1984 Text Response

Topics: Nineteen Eighty-Four, Winston Smith, Newspeak Pages: 3 (1016 words) Published: August 4, 2010
"Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past" To what extent is this true in George Orwell's novel 1984?

In George Orwell’s novel 1984 it is seen through the constant destruction and falsification of records by the party, that the main character, Winston Smith and the people of Oceania are unable or struggle to form their own identity due to their own few fading memories of the past. Throughout Winston’s struggle to hold onto the past, the Party utilizes a number of techniques to evoke memory loss in the minds of the wider community of Oceania, and actively does so through alcohol abuse and exploitation of fear.

The reoccurring destruction and falsification of the past in records, literature and in the media deprives the citizens of Oceania the right to their own individual memories and ultimately, a life story. The constant bombardment of ill admitting “alteration[s]” made by the Party leaves the people of Oceania confused and manipulated in such a way that any conflicting information stated by the Party is erased in their minds; leaving them with little to no memories of their past. The motive for this removal of truth is to destroy any evidence that contradicts or conflicts with what the Party or Big Brother has enforced or stated. This deceitful and dehumanising act is carried out by Winston and other workers at the Ministry of Truth. Despite his hate for the Party, Winston considers this callous act as “merely the substitution of one piece of nonsense for another”; but knows deep down that if it carries on, history would become “a palimpsest, scraped clean and re-inscribed exactly as often as was necessary”. This leads to the psychological incapability of holding a memory of some truth and meaning; which in turn denies people of their identities.

The main character, Winston Smith sees the past as his escape, saviour and true identity separate from the party. He desperately tries to resurrect his personal...
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