I'll be reading George Orwell's 1984 over the next few weeks, and documenting my reading here in short chunks as I read it. Mostly incoherent ramblings if you haven't already read the book.
The Two-Minutes Hate - a moment to celebrate pure, unbridled loathe. There is no gratefulness in this society, no compassion, no kindness, simply times of subdued hate and times of outward hate. This culminates in an organized, scheduled event dedicated to festering the worst in us. The Two-Minutes Hate shows a new side to the people involved, unleashing not a rage, but rather an abhorrence to the enemies (animate or not) of the Party. In this moment, even Winston, who despises the Party, is moved by the hate around him and finds himself caught in anger beyond the level he needs to fake as to not raise suspicion. This hate against the enemy seems to be the only thing holding this society together. Among the population there is general compliance with the Party, but not love. It is only the common hate of the enemy, as constructed by the Party, rather, which prevents Oceania from falling apart. It has only been a few decades in this society, and it is unproven against time. Can a society survive like that? Can the hate continue for generations to come?
The reasoning behind the delineation between the proles and the Party members seems unclear. Why is there such a strong gap between them? Why is there no sub-governance structure among the proles? Does the Party truly view them as lesser? Having lesser control over a larger number of people (Party members as well as the proles) would create a stronger government, and allow them more room for expansion in the future. As it stands now, they could slowly recruit more proles to join the Party full time, however with them creating this strong delineation, that could become difficult as time goes on. It seems that the Party could very easily sweep through and massively increase their power among the proles, and exponentially increase their influence. The Party, however, for reasons unknown has chosen to focus on a select 20% of the population, and have complete and utter control over them, while keeping vague dominion over the masses.
The beetle-like man - A description that has been used many times throughout the first 150 pages of 1984 without much precedence. Its not a common description in my knowledge, but one which Winston strongly associates with the Party. As described by Orwell, beetle-like people are "small, dark, and ill-favored... growing stout very early in life, with short legs, swift scuttling movements, and fat inscrutable faces with very small eyes." Used seldom in a positive light, Winston sees himself surrounded by people with these characteristics. Throughout, we see Winston associate various body types and physical appearances with the Party, namely young attractive women, and beetle-like men. These common and opposite appearances, both having equal loyalty, shows how the Party is becoming self-sustainable, training its own new generations of loyalists. Proles are described differently, often in respect to their on average larger size and weight, reflecting Winston's supremacist view over them. Seeing these uses of physical appearance in Winston's understanding of the proles and Party members lets the reader begin to think similarly to Winston.
The value of a safe space, where one can feel entirely comfortable and at home is not something to be undervalued or taken for granted. Its refreshing to see Winston find a safe space where for the first time in his adult life, where he can exist without immediate fear, and take life at a slightly slower pace. The reader (hopefully) is able to connected with him in this moment, and share a feeling of human compassion and understanding. It is, however, inevitable that this safe space will be destroyed, or at least rendered inaccessible, some time in the very near future, not only because Julia and Winston had been visiting it for a long period of time at this point, but also with their new lives in the Brotherhood. I'm curious if Winston will ever be able to return to that level of peace in his life that he had reading a book in Mr. Charrington's room after this shift in his life. You can tell the stress it built up in him (and every Party member), and without an outlet ever again, it may not end well for him.
Syme is gone. Just as Winston predicted, the thoughtpolice eventually got to him. It is interesting to see, because although Syme was powerful for the party, and believed in its values, he simply thought too much, and his inquisitive mind would have eventually led him to revolt (at least by the Party's logic). The Party needs their followers to be mindless, as soon as they start thinking for themselves, even if in support of the party initially, eventually they will see its flaws. To be too smart, too insightful is illegal, even if not to the point of danger as was in Syme's case. Overnight, he went from existing, to simply not. This made me question what the point of living in this society is. If your life can just so simply disappear, with your life's work erased with you, why would you bother being a productive citizen? Winston thinks a bit like this, but Julia thinks differently, encouraging enjoying and embracing the moment, no matter what might come later. Personally, I'm a fairly pessimistic person, and would favor Winston's side here. No "productive" task in Oceania is permanent, from reading, to writing, to learning, it will all be erased or invalidated with no personal control. Why live life to its fullest in conditions like that?