by George Orwell
1984 Manipulation Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)
Very likely the confessions had been rewritten and rewritten until the original facts and dates no longer had the smallest significance. The past not only changed, but changed continuously. What most afflicted him with the sense of nightmare was that he had never clearly understood why the huge imposture was undertaken. The immediate advantages of falsifying the past were obvious, but the ultimate motive was mysterious. He took up his pen again and wrote:
I understand HOW: I do not understand WHY. (1.7.24-25, Winston)
Winston does not understand the ultimate motive behind the Party’s control and falsification of records.
Winston wondered vaguely to what century the church belonged. It was always difficult to determine the age of a London building. Anything large and impressive, if it was reasonably new in appearance, was automatically claimed as having been built since the Revolution, while anything that was obviously of earlier date was ascribed to some dim period called the Middle Ages. The centuries of capitalism were held to have produced nothing of any value. One could not learn history from architecture any more than one could learn it from books. Statues, inscriptions, memorial stones, the names of streets – anything that might throw light upon the past had been systematically altered. (1.8.85)
The Party’s control of information is not limited to written sources alone, but extends even to matters such as architecture.
[…] he was not troubled by the fact that every word he murmured into the speakwrite, every stroke of his ink-pencil, was a deliberate lie. He was as anxious as anyone else in the Department that the forgery should be perfect […] A mighty deed, which could never be mentioned, had been achieved. It was now impossible for any human being to prove by documentary evidence that the war with Eurasia had ever happened. (2.9.8)
During Hate Week, Winston’s duties consist of editing and rewriting history with respect to the announcement of Oceania’s new enemy, Eastasia. He is not troubled by his deliberate lying in furtherance of the Party’s goals, but rather proud of the horrendous deed in which he participates.