have even the technology to control all of Britain. At that point society will fall back into a rustic medieval form and human life will begin again.
- The party will fall because it lacks the flexibility to deal with an unexpected stress, and even if it can control its own people and economy, the first outside catastrophe to hit it will knock it over.
The Party will fail because Newspeak cannot be learned as a native language.
It occurred to me that everybody in the book who is taught Newspeak is already an adult able to speak classic English. But according to psycho-linguistics, there is a critical period where learning one's native language works in a very different way than learning a secondary language, especially a rather limited, artificially primitivized language game like Newspeak. It may turn out that Newspeak can only be taught to people as a secondary language who already know and speak a native language. If that is true, Newspeak can never replace the full English language, but only reduce it retroactively.
- The problem is that there are a lot of natural languages — the agglutinative languages — which work perfectly and just like the Newspeak. And it is perfectly possible for a native speaker to express prohibited contexts with those languages. For example, there were severe difficulties on translating the concept of Newspeak to Finnish, because the Finnish language is agglutinative, and works exactly that way — and like a river, the agglutinative language will eventually find a way to express anything. The corpus of agglutinative languages is small, but it is childishly easy to neologize new words and concepts by using the corpus. Concept of "epähyvä" (ungood) is perfectly good Finnish. If words are weapons, teaching Newspeak to children is basically giving a loaded gun to them.
- It could easily be taught as a native language. Just because it's a limited, primitive language doesn't matter at all to the developing brain. The real danger is children coming up with idiosyncratic variations on the language, as in the case of Nicaraguan Sign Language — a bunch of deaf children put together with no vocabulary will develop a robust language based on what limited language skills they have — simple hand gestures. Kids who learn Newspeak as a native language would cause a lot of semantic drift without a constant barrage of conditioning.
- What he probably meant is that adults cannot learn Newspeak as their default language of thought. There's a critical period (childhood) which separates learning a native language from learning a second language. After puberty, language learning becomes inefficient, and that is why adults find it awkward to, for example, transliterate English directly into Chinese (resulting in reckless "Blind Idiot" Translation) and vice versa. Genie is one of the most notable cases of adults being incapacitated in learning any language because they were never able to learn a childhood native language in the first place.
Winston Smith is in Hell.
Think about it, a Crapsack World
where Mind Rape
is an accepted punishment and an omnipresent entity watches your every move... Hell, it is even worse than the popularly considered Hell
Winston Smith is in Heaven.
A Hell of a Time
. 'Nuff said.
O'Brien was once Goldstein.
He eventually defected, and now use the Brotherhood to entrap dissents.
Because everyone must use doublethink, even its rulers are enslaved by Oceania.
1984 is actually an alternate history imagined in a world where the Axis won WW2
The 3 main evil superpowers are the victorious allies USA-UK, USSR, China, which absorb Germany and Japan. With the Axis vanquished the evil Allies divide up the world. This also explains the role assigned to Goldstein.
- So you say it's an Alternate History novel written from the perspective of an Alternate History?
1984 is actually over the top Eurasian propaganda about Oceania.
- No, not possible. We have always been at war with Eastasia and have always been allied with Eurasia.
- Winston isn't sure of his exact age, right? And they both have dark hair...
- Hence why the Party cracked down on them, it wasn't because they were having sex for pleasure (seriously, how can sex for pleasure be a threat to the power hunger of the Party? It's like saying playing with an old, harmless toy is a threat to your mom, or TV Tropes is a threat to Wikipedia), it was because of the outright Squick that even the Party and Big Brother himself can't handle...
- Winston's hair is "very fair."
- Sex leads to attachments, which lead to people's loyalties being outside party needs. That is why they hate it. Almost every totalitarian system in history has despised sex, from Phillip and Isabella to Stalin.
The Party won't fail but it will simply drift away from the proles.
- Eventually the Party will become so wrapped up in its Doublethinking and Newspeaking that they will become completely ineffective in even communicating with the Proles. The Proles will set up their own government, possibly a primitive feudalistic one, the Party will regard this as beneath their notice and the Prole will regard the Party as that odd group of hermits up in the three buildings.
- And the ignorant, unchanging Party will be wiped out by Natural Selection. Yay!
1984 is set in the same universe as Brazil
- And just like that film's protagonist, Winston ultimately goes mad after being tortured, and the end of the novel is all in his head.
- Terry Gilliam even wanted to name his film 1985 (or 1984 and a Half, I think) for a while, so that may have been the intent.
"Oranges and Lemons" implies the Party's plan isn't foolproof.
- Winston spends the book trying to recall the words to the children's rhyme 'Oranges and Lemons'. O'Brien adds some lines to those he has accumulated when Winston is captured. "You knew the last line!" Winston exclaims, and O'Brien confirms this. But he didn't: O'Brien's addition only gives us:
- 'Oranges and Lemons, say the Bells of St. Clement's
- You owe me five farthings, say the Bells of St. Martin's
- When will you pay me, say the Bells of St. Mary's
- When I am rich, say the Bells of Shoreditch.'
- And then rounds it off with the couplet 'here comes a candle to light you to bed, here comes a chopper to chop off your head' that is often added on as part of a steeple game. But O'Brien didn't know the last line, the song as almost always sung has:
- 'When will that be, say the Bells of Stepney
- I do not know, says the Great Bell of Bow.'
- Before the final couplet. Orwell would surely have known it, this is the version that children all over Britain sing (there are sometimes extra lines before 'Oranges and Lemons', but very few people know them). So there is something the Party doesn't know. Perhaps a tiny little note of hope?
Eastasia is Imperial Japan, not China.
