[personal profile] wingedbeast
(Note: This is a fan-theory. This is a way of viewing and interacting with the text. This is not, in any way, statement on authorial intent.)

Oceana and the means The Party has of maintaining their dominance strike me as... unbelievable. I fully believe that they'd try it. I even believe that they'd believe it. But, as means of control, these aren't very useful.

There are elements that just don't fit.

It comes to its clearest, to me, in this most recent chapter. Enforced Doublethink is self-defeating. O'Brien wants to break Winston so completely that Winston will not just become a good actor pretending, but actually believe what he is told to believe. The problem is that The Party effectively gives all motivation to fake it and, with Doublethink, can't really challenge the notion when someone of the Inner Party claims he made it.

Way back, in Part 1 of the book, we talked about the Proles. They're in such dire straights that they're willing to fall into a riot of savagery over poorly made tin saucepans. At the same time, they've enough food and health for a pub scene much Orwell expected to see, himself. Now, this could be because Orwell, himself, isn't as fully aware of how poverty works as he might be.

Similarly, Orwell's ignorance, as a man of his time, of nervous system disorders, twitches, etc., might explain how The Party could use those or talking in one's sleep as signs of unorthodox thought. Yet, it's far more likely that those are things that happen and the Party uses them as convenient excuses (as I think matches up for Parsons).

This doesn't make sense as an effective means of control. At the same time, it's overly ambitious and seeks too little. On an individual level, this is an incredible amount of resource to expend just to deal with one thought-criminal. At the same time, The Party does not have infinite resources. If it did, the problem of equal distribution of resources would never be an issue.

None of this is, at all, cost effective.

But, for an Inner Party that's concerned with control, it is good propaganda.

For the average Party member (Outer as well as Inner Party, they're no less subject to Doublethink), it can effectively convince that The Party isn't that bad. Sure, there's state run television. Sure, there's a single narrative with contradicting narratives punished quickly. But, "Hey, we're not like that. We don't torture people."

For the cynic, someone for whom the Doublethink is't working (which is more the book admits), it submits that The Party is all powerful. The best capitulate you have is to capitulate early and often, even when accused of a crime.

It also presents paranoia as good. Sure, Winston gets to have a brief affair, but even an antiques dealer could be a plant. Winston's paranoia shows to be correct, thus weakening the trust necessary to rebel.

We would imagine such propaganda presenting Oceana as a perfect society and the Inner Party as always wise and motivated for the best of Oceana. But, Doublethink is, if not always successful, something people can be motivated to practice.

What we have, here, is an act of intimidation, a reason to comply as fully as possible. Much like threats of Hell or "disfellowship" can intimidate people away from openly questioning the justice of Hell or such exile, the threats of Room 101 help intimidate people away from being caught thinking that there's anything less than perfect justice coming from an Inner Party.

That this book presents injustice as unjust as often as possible... well, Doublethink might not be perfect, but it does cover for a lot. What it doesn't cover for... well, faking it is as good as the real thing.



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