To Orwell Today
re: 2.Big Brother

Just for accuracy's sake, in your section on Big Brother, your paraphrasing of:

"The Party did not seek power for its own ends, but only for the good of the majority. It sought power because men in the mass were frail cowardly creatures who could not endure liberty or face the truth, and must be ruled over and systematically deceived by others who were stronger than themselves. The choice for mankind lay between freedom and happiness, and for the great bulk of mankind happiness was better. The Party was the eternal guardian of the weak, a dedicated sect doing evil that good might come, sacrificing its own happiness to that of others."

is incorrect because the good of mankind was not the party's motive. Their motive was power:

"The party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others: we are interested solely in power. No wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power...Power is not a means it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution: one makes a revolution in order to establish the dictatorship."(Part 3, ch 3)

Your paraphrasing comes from Winston's thoughts of what he believed O'Brien was going to say about the party, but was strongly rebuked for making a stupid statement.

Denise Wathen

Greetings Denise,

Your use of the word "paraphrasing" in describing the above passage in the Big Brother section is the wrong word.

Paraphrasing means "to state the meaninng of a passage in other words" and in creating the 45 themes, of which Big Brother is theme 2, I didn't use any other words than Orwell's and so I wasn't paraphrasing. I was "excerpting" which means "taking passages from a book". Please read HOW TO USE THIS SITE which explains why and how I divided "1984" into themes.

However, other than the word "paraphrasing" I agree with what you say.

I should not have put that excerpt there in its entirety because taken out of its context (as it was) it says that Big Brother is doing evil for our own good when in fact Big Brother is doing evil for the sake of doing evil, ie because Big Brother IS evil. I should have used only the last part of the excerpt, not the preceding sentences. I have now removed everything except the core point, ie "the Party was a dedicated sect doing evil".

Thank you for so astutely pointing out that the words were spoken by Winston who was saying them only because he thought that was what O'Brien wanted to hear (and he was being tortured at the time). Winston was merely repeating what Big Brother always told the citizens of Oceania, ie that "we are doing this (evil) for your own good", just like these days our version of Big Brother says "we're doing this (cameras, cops, invasion of privacy etc) to keep you saaaaaafe from 'terrorists'."

Another reason the excerpt is incorrect is because I already have it in another theme, ie 42.The Party Tells 'Why' and in creating the themes I attempted to place each excerpt into one theme only (with small, rare exceptions). So I committed TWO mistakes with that excerpt which is plus-un-correct.

Thanks again for pointing out the error. In the five years since I created the themes I have sometimes gone back and made corrections I myself have noticed. I appreciate it when readers also notice inaccuracies and describe their reasons for recommending changes.

All the best,
Jackie Jura

Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~