1984 takes place in an alternate history where Japan successfully negotiated a conditional surrender ending World War II
without the use of nuclear weapons. This allowed Japan to maintain most of their conquered territory and their military prowess, and it explains why America and Russia would be so willing to use nuclear weapons against each other, and only after fighting a nuclear war do the superpowers wind up in BSOD to cause them to do anything to avoid another nuclear war.
- That means "Death Worship" is basically Weabooism...
- No, "Death Worship" (or, more accurately, "Obliteration of the Self") is 4chan. Anonymoose is Legiun.
- In other words, since Eastasia is Japan, that means in Eastasia there is no such thing as sexcrime. Better move to Eastasia *unpersoned*
The Party will scrap the whole Newspeak plan.
I mean, come on. 85% of the population is too stupid to even begin to structure a dissenting thought, and you have an elite force that does very well
with the fragments of the other 15% that do have the mental capabilities to structure dissenting thoughts. Why on Earth do you need to restructure the whole language when the above is present?!
- Cognitive Dissonance brought on by the English Language. Doublethink as a concept is fairly easy, just accepting and saying "Yes" to mutually contradictory statements at the same time (in other words, silent obedience). However, the biggest obstacle against doublethink is language. "Oldspeak" English, with its definite and concrete synonyms, antonyms, and grammar, is just precise, sharp, hard, and logical. The structure of English itself makes Doublethink uncomfortable. For example, try believing that Democracy is heretical while also believing that the Party is the defender of Democracy IN ENGLISH. While doing so, you might feel a compulsion to just make it all logical and sensible, and you might come up with the conclusion that "Democracy is heretical and the Party is the defender of democracy, ergo, the Party is heretical." Try Doublethinking about everything in English, and the compulsion to reduce the dissonance is felt again and again. Newspeak, as a more agnostic and uncertain language that lacks dissonance-creating antonyms, is designed to make the usage of doublethink easier (hence concepts like blackwhite, ungood, etc.)
- Wasn't it intended for these people to automatically logic so that the Party can have more people to unperson?
- I specifically think Newspeak is intended for the proles, to keep them dumb and low. Dystopia Is Hard if you're going to implement a massive Big Brother regime, hence why it's only limited to Party members, but to teach language you only need parents or an elementary language teacher.
When the final edition of Newspeak is completed, and when the majority of Oceania use Newspeak as a mother language, the Party will scrap the whole doublethink plan.
Let's face it: Doublethink is highly uncomfortable when used with English. Newspeak, being innately euphemistic and agnostic, automatically allows for doublethink without you trying to doublethink consciously. Thus, when Newspeak can be learned as a first language, there will be no need for the conscious doublethinking, because people are already doublethinking without knowing it.
The Party will be ultimately destroyed by...
Aliens. How can the Party defend themselves from an advanced alien civilization when all they do was lie and doublethink to themselves?!
- Alternative theory, The Power of Love used as a missile by Teletubbies. Why Teletubbies? Because to rub defeat in the Party's faces, besides the book was too dark, or maybe Teletubbies are really aliens.
- The moment the Party intends to extend their power to other planets, it'll alert the aliens. Even warrior races will be horrified at the sheer Hell they see, and all the aliens will agree the people need to be put out of their misery. It'll be a Bittersweet Ending: humanity will be spared Hell on Earth, as they'll be given Death's embrace.
- Alternatively: Special Circumstances will send three of its killer drones on Earth on vacation, producing the very satisfying development of watching three totalitarian regimes being crushed by an anarchist commune which fights back.
The Outer Party is actually a concentration camp-like system.
As You Know the Outer Party apparently suffers most of the shithole that is Oceania. They are watched 24/7 by Big Brother, compared to the Inner Party being able to turn off their telescreens and the Proles having no telescreens at all. They consume shitty Victory products and live in shitty excuses for apartments, compared to clean Inner Party neighborhoods and free Prole neighborhoods. They are forced to use doublethink all the time, serving as a humiliation to their great intelligence, and if they do commit thoughtcrime, which only the Proles are allowed to commit, shit happens
. After Room 101, they are so broken that they would join Big Brother (based on an earlier theory, where the torture was Winston's admittance to the Inner Party), or if they still defy, they are removed from existence
. They are forbidden to have sex (only the Proles are allowed to fuck), and if they do have sex, it was only for the sake of having children (Fetish Fuel
is only for proles), and their children are sent to education centers where they are brainwashed so severely, trained so rigorously and indoctrinated with so much Party dogma that they would end up having Inner Party attitudes and would be able join the Inner Party or military organizations like the Thought Police (well, Inner Party members are selected via a battery of tests, those who succeed are included in the Inner Party, those who failed end up in the Fate Worse Than Death
that is the Outer Party). While Outer Party members are constantly tortured and dwindle in numbers ala Auschwitz
, the Inner Party and Proles grow, until at last they disappear completely, leaving two major facets of society: The Inner Party, which sacrificed freedom for luxury, and the Proles, which sacrificed luxury for freedom.
- The "obliteration of the Outer Party" part is disproven by O'Brien himself, who admits on torturing simply For the Evulz. Although the "Outer Party was created so that the Party can impose Hell on them" part is certainly plausible...
Big Brother is the proles.
Why did they say "proles and animals are free" anyway?
The rebellion? All part of the plan. Julia and O'Brien? Pawns (hence "Do it to Julia!," Winston didn't really summon the full unrestrained omnipotent potential of The Power of Love
). The torture and Room 101? Just. As. Planned.
Why did he do that, you say? Because Winston realized that like the trope Who Wants to Live Forever?
