Study Guide

1984 Loyalty

By George Orwell

Loyalty quotes in 1984

Book 1, Chapter 2

He was already dead, he reflected. It seemed to him that it was only now, when he had begun to be able to formulate his thoughts, that he had taken the decisive step. The consequences of every act are included in the act itself. He wrote:

Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime IS death. (1.2.42-43)

The Party takes loyalty seriously, and does not tolerate any acts of subversion - even if they are mere thoughts.

Book 1, Chapter 5
The Proles

"That's a first-rate training they give them in the Spies nowadays - better than in my day, even. What d'you think's the latest thing they've served them out with? Ear trumpets for listening through keyholes! My little girl brought one home the other night - tried it out on our sitting-room door, and reckoned she could hear twice as much as with her ear to the hole." (1.5.67, Parson)

Its reach not limited to technology, the Party employs children against their parents as another way of behavior surveillance. There is simply no loyalty to speak of.

Book 1, Chapter 6

Chastity was as deep ingrained in them as Party loyalty. By careful early conditioning, by games and cold water, by the rubbish that was dinned into them at school and in the Spies and the Youth League, by lectures, parades, songs, slogans, and martial music, the natural feeling had been driven out of them. (1.6.16)

From an early age, Party members are taught to show loyalty to the Party by remaining chaste.

Book 2, Chapter 3
Julia

Unlike Winston, she had grasped the inner meaning of the Party's sexual puritanism. It was not merely that the sex instinct created a world of its own which was outside the Party's control and which therefore had to be destroyed if possible. What was more important was that sexual privation induced hysteria, which was desirable because it could be transformed into war-fever and leader-worship. The way she put it was: "When you make love you're using up energy; and afterwards you feel happy and don't give a damn for anything. They can't bear you to feel like that. They want you to be bursting with energy all the time. All this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour. If you're happy inside yourself, why should you get excited about Big Brother and the Three-Year Plans and the Two Minutes Hate and all the rest of their bloody rot?"

That was very true, he thought. There was a direct intimate connection between chastity and political orthodoxy. For how could the fear, the hatred, and the lunatic credulity which the Party needed in its members be kept at the right pitch, except by bottling down some powerful instinct and using it as a driving force? The sex impulse was dangerous to the Party, and the Party had turned it to account. They had played a similar trick with the instinct of parenthood. The family could not actually be abolished, and, indeed, people were encouraged to be fond of their children, in almost the old-fashioned way. The children, on the other hand, were systematically turned against their parents and taught to spy on them and report their deviations. The family had become in effect an extension of the Thought Police. It was a device by means of which everyone could be surrounded night and day by informers who knew him intimately. (2.3.25-27)

Julia teaches Winston about her musings on the dangerous effects of sex on loyalty to the Party: The Party not only seeks to sever private loyalties in encouraging chastity, but also to control its constituents' use of time by advocating the abolition of sex entirely.

Book 2, Chapter 4
Winston Smith

For a moment he was violently angry. During the month that he had known her the nature of his desire for her had changed. At the beginning there had been little true sensuality in it. Their first love-making had been simply an act of the will. But after the second time it was different. The smell of her hair, the taste of her mouth, the feeling of her skin seemed to have got inside him, or into the air all round him. She had become a physical necessity, something that he not only wanted but felt that he had a right to. When she said that she could not come, he had the feeling that she was cheating him. But just at this moment the crowd pressed them together and their hands accidentally met. She gave the tips of his fingers a quick squeeze that seemed to invite not desire but affection. It struck him that when one lived with a woman this particular disappointment must be a normal, recurring event; and a deep tenderness, such as he had not felt for her before, suddenly took hold of him. He wished that they were a married couple of ten years' standing. He wished that he were walking through the streets with her just as they were doing now but openly and without fear, talking of trivialities and buying odds and ends for the household. He wished above all that they had some place where they could be alone together without feeling the obligation to make love every time they met. (2.4.13)

Winston quickly falls in love with Julia; from here, the feared bond of private loyalty is created.

Book 2, Chapter 7
Julia

"The one thing that matters is that we shouldn't betray one another, although even that can't make the slightest difference."

[...]

"Confession is not betrayal. What you say or do doesn't matter, only feelings matter. If they could make me stop loving you - that would be the real betrayal."

She thought is over. "They can't do that," she said finally. "It's the one thing they can't do. They can make you say anything - anything - but they can't make you believe it. They can't get inside you." (2.7.26-29, Winston and Julia)

Winston and Julia discuss betrayal, and resolve that their shared loyalty to each other shall triumph.

