Jan. 17th, 2017

We could go into more characterization of the society Winston Smith lives in (and we will), but I think we get the point enough that we don't have to focus directly. The story seems to want to use Winston Smith as a means of characterizing Oceana and this world, but let's let that be secondary for a moment.

We get a bit more characterization on the world, itself. The "Victory Gin" and "Victory Cigarettes" (labeling things "victory" was a common thing during WWII, if you grew your own vegetables in order to do with less for rationing to provide food for soldiers, you were growing a "Victory Garden") are of low quality, but Winston uses them in order to build courage for his, to date, greatest act of rebellion against an oppressive system.

He opens a diary. "This was not illegal (nothing was illegal, since there were no longer any laws), but if detected it was reasonably certain that it would be punished by death or at least twenty-five years in a forced labor camp."

This is a very small thing. It's a very small thing to risk such a big punishment. But, it's also a very small, very calculated risk. One taken only because of a set of unusual circumstances provided him with a telescreen that had a blind spot. He'd had the actual book for a while prior but hadn't worked up the courage to even grab that "Victory Gin" to work up courage until just recently.
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