, escape from the laws or true freedom (or should we say, nirvana) can only be found in the death and destruction of the body and its tangible ego. Especially in a Fate Worse Than Death
run on crushing boredom like Oceania. He contemplated about committing suicide without Big Brother (or the audience) noticing, but since due to the lack of personal weapons in Oceania (it's even hard to get his hands on either razor blades or a tall Prole building), he had to use his own enemy, which has the monopoly on all weapons: The Party. He had to sacrifice his mind to get that goal, because he knows that when his destruction of the body comes, at the last moment he will awaken his mind again via Doublethink and achieve Heaven.
- Considering that Ingsoc teaches "The Death of the Ego / The Obliteration of the Self," Winston practices Ingsoc at its most extreme in order to subvert Ingsoc, essentially parodying it. So he proves that it can be done. Winston's death is the beginning of the end of Ingsoc.
1984 takes place in an Alternate History where Sigmund Freud
never existed / unpersoned, and his work was never known / declared illegal.
Think about it. The Party could have adopted psychoanalysis, and if they do, things would have turn onto a different direction. The Party depends entirely on behavioural control, extreme repression, and glorification of the Superego, which if overdone, could have painful (or sometimes disastrous, see also the Freudian Excuse
) consequences. Like for example, abolishment of the orgasm / libido, which is an instinct programmed into our very DNA and the deepest recesses of our id. If Psychoanalysis was accepted in Party dogma, then they would stop their repressions, declaring it is ultimately pointless, and use the pleasure principle to their own advantage. For example, instead of abolishing the libido and doublethinking, telescreens and constant political repression, they would have arranged orgies, drugs, entertainment, and like that. In short, 1984 + Psychoanalysis = Brave New World
(sort of). At least, if they knew the Oedipus Complex, they would replace Big Brother, a despicable father figure, into an attractive Big Sister who can be a focal point of repressed lust. Maybe, since the Party's motivation is pure power and power is shown by making others suffer, they abolished Freud's work, adopted other schools like behaviourism and cognitive psychology (Doublethink is based on the Party's knowledge of cognitive psychology), and made them as much abusive as possible. Maybe psychology and psychiatry retained their "abusive mental hospitals" treatment.
- Most of the Party's behavioural controls are very clearly based on Freudian theories. Painful consequences are intentional. Also, Freud's own school of early psychoanalysis was already long debunked as rubbish by the time the book was written.
- Well in Freudian theory the Party's sexual repression will be the cause of their ultimate downfall. Repression only makes thoughtcriminals worse, don't you know.
- Emmanuel Goldstein does look a lot like Sigmund Freud...
Contrary to the above, 1984 is a metaphor for psychoanalytic theory.
- Doublethink is obviously a defense mechanism, while thoughtcrime represents our repressed desires. Unpersoning represents repression / forced forgetting.
- The Proles represent the Id and/or the Unconscious Mind in general. The most powerful and free of the Freudian trinity and the source of the Libido, the masses on which the two other parts of the psyche emerge, but also the most impulsive, the most stupid and the most prone to thoughtcrime. They only act through the Pleasure Principle. However, they are also the part of the psyche that can commit thoughtcrimes without guilt. They represent the "free animal" of the psyche (Proles and animals are free). However, they are unconscious in the sense that the rest of the parts of the psyche mostly ignores and/or represses them.
- The Party represents the rational, bureaucratic, controlling, repressive Conscious Mind, formed by the Ego and Superego.
- The Inner Party represent the Superego, and Big Brother is the Superego's internalization of the Father. The Superego is associated with the Thanatos instinct (the impulse of Obliteration of the Self, usually redirected to destructive energy represented by the Inner Party's obsession with "pure power.") Omniscient, emotionless, easily the most dogmatic, and obsessed with preventing and repressing thoughtcrime. They oppose the Id yet do not care about actually intervening with it, preferring to punish / obliterate the Ego. The Ministry of Love represents the Superego's ability to punish using "guilt."
- The Outer Party represent the Ego. They are the part of the psyche which does the most work, yet they are trapped between the Libido of the Proles and the Thanatos of the Inner Party. However, they are also the most abused by the Superego of the Inner Party. To compensate, they are forced to use defense mechanisms (such as doublethink and New Speak).
- Particularly, Winston's struggle in the book represent an oedipal allusion. Winston's recurring ankle inflammation is symbolic of sexual repression, and is rapidly growing due to the influence of the Proles and Julia. His own Unconscious push thoughts of freedom and pleasure through his dreams. He becomes more prone to thoughtcrime due to his growing Oedipus Complex against Big Brother, until the intervention of O'Brien finally disseminated the complex through a form of "castration anxiety" (which is symbolized by Room 101). The End represents Winston's Latency stage, the stage where the Libido remains dormant and the Superego remains powerful, the Superego having transformed the libidinal affection for the opposite sex to unconditional obedience of the Father figure. If the Appendix can be considered canon, the "past tense" structure can be considered as the Genital stage, the stage where the authoritarian power of the Superego is reduced and the Libido reawakens.
Airstrip One isn't like North Korea, it is North Korea.
Impossible for when it was written, you say? This is WMG, logic matters not! The truth is that the book is set in the 2020's, none of the other superstates or areas of Oceania other than Airstrip One actually exist, and the idea that Airstrip One is England was created by The Party to further mess with the mindset of everyone living there in the same way as Newspeak. This also makes Newspeak even more
crippling to everyone in Airstrip One because they didn't
speak English before Newspeak came about, which makes it an even more effective tool for The Party.
- 'Tis a Mind Screw and Winston's real name is Kwan Lim.
- The language you speak is called "English." The language you speak has always been called "English."
Doublethink is the archweltanschauung!!!