Winston Smith

And yet to the people of only two generations ago this would not have seemed all-important, because they were not attempting to alter history. They were governed by private loyalties which they did not question. What mattered were individual relationships, and a completely helpless gesture, an embrace, a tear, a word spoken to a dying man, could have value in itself. Proles, it suddenly occurred to him, had remained in this condition. They were not loyal to a party or a country or an idea, they were loyal to one another. For the first time in his life he did not despise the proles or think of them merely as an inert force which would one day spring to life and regenerate the world. The proles had stayed human. They had not become hardened inside. They had held on to the primitive emotions which he himself had to re-learn by conscious effort. (2.7.19)

Winston realizes that the proles, like people of the past, hold dear to their hearts loyalty to persons - not a party or a country or an idea. That, he believes, is true and natural freedom.

When his father disappeared, his mother did not show any surprise or any violent grief, but a sudden change came over her. She seemed to have become completely spiritless. It was evident even to Winston that she was waiting for something that she knew must happen. (2.7.9)

Winston tells the tale of his mother's depression over his father's disappearance - an example of loyalty severed by the Party.

[...] yet she had possessed a kind of nobility, a kind of purity, simply because the standards that she obeyed were private ones. Her feelings were her own, and could not be altered from outside. It would not have occurred to her that an action which is ineffectual thereby becomes meaningless. If you loved someone, you loved him, and when you had nothing else to give, you still gave him love. (2.7.19)

Winston describes his mother as loving - an example of true, unadulterated private loyalty.

He never saw his mother again. When he came back his mother had disappeared. This was already becoming normal at that time. Nothing was gone from the room except his mother and his sister. They had not taken any clothes, not even his mother's overcoat. To this day he did not know with any certainty that his mother was dead. It was perfectly possible that she had merely been sent to a forced-labor camp. As for his sister, she might have been removed, like Winston himself, to one of the colonies for homeless children [...]. (2.7.14)

It is common for the Party to move family members away from each other so that private loyalties may be severed in a timely manner.

Book 2, Chapter 8
O'Brien

"You are prepared to give your lives?"

"Yes."

"You are prepared to commit murder?"

"Yes."

"To commit acts of sabotage which may cause the death of hundreds of innocent people?"

"Yes."

"To betray your country to foreign powers?"

"Yes."

"You are prepared to cheat, to forge, to blackmail, to corrupt the minds of children, to distribute habit-forming drugs, to encourage prostitution, to disseminate venereal diseases - to do anything which is likely to cause demoralization and weaken the power of the Party?"

"Yes."

"If, for example, it would somehow serve our interests to throw sulphuric acid in a child's face - are you prepared to do that?"

"Yes."

"You are prepared to lose your identity and live out the rest of your life as a waiter or a dock-worker?"

"Yes."

"You are prepared to commit suicide, if and when we order you to do so?"

"Yes."

"You are prepared, the two of you, to separate and never see one another again?"

"No!" broke in Julia. (2.8.28-45, O'Brien, Winston, and Julia)

Winston and Julia pledge selfless loyalty to the Brotherhood. While Winston seems prepared to give it all up, including his love for Julia, Julia presently is reluctant.

"We believe that there is some kind of conspiracy, some kind of secret organization working against the Party, and that you are involved in it. We want to join it and work for it. We are enemies of the Party. We disbelieve in the principles of Ingsoc. We are thought-criminals. We are also adulterers. I tell you this because we want to put ourselves at your mercy. If you want us to incriminate ourselves in any other way, we are ready." (2.8.16)

Winston and Julia profess their devotion and loyalty to the ultimate force of rebellion - the Brotherhood.

Book 2, Chapter 9

A Party member is expected to have no private emotions and no respites from enthusiasm. He is supposed to live in a continuous frenzy of hatred of foreign enemies and internal traitors, triumph over victories, and self-abasement before the power and wisdom of the Party. The discontents produced by his bare, unsatisfying life are deliberately turned outwards and dissipated by such devices as the Two Minutes Hate, and the speculations which might possibly induce a sceptical or rebellious attitude are killed in advance by his early acquired inner discipline. (2.9.61, Goldstein's Manifesto)

A Party member's duties include ensuring that he has no private loyalties or enthusiasms, in addition to ensuring that he learns ways to counter any temptations of rebellion.

In principle, membership of these three groups is not hereditary. The child of Inner Party parents is in theory not born into the Inner Party. Admission to either branch of the Party is by examination, taken at the age of sixteen. Nor is there any racial discrimination, or any marked domination of one province by another. Jews, N****es, South Americans of pure Indian blood are to be found in the highest ranks of the Party [...]. Its rulers are not held together by blood-ties but by adherence to a common doctrine... The Party is not a class in the old sense of the word. It does not aim at transmitting power to its own children, as such; and if there were no other way of keeping the ablest people at the top, it would be perfectly prepared to recruit an entire new generation from the ranks of the proletariat. In the crucial years, the fact that the Party was not a hereditary body did a great deal to neutralize opposition... The essence of oligarchical rule is not father-to-son inheritance, but the persistence of a certain world-view and a certain way of life, imposed by the dead upon the living. A ruling group is a ruling group so long as it can nominate its successors. The Party is not concerned with perpetuating its blood but with perpetuating itself. (2.9.58, Goldstein's Manifesto)

The Party's view about loyalty is that for totalitarianism to thrive, there must not be private loyalties at all. Rather, insofar as Inner Party members are concerned with the perpetuation of the Party's rule, the only allowable loyalty is the loyalty to power itself.

