[personal profile] wingedbeast
The good news is we have another short chapter. It's even the end of part two of the book.

Yeah, that kind of suggests bad news, too. But, hey, it's not happening to you and Winston's a bit of a prick anyway, so let's get to it.

In the last chapter, Winston fell asleep after having read the first and third chapters of "The Book", Goldstein's missive on how The Party maintains power (with some massive oversimplifications of sociology) and the true purpose of war in the current world. Chapter ten of part two begins with him waking up feeling as though he'd slept a long time, but thinking that the old-fashioned clock (which would read 8:30) indicated that it was only twenty-thirty.

We're also told that, though Julia made sure the stove was full, it's now empty of oil. And, when they look out the west-facing window, "The sun must have gone down behind the houses; it was not shining into the yard any longer."

Really. You know, if this were "The Prisoner", Number 6 would have figured it out by now. And, The Village makes a lot more effort on this stuff than The Party.

(By the way, episodes of the old Brittish 1960s TV show, "The Prisoner" can be found on YouTube. And, so can The Dom's reviews of some of the episodes.)

Still, the obliviousness of Winston and Julia does leave us with a couple nice moments. Winston contemplates a grandmotherly woman who's singing, while putting up laundry, to dry has caught his ear.

'She's beautiful,' he murmured.
'She's a metre across the hips, easily,' said Julia.
'That is her style of beauty,' said Winston.

Sure, we could assume that Winston is putting the Proles on a pedestal, one from which he'll readily knock them if they show to have priorities that don't meet with his approval. But, we could also treat this as one person realizing that another person is worthy of being well-regarded and honored for their contribution to the world. Given what's coming, I'm ready to be a little generous.

Julia gives us her own bit of wisdom.

'Do you remember,' he said, 'the thrush that sang to us, that first day, at the edge of the wood?'
'He wasn't singing to us,' said Julia. 'He was singing to please himself. Not even that. He was just singing.'

It's a simple wisdom, but in its own way profound.

Other bits can taint these moments. The silent musing by Winston that hope lies with the proles and that the Party did not sing. We don't need those. Don't explain them, because looks into the mind of Winston always manage to disappoint.

Again, we can note that he's in a society that never allowed him to grow up. We've spent this novel in a state of paranoia. And, when we get to look inside Julia's head, we learn that she has much the same. Paranoia is the nature of this novel.

It makes sense that it's in the moment when the two are at their least paranoid that it happens.

'We are the dead,' he said.
'We are the dead,' echoed Julia dutifully.
'You are the dead,' said an iron voice behind them.

Behind a picture that seemed affixed to the wall was a telescreen. It had always been there and Winston and Julia had always been watched.

In fact, Mr. Charrington, the owner and operator of the little antique's store, now has black hair where he used to have white. Much of his physical appearance has changed. He is one of the Thought Police.

Julia and Winston may be at their least paranoid for the moment, but The Party isn't.

I want to talk about the effort it took, on the part of the Party (specifically the Ministry of Love) to make this happen. And, spoiler alert for something I may have already spoiled. O'Brien is a part of the conspiracy to get Winston arrested by the Thought Police.

Some of this can be quite general.

O'Brien probably gives many an Outer Party Member that line about meeting where there is no darkness. O'Brien probably gives many an Outer Party Member that opprotunity to speak their intention to oppose The Party. Most of them probably do the smart thing. They let that opportunity pass them by.

Not that it saves them, I'll get to that in a future post.

This particular honey-trap of a room that people think isn't watched can be general. But, note that the owner/operator changes his appearance for the capture. That's not something you do when you intend to go the rest of the day/week as though nothing happened at all. Who knows how long it went, waiting to entrap someone, prior to even that day when Winston had purchased his diary?

This is a lot of resources to go to get one arrest.

I realize that, in part, this serves the same purpose as warfare. An acceptable alternative to anything that improves the quality of life.

This is paranoia of The Party. It's paranoia meant to excuse the lack of quality of life, to excuse the lack of effort to improve the quality of life for Proles when it would be easy to do so. But, it is paranoia nonetheless. And, one thing about paranoia is that it isn't fun.

In order for this kind of resource expenditure to be validated even within the minds of Party members, they have to be afraid all the time. In this case, afraid that Winston Smith and Julia don't like them enough.

Later on in the book, we'll get a statement of the why that eludes Winston so. Why go through all of this? Once we get that answer, I hope we remember this and ask the question "is it really worth it?"

A lot of resources to go to get to one arrest

Date: 2017-07-25 01:16 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I had the same thought when I first read the book. But it didn't occur to me to see this as paranoia on the part of the Party. I interpreted it as another example of the Party being virtually all-powerful or impossible to overthrow.
From: (Anonymous)
Orwell has Goldstein claiming that a better quality of life would threaten the Party's power, since the masses would supposedly realize that the privileged minority has no function. I don't know if Orwell himself believed that, but the Party certainly does.

A large mistake that Goldstein, or Orwell, makes is the idea that the groups behind the Revolution were motivated solely by power. From what I know of hierarchical regimes and ideologies, the desire for power and the desire for wealth go together. The Inner Party would most likely function like any other 1 percent, hoarding more wealth for themselves, and would perceive War is Peace is an unnecessarily wasteful way of providing the masses with an enemy as a distraction.



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