Winston will eventually become V
Both were tortured by the government and have had their minds warped
as a result. And while V did claim that he was a subject of a scientific experiment, V isn't exactly the most reliable
source. Maybe, Winston snapped years later and decided to overthrow the government.
To be more precise, V for Vendetta takes place during the Revolution. V's killings are in fact nothing more than the elimination of political enemies. Sutler is Goldstein, and after Sutler's, Creedy's, and V's deaths, someone else claims to be V, fills in the power vacuum using the power of the GIFT
and becomes Big Brother. Remember that both V and Big Brother are powered by the GIFT
, and The Party in the movie version of 1984
also uses the letter V as its symbol. Winston may or may not be a descendant of Sutler (or John Hurt
The Inner Party is drugged on Prozium
Extreme emotional control can be feasible, but seriously the idea of the Party's style of extreme emotional control for eternity (to the point where sex is a crime) using the power of doublethink alone is just WTF. They should have to possess material drugs to counter those raging hormones inside the brain, and thus allow greater emotional suppression.
Goldstein is a Time Lord who adopted that name after accidentally getting the original arrested.
He comes from a future where the Party has been overthrown by a revolution due to his book. He travels back in time and is tricked into revealing the original's whereabouts by the Party, before he wrote the book. So, Time Lord Goldstein had to rewrite the book word-by-word before returning to his own time period.
However, instead of either a single lake of fire or several bloody bowels of Hell Dante
told us about, this Hell is divided into two sections, based on either Chaotic Evil
or Lawful Evil
. Lecherous hedonists, those guilty of crimes of passion, and the Chaotic Evil
end up as the animal-like Proles. The Lawful Evil
such as dictators and knight templars
end up in the Party, mirroring how they used the law to justify their evil (that means, the majority of Fundamentalists end up in the Party). There can still be hope and escape, though, but it's in the Ministry of Love, which is actually Purgatory.
What if the all-watching person behind the telescreen isn't a person, but is the telescreen itself? It's not just the telescreen, but said AI can control every piece of technology on Earth. Behind all those ongoing wars between Oceania, Eastasia and Eurasia (which have exactly the same philosophy, the "Obliteration of the Self" also known to most of us as Ingsoc), all those thoughtcrimes and tortures, all those mass de-evolution of the human race, all those retcons of history to the point where "1984" is just an ambiguous date guessed by Winston, is a sadistic, highly efficient, manipulative Master Computer
The Inner Party? They might be power-crazy sadistic psychopathic mind rapists on the first look, but actually because they are so deeply brainwashed by the philosophy of Ingsoc they are still just the same 'ol slaves to doublethink and the Telescreen, and can possibly serve as the cover for the AI. There's also the possibility that the Inner Party was appointed by Big Brother to continue his agenda and serve as the AI's human representatives to the world at large in exchange for luxury, power and the opportunity to mass Mind Rape
Outer Party members. Or possibly, the Inner Party might be Terminator-esque
cybernetic organisms controlled by the AI itself.
Why didn't Big Brother go head-on against humanity with his robotic arsenal? Watch The Terminator
and The Matrix
for example. Humanity will fight to the end for survival, and even though Humans Are Bastards
who will kill each other in times of peace, when faced with a common enemy like an AI or aliens, all of mankind unites to become a super persistent highly-competent Badass Army
. Think Lelouch's
final plan for world peace, being hated by the rest of humanity as a common enemy
, for example. Big Brother exploited humans' innate bastardness, and turned them against each other through the Atomic and Perpetual Wars (analogous to Skynet
). To ensure that humanity never finds out that an Artificial Intelligence is behind the shenanigans, Big Brother appointed the Inner Party and created the philosophy of doublethink to stupefy the vast majority (and hope) of humanity, the intellectual Outer Party and the potentially omnipotent Proles.
It is unknown what is Big Brother's agenda in the long run, maybe he will finally annihilate humanity in a final war when they are too stupid to fight as one, maybe he will keep humanity as eternal playthings in his sadistic rule, or maybe his real identity is AM from I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream
(which also inspired this WMG), who annihilates most of humanity in a final war but keeps a few as eternal playthings in his sadistic rule.
Squidward is Winston, who is systematically broken mentally by The Party / The Club until he loves Big Brother / The Magic Conch Shell.
Josef Stalin is, or rather was Big Brother.
In this timeline, Stalin was Dangerously Genre Savvy
. He knew, just like all the other tyrants of history, that in death (and maybe in life) he'd be exposed for who he really was. So, instead of using propaganda to be a Villain with Good Publicity
, he screwed our minds over
to the point citizens lost all individuality. When he died, the Party continued to do his work (and at the same time removed him from the people's memory).
1984 is about growing up.
- The Proles: Childhood. They are kept in a happy and naïve state by the environment and the Party. The Proles doesn't just represent childhood, they also represent the innocence of childhood, with the Proles representing the last shreds of freedom and humanity that was stripped away from Party members ("Proles and animals are free," "if there is hope it lies in the proles.")
- The Inner Party: Adulthood. They lack the wide eyed idealism that is found in the Proles, and they are responsible for taking care of everything, but the adults are also the portion of the life cycle that also receives the greatest luxuries and power. Compare a child to an adult for example. Sure, children have toys, but adults have all those that glitters: Cars, money, computers, luxuries, fine food, everything. Doesn't that just mirror the Inner Party having pure power and turn-off telescreens and clean neighborhoods and slaves, yet they provide the proles with cheap pornography?
