Reading 1984 – Part III

I’m about three quarters of the way through 1984 now (you can read my earlier thoughts here and here).

One of the things that I didn’t remember from the last time I read it was how large dreams loom. He dreams of the future (of meeting O’Brien, of the field where he goes with Julia), and the past (of his mother, sinking deeper below).

A theme that’s been constant throughout the book is a point that Orwell constantly hammers home; that though and action are interdependent, and that by controlling one, the Party controls the other. Orwell has Winston and Julia talk about it, agreeing that the ultimate betrayal would be to feel something against the other, but that the party couldn’t make them do it.

It’s interesting too to read Orwell’s thoughts on war. They don’t read as the result of exhaustive study, but they’re interesting none the less. He argues (through Goldstein’s voice, in ‘the book’) that war was a force binding social constructions to an independent reality; but that by maintaining a continuous state of war, the state becomes isolated from external reality, and can construct whatever social reality it wants to. I’d want to see it explained more coherently, but it’s a fascinating idea of the constraints on social construction of reality.

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