Book 3, Chapter 1

"Do anything to me!" he yelled. "You've been starving me for weeks. Finish it off and let me die. Shoot me. Hang me. Sentence me to twenty-five years. Is there somebody else you want me to give away? Just say who it is and I'll tell you anything you want. I don't care who it is or what you do to them. I've got a wife and three children. The biggest of them isn't six years old. You can take the whole lot of them and cut their throats in front of my eyes, and I'll stand by and watch it. But not Room 101!" (3.1.71, the old tortured man at the Ministry of Love)

The type of torture the Party employs is so intense that the people subject to it are ready to betray anything and anyone in order to avoid it. No private loyalty can be said to exist after the threat of this pain.

The Proles

"Down with Big Brother! Yes, I said that! Said it over and over again, it seems. Between you and me, old man, I'm glad they got me before it went any further [...]."

"Who denounced you?" said Winston.

"It was my little daughter," said Parsons with a sort of doleful pride. "She listened at the keyhole. Heard what I was saying, and nipped off to the patrols the very next day. Pretty smart for a nipper of seven, eh? I don't bear her any grudge for it. In fact I'm proud of her. It shows I brought her up in the right spirit, anyway." (3.1.48-50)

The children of Party members such as Parsons are so overcome with love for and indoctrination by the Party that they survey and turn in their own parents for thoughtcrime.

Book 3, Chapter 2
O'Brien

" [...] in the end we broke them down. I took part in their interrogation myself. I saw them gradually worn down, whimpering, groveling, weeping - and in the end it was not with pain or fear, only with penitence. By the time we had finished with them they were only the shells of men. There was nothing left in them except sorrow for what they had done, and love of Big Brother. It was touching to see how they loved him. They begged to be shot quickly, so that they could die while their minds were still clean." (3.2.105, O'Brien)

The Party ultimately vaporizes captured rebels, but not before converting, reforming, and reindoctrinating them - thereby ensuring continued and undying loyalty.

"What have you done with Julia?" said Winston.

O'Brien smiled again. "She betrayed you, Winston. Immediately-unreservedly. I have seldom seen anyone come over to us so promptly. You would hardly recognize her if you saw her. All her rebelliousness, her deceit, her folly, her dirty-mindedness - everything has been burned out of her. It was a perfect conversion, a textbook case." "You tortured her?" (3.2.32-34)

Upon hearing of Julia's betrayal, Winston is certain that she was subject to torture, just as he was. Loyalty is easy to breach in the face of torture.

Book 3, Chapter 3
O'Brien

"Can you think of a single degradation that has not happened to you?"

Winston had stopped weeping, though the tears were still oozing out of his eyes. He looked up at O'Brien.

"I have not betrayed Julia," he said [...].

He had not stopped loving her; his feeling toward her had remained the same. (3.3.77-81, O'Brien to Winston)

Despite prolonged torture, Winston's final act of rebellion is to hold on to his private loyalty to Julia; he refuses to betray her.

Book 3, Chapter 4
Winston Smith

Suddenly he started up with a shock of horror. The sweat broke out on his backbone. He had heard himself cry aloud:

"Julia ! Julia! Julia, my love! Julia!" (3.4.20-21)

In a fit of rebellion and manifestation of private loyalty, Winston refuses to give up his ties to Julia.

Book 3, Chapter 5
Winston Smith

"Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don't care what you do to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the bones. Not me! Julia! Not me!" (3.5.24)

Faced with his biggest fear, Winston finally betrays his private loyalty to Julia.

Book 3, Chapter 6

Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother. (3.6.41)

How appropriate it is to end with Winston's self-proclamation of love, acceptance, and loyalty to the Party.

Julia

"I betrayed you," she said baldly.

"I betrayed you," he said.

She gave him another quick look of dislike.

"Sometimes," she said, "they threaten you with something you can't stand up to, can't even think about. And then you say, 'Don't do it to me, do it to somebody else, do it to So-and-so.' And perhaps you might pretend, afterwards, that it was only a trick and that you just said it to make them stop and didn't really mean it. But that isn't true. At the time when it happens you do mean it. You think there's no other way of saving yourself, and you're quite ready to save yourself that way. You want it to happen to the other person. You don't give a damn what they suffer. All you care about is yourself."

"All you care about is yourself," he echoed.

"And after that, you don't feel the same towards the other person any longer."

"No," he said, "you don't feel the same." (3.6.16-22, Winston and Julia)

For both Winston and Julia, torture is able to chew through the deepest bonds of loyalty.

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