- The Outer Party: Adolescence / Teenhood. Trapped between the naïvety of childhood / The Proles and the watchful eyes of adults / The Inner Party, they are generally considered as the most unstable of the three. Yet, even though they are the most unstable, they are also the most scrutinized. They envy the higher-ups but at the same time despise them. Also, they are obviously the most prone to thoughtcrime. This instability is usually brought on by a burgeoning identity of who they are, combined with awareness of independent thinking and impulses of sexuality. As a result, they are forced into using defense mechanisms (like Doublethink), forced to disappear (Unperson / Running away from home / Minor marriage / etc.) while some are forced into taking punishments (The Ministry of Love). Remember Middle School and High School for example. Don't you see those times were almost like a living hell, being trapped in the chaos and having a sense of identity yet at the same time still manipulated by the higher-ups, just like what Winston experienced in the book?
The prostitute Winston sleeps with is his mom.
Think about it. She's about the age his mother would have been, and it's never directly said what happened to her. Maybe at some point, rather than join the Party, she became a prole.
The Party reveals that they're all power-hungry sadists who only want power for its own sake
, even if it means murdering the human soul
. I find it highly unlikely that they'll not try to fight over power eventually-each of them attempting to have the joy of making everyone
but themselves. And when they do, it will cause the Party's collapse. The result will be someone getting in charge and making a well-intentioned equivalent of the party
or beginning World War III as mankind is better off dead at this point
The books takes place on another planet.
Everyone is an alien on a planet similar to Earth.
1984 takes place in a universe where the Templars
They both believe in The Evils of Free Will
and Utopia Justifies the Means
, but by the time of 1984 their philosophy has become even more corrupted to be For the Evulz
. They act like the Brotherhood
doesn't exist, when in reality they're rebuilding their numbers and waiting for the right moment to strike and steal back a Piece of Eden.
Doublethink is actually very simple.
There isn't much complex psychology, quantum physics or anything else involved, the Party have just adjusted everyone's sleep patterns to the point where they're all constantly very tired, and thus have a weaker and slower train of thought. I've stayed up for days at a time, and by 12 AM I was actually willing to think that if I went outside, I could be caught in an alien invasion, be attacked by a zombie, or meet ghosts, despite knowing full well that was impossible, and had to find my hobby knife or drink alcohol or get lost browsing TV Tropes, just to go to sleep free of nightmares. Thus, you don't need so much research to convince someone that they're both oppressed and totally free. You just need to keep them up long enough.
- This is also why there are no clocks in the Ministry of Love, and the Party even bothers to keep Winston awake for a long boring time before the main event. Sure, even the most horrifying tortures of Room 101 could not smash The Stoic or someone who's Too Kinky to Torture, but sleep deprivation will pretty much turn anyone into malleable pudding that's susceptible to Pavlovian conditioning and/or subconscious suggestion, manipulating your prisoners to your own ends. And best (or worst) of all, sleep deprivation actually induces hallucinations, and when the former Stoic starts hallucinating weird things, he might finally give up being logically stoic and say "The Party's bullshit might be right after all."
- In other words: The horrible and completely irredeemable atrocities of the Party is just a really bad case of insomnia.
Oceania is at war with Eastasia.
Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.
The Party WILL fall. Via Aliens.
Now, it's quite a stretch, but this is how I think it'll all go down:
- The Party want to rule forever.
- If Eastasia or Eurasia win and beat back the surviving state, things won't change much and there'll never be another state.
- Eventually, assuming humanity doesn't nuke itself into oblivion, aliens will show up. Why? Well, the Party, whichever state it's from, is apparently unstoppable, i.e. there will never be a successful rebellion. This also means that, with the war apparently being perpetual, someone WILL lose eventually, assuming it's not just Oceania screwing with everyone. In that case, there is already only one party. Anyway, with no threat, life will go on as it always has... Until something from far away in the galaxy shows up, albeit in a very advanced stage of the Party's collective life. What happens then is up to debate. Aliens might conquer, since the Party, as a whole, would never progress (science is obliterated) and would be kind of military pushovers who keep lying and doublethinking to themselves. They might help the common man for whatever reason. Who knows? But if the Party keeps stamping on a face "forever," they'd better be prepared for the odds of something like this happening.
- Or maybe this will be the successful rebellion.
- The aliens and rebels work together.
- The party loses the war.
- The Party is forced into Room 101 until they die.
Oceania is allies with both Eurasia and Eastasia.
In fact, it hasn't been at war with either of them for several years. The Party deludes the people into believing that they are the enemies in order to scare them into loyalty. The rockets that land daily are fired by Oceania itself, and the soldiers that are hung publicly are actually citizens of Oceania that have committed crimes.
Humanity has been extinct long ago, the world of 1984 is populated by something else.
Specifically, we can describe it as some kind of the living dead, having been shadows of humanity and repetitively acting out his last moments (hence the Perpetual Nuclear War, the "boot stamping on a face forever", etc.)
The entire über-totalitarian society of Oceania was designed... To keep the proles free.
It's ironic for such the highest epitome
of totalitarianism, but think about it. Where does the Big Brother Is Watching
system and the Thought Police put its utmost focus onto? The Party, a.k.a. The Government. Where it is easiest to usurp power from within. Remember, there is no highest man in the Party, even the Inner Party, and every member is constantly watched and in fear on that if they think of anything subversive, they will be tortured and sent to Room 101, it is almost ruled by Rule of Law (See also: Big Brother Does Not Exist). The Proles are almost ignored to the point of continuous anarchy, and what The Party actually does to the proles is just kill off a few proles who can be centres of further totalitarianism. Of course, the system devolved into an anti-intellectual society, since there are often intellectual proles who can and will use their intellectuality to manipulate people and gain their own ends, and in fact, if you're an intellectual prole who just keeps it to yourself and tries not to influence people, you can actually escape persecution.
Which would make Big Brother Darkseid.
