Significant Quotations

  1. “War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Ignorance Is Strength.” (Chapter 1, part 1): The core slogans of the Party and the epitome of “doublespeak,” these statements are easy to dismiss as simple contradictions. Indeed, “doublespeak” is sometimes misunderstood as simply declaring something to be its opposite. However, the Party’s thinking—its “metaphysics,” as O’Brien calls it—is in fact much more sophisticated. O’Brien puts it best when trying to explain “Freedom Is Slavery” to Winston: “Has it ever occurred to you that it is reversible? Slavery is freedom. Alone—free—the human being is always defeated… But if he can make complete, utter submission… if he can merge himself in the Party so that he is the Party, then he is all-powerful and immortal.” Similarly, as outlined in Goldstein’s book, permanent war has created a long-term stability similar to that of a lasting peace. The underlying philosophy may be repulsive to most readers, but it is sophisticated and powerful.
  2. “It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children.” (Chapter 2, part 1): Even while incorporating familial language into its vocabulary (“Big Brother,” and so on), the Party has sought to weaken the bonds that hold families together. The institution of the family is the ultimate protector of a private morality the Party seeks to eradicate. Children are encouraged to see the Party as their true parents, and to betray their blood parents when necessary.
  3. “The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect.” (Chapter 5, part 1): Winston’s co-worker Syme sums up the role of language in the totalitarian world of 1984. So-called “unorthodox” thoughts can only arise when the language allows it. Narrow the scope of language, and you narrow the scope of thought.
  4. “Always...
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Essays About 1984