As quoted on the Fridge Horror page
"Think about the very concept of The Party itself. It is an all-seeing, all-knowing, incomprehensible entity that can essentially bend the reality of those it controls. Any naysayers or free thinkers? It WILL find them, it WILL rape their very souls and WILL bend them to its will. It likely will never die, and could likely claim that it had been around since the dawn of eternity. Sounds more like an Eldritch Abomination than a government."
And it makes more sense given how 1984
is basically the Cosmic Horror Story
of Dystopian fiction, managing to be as horrifying and depression-inducing as anything by HP Lovecraft
and other real
Cosmic Horror writers, if not even more due to the plausibility
, despite the Cosmic Horror being nothing more than politics. The utter incomprehensibility of the Party, how the Party even manages to survive even though it is virtually impossible under scientific law, the cult revolving around the Party, the complete and utter insignificance of the individual, breaking your arm punching out the Party
, Mind Rape
and Psychological Horror
everywhere, the Despair Event Horizon
-inducing Downer Ending
, the Nihilistic
themes, and all that.
Telescreen technology is being introduced and the written word abolished when the nuclear war is fought. The original state, already repressive, is destroyed and the Party takes over. The resulting damage reduces the tech level of the society significantly, forcing a return to print matter but under tight control of the Party. Telescreens become the preferred mode of entertainment/communication; the Firemen become the Thought Police; and Goldstein (the leader, or at least a
leader, of the Book People) becomes the scapegoat for all society's current woes.
The Doctor will come in his TARDIS and save the day.
1. It seems that in order for anything to change would take outside interference.
2. I really really want it to be true!
- Well, in the Michael Robarts film, Winston does bear a striking resemblance to the War Doctor. Perhaps he's chameleon-arched, and will strike when the moment is right!
It's your worst fear, after all? So, if Winston had been a wizard, and he'd had access to his wand, then all he'd have to do would be to say "Riddikulus" and the rats would turn into Alvin and the Chipmunks
Newspeak itself harms the Party's grasp upon Oceania.
The ultimate goal of Newspeak is to eradicate the ability to think outside the box, question authority, and so on, which has the byproduct of destroying creativity. While many may not see this as a problem, part of the Ministry of Truth's job involves a degree of creativity. Winston is seen fabricating news from scratch at one point (Comrade Ogilvy). If he had truly given himself over to Ingsoc, Doublethink and Newspeak, he would not have the creativity or at least the language to adequately convey the intended results. By process of logic, this means Newspeak would severely hamper the ability of the Ministry of Truth to do its job, or at least the history fabrication elements of this. This would allow cracks in the facade to show, and thus weaken the grasp of Ingsoc and Big Brother.
Emmanuel Goldstein is secretly the supreme leader of Oceania.
Being nowhere as popular as Big Brother, Goldstein eliminates and pretends to be him, while making people believe that Big Brother is Goldstein and then placing all the blame on him. Goldstein, you're such a Magnificent Bastard
Eventually humans will be replaced with robots.
As a result of ever stricter totalitarianism, the Inner Party members will lose even their basic will to live and replace all human beings, including themselves
, with highly sophisticated robots. The robot colony will function just as programmed, without a single hint of humanity whatsoever.
O'Brien wouldn't have released the rats.
In Room 101, O'Brien threatens to release rats on Winston and explains that they can kill a person in a matter of seconds. Had he released them, he wouldn't have been able to stop them before killing Winston. But the whole point of the Ministry of Love is to fully convince people that they were wrong before killing them. Killing someone before accomplishing that would be a failure for O'Brien and he would never do something like that.
Everybody who works for the Outer Party ends up in the Ministry of Love at some point.
One of Winston's intelligent colleagues was taken away. When Winston was in the ministry, he saw one of his friends who had devoted his life to Big Brother. The Party has realised that everyone will rebel against such a totalitarian state at some point and that such a rebellion is just a part of the developmental process of being in the party. They let the rebellion play out for a while then crush it so that there will be no desire for rebellion again and release the outer party members back into society with different (perhaps even better paid and higher ranking) jobs. It did say that Winston was on some dead end committee at the end but that may have been he was higher up in the party.
You see, this is actually a possible future where he does (somehow) take over, and he simply changed the calendars to 1984 because... Well, because. Think about it. He wants to live in a world where he is comfortable and changes it to his liking, even though the world suffers as a result. This is why there are laws against so much as even thinking
badly of him, because he wants respect despite doing nothing
to warrant such a thing.
Why he rules that no one can have pleasure in sex or even show attraction to one another? Even after he ruled, he kept failing to get and/or keep a girlfriend (or a "Sweetheart," as he would say), and all those girls who rejected and broke up with him were executed. Upon realizing that he couldn't find a girl who was attracted to a manchild of a leader (after all those tries), he decided that if he can't get a girl to love him, then neither can anyone else.
The others simply misinterpreted his acts and started becoming villains themselves. It all makes sense now!
- So... Goldstein is Clyde Cash?
Oceania is the weakest of the three nations.
Think about it: For as long as Winston can remember, they've had one ally and one enemy, but they keep switching places. This means that both of the other countries have had periods in which they were fighting two enemies, with no allies. Since we know the arrangement is to maintain the balance of power, this means that both Eurasia and Eastasia can stand against both Oceania and the other for a few years, but Oceania cannot stand against both Eurasian and Eastasia.
At some point, someone in the organization (if not Ra's Al Ghul himself) got tired of committing random acts of terrorism to "restore balance" to the world and just decided to take it over wholesale. Given their wealth and influence, it's entirely possible for them to do so. But the real kicker is when you recall what Ra's told Bruce during his initiation ritual:
Ra's Al Ghul: To conquer fear, you must become fear. You must bask in the fear of other men. And men fear most what they cannot see. You have to become a terrible thought. A wraith. You have to become an idea! Feel terror cloud your senses. Feel its power to distort.. To control. And know that this power can be yours. Embrace your worst fears. Become one with the darkness.
Nobody in 1984 seems to know who Big Brother is or if he even exists, hence "becoming an idea." The fear of being continually monitored by some omnipresent yet mysterious dictator is enough to keep the entire population in order, and the only people who can "conquer" this fear of Big Brother is the League Of Shadows, who might even be more powerful than the Inner Party.
- There is a problem with that theory: League of Shadows actually believes they are doing good, and the Party clearly doesn't.
TV Tropes also uses Doublethink.
We simply call it "Willing Suspension of Disbelief
." Think about it, you are basically saying "I know this is fiction but I believe it's real, at the same time."
Big Brother is Napoleon.
Napoleon (from Animal Farm
ended up hungry for more power than just Animal Farm and plotted with Mr. Pilkington to set up the Ingsoc movement and launched the revolution. Of course Napoleon had to pose as a man to gain power.
Oceania will fall to disease.
It may be a simple flu or it may be AIDS or it may be a Zombie Apocalypse
, but the setting is a perfect place to culture a new disease, especially among the filth of the Proles, and the enforced scarcity, decay and lack of medical science will allow it to spread like wildfire. Since all the doctors are in Room 101, the only thing that the majority of the Party can do is blame it to Eastasia or Eurasia or Goldstein, but blames do nothing but make them ignore the inevitable. After all, one of the effects of the Black Death is undermining the power of a nearly-Orwellian society in the past called the Catholic Church.
They say that a single man is imperfect, but the Party is immortal. They say that they will grow more and more intolerant, crushing the smallest opposition. Wouldn't be imperfection
imperfection, including aging — a difference from the Party's perfection
? Basically they are going to destroy its components -- its citizens -- to "preserve" the Party
. Add that the ending in the book allows the hypothesis that Oceania has lost that important battle and is directly threatened now, and they may delete any evidence that Oceania has fell by deleting Oceania itself
O'Brien is a rebel and 1984 is a story he made to serve as a warning to future generations.
Assuming that the party DID fall, 1984 can be the memoirs of Winston Smith written by O'Brien. The guy's been observing Smith for almost a decade so he should know what goes through Smith's mind. Also, O'Brien could have been watching Smith in his hideout, and probably what he had been doing before Smith had the courage to visit him with Julia. Then he exposes the two in order to protect himself, and after they are executed we can assume that by the time O'Brien has written this, the Party had already fallen and everything is back to normal. Now all O'Brien has to do is to keep everybody from thinking of reverting back to totalitarianism and oligarchies, so he wrote 1984 from his observation notes about Winston Smith to warm everybody about the trouble these kinds of governments bring.
Just like what George Orwell
London's rebel Socialists and Orwell's Party both call each other "comrade," hate capitalists, are masters of disguise and undercover work, are adept at brainwashing
(as seen by the incident in The Iron Heel
involving young Wilkins), value abstaining from all sexual relationships so as not to distract one from his or her devotion to the cause (the Red Virgin Anna Royalston and male rebels who refuse to marry are honored and praised just like the Comrade Ogilvy Winston invents), and encourage family members to turn against each other in support of the cause (one of London's rebels is excommunicated for protecting his traitor son, and Party children are turned into spies against their parents). "The Brotherhood of Man" that (eventually) defeated the Iron Heel is either the Party, or the hegemony that succeeded the Party.
Julia is not a spy, and the Party would have allowed Winston and Julia to continue their affair indefinitely if they hadn't been late for work.
In "normal" societies, when the authorities discover criminals/rebels but spy on them while allowing them to continue with their crimes for awhile instead of arresting them immediately, it's because they intend to gather either: More information on associated criminals/rebels, or more damning evidence to be used at trial. Now, in Oceania, the purpose of the Ministry of Truth is falsifying/destroying/creating all data necessary to make a person guilty or innocent of something, like the 3 men Winston remembers from the photograph; the purpose of the Ministry of Love is torturing people, not to get genuine, important information out of them, but to make them confess to whatever the Inner Party wants. Clearly, the Inner Party has no need to spy on criminals/rebels they've discovered and allow them to continue with their crimes in order to gather information or evidence — they fabricate whatever information or evidence they want, and they never have trials where they need to present evidence to prove someone's guilt. So, what purpose could planting a spy who tricks Winston into committing sexcrime possibly serve them? What purpose could spying on sexcriminals for a long time possibly serve them? Why spy on either one criminal and one informant or on two criminals instead of arresting them immediately when there's no need for you to gather information or evidence? There's no need for the Inner Party to gather evidence against Winston, which means there's no need to send a woman undercover to lure him into a trap, which means they didn't. Now, we know it's common to let discretely committed crimes like purchasing on the black market and consorting with prostitutes go unpunished because, in Oceania, so many things are a crime, that it's impossible for any Outer Party members to live without committing crimes
, and impossible to capture, punish, and control all "real" criminals as opposed to fabricated/stages ones
. The Inner Party allowed Winston and Julia to continue with their love affair because it didn't interfere with their duties to the Party; they worked as hard and as well as ever at their jobs at the Ministry and at their "volunteer" activities. As long as they did that, they were safe. When they overslept and missed work, they were arrested.
- Nothing is actually a "crime" in Oceania except for the all-encompassing offense of thoughtcrime. However, that term is so all-encompassing that you can't live without committing crimes anyway.
Newspeak will kill the Party.
Newspeak will evolve to be so effective it renders thoughtcrime impossible. The Inner Party lives off thoughtcriminals. Therefore, if Newspeak becomes successful, it will starve the Inner Party.
As Mitchell and Webb
show us, it would be pretty impractical to actually bring in everyone's worst fears into a single room. Photons, force fields and replicators would do the job much more quickly and easily.
Also, I'd say it was a prototype holodeck, and its builders were immediately unpersoned so no more could be made.
The resistance is real, and led by Batman
Think about it.
Homer Simpson will lead the rebellion of the Proles.
He's used not to think much in anything and gets distracted easily, so he may be a good citizen of Oceania... Until the ever-lowering rations take him to the despair event horizon.
The slogan of the rebellion? "No TV and no beer make Homer go crazy."
Julia is pregnant when Winston sees her for the last time.
He says "her waist had grown thicker, and, in a surprising way, had stiffened."
Due to his mastery of doublethink he sees and doesn't see this at the same time.
Their child is the narrator of the novel, who knows the story from Julia and refers to Winston in the third person.
- How would Julia have been able to keep her baby under the pressure of torture similar to what Winston went through, however (including, presumably, a visit to Room 101)?
The Inner Party keeps records of everything that has been altered by the Ministry of Truth.
Which would be how O'Brien still has a picture of Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford, which he shows to Winston in Room 101. He just made another copy to demonstrate doublethink and the power of the Party to Winston.
- Considering the Party slogan: "He who controls the present controls the past; he who controls the past controls the future," this makes good sense, particularly since there's no telling when the Party might want to go back to the original version of something that had been altered repeatedly, declaring all the revised versions to be thoughtcrime. Therefore, it would be very much to the Inner Party's advantage to maintain such an archive as an additional tool of control.
The perpetual war will eventually come to an end.
It may take a long time, but the three superstates will run out of resources necessary for construction and maintenance of war machines and whatnot. When they stop being able to use up resources on the war, the war fever which keeps their patriotism alive will eventually falter. Of course, the depletion of resources likely means that the ensuing implosion will screw over humanity's survivors.
Big Brother actually is real.
In all Real Life totalitarian states, there is someone on top, someone to watch the watchmen. A Hitler, a Stalin, a Kim Jong-il, etc. Oceania must have this too-the Inner Party is kept in-line as well, as apparently even they don't get much more than 1/2 hour away from surveillance at a time, and it's apparently possible for a Party member to be vaporized (since Winston counts O'Brien among those who will definitely be vaporized) but it doesn't make much sense for a group that is all about power for the sake of power to willingly create a system wherein they are all under suspicion and can be killed, tortured, or unpersonned by the government at any moment just like anyone else. There must be someone in charge who is keeping tabs on them. And contrary to O'Brien's claim, he will die just like everyone else. He will never have died, however, because once he dies someone else will take his role and Big Brother himself will be made into an unperson, replaced with whoever takes his title.
Oceania's Defeat is Imminent
How can Oceania maintain such huge armies and still have so little to give its citizens, while simultaneously maintaining a massive surveillance and governmental revisionist policy? Answer: THEY DON'T. Oceania's in fact just a dirt-poor totalitarian state that uses its draconian measures to guard against its enemies, who are responsible for rocket bombs and are likely crushing Oceania in battle. Its money is wasted by the corrupt Inner Party, and there's no money for the military or infrastructure. The one thing the Party will not concede is its infallibility, and that in itself is an illusion. It's even possible that Airstrip One, or even London, is all that consists of the vast "superstate" of Oceania. Think of Nazi Germany in its death throes.
- Isn't that in fact postulated at one point in the novel (in Goldstein's book) — that the never-ending war is actually carried on by relatively small armies composed of professional soldiers, with huge amounts of money and resources being tossed into boondoggles like the Floating Fortresses?
Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford are Oceania's greatest heroes, along with Goldstein.
They shared Goldstein's outrage at the betrayal of the Revolution, and wanted to save Oceania from totalitarian evil. Sadly, no-one will ever know this, as they were caught, vilified as traitors, and executed.
Lack of sex will lead to The Party's undoing.
That's Winston's own WMG, and I'm inclined to agree.
- O'Brien claims that they have doctors working on ways to eliminate the sex drive. That being said, Julia also tells Winston that although she hates the Inner Party and would never have sex with any of them, she knows fully well that many of them would if she gave them the chance. And there's yet another hole in the infallibility of Big Brother.
Oceania is a continuation of the British Empire, but does not include the United States.
Have you seen how proud the US is of being democratic? The chances that America would bow to the whim of a dictator is insanely far-fetched. What happened is that the revolution started in the UK before spreading to the rest of the empire. However, America refused to be ruled by a dictatorial regime. Because of a desire for a powerful image, however, the Party claims to its populance that America is theirs. In addition, Oceanian forces regularly engage in fights with American forces along the Canadian border, which also explains why Oceania always has an ally in the global war while Eurasia/Eastasia regularly fighting two superstates at once.
Orwell could never get this published today.
Not because of government interference or corporate self-censorship (and not because the title promises a nostalgia trip
), but because the market for dystopic fiction with fully bought-into-the-system, middle-aged protagonists is relatively slim. He'd be politely told to make Winston and Julia fifteen years old and come back with the rewrite.
After the true year 1984 passed, the Party resets the calendar every December 31 so it's always 1984.
The story might be taking place in 1985, 2000, 2015, 2100 or 3000. There's no real way to know. The motivation? Simply to further weaken the concept of an external reality to ensure minds stay pliable — and root out those who aren't pliable enough; all you have to do is look for people who slip and wonder if 1984 wasn't last year.