1984 RADIO OMISSIONS - 3
To Orwell Today,
1984 RADIO OMISSIONS
Here is the omissions listing for the BBC 1984 production, episode three, broadcast on the 29th April. Again, sorry about length....any edits you want to make are fine by me!
*The introduction to this week's episode, to someone who does not know the story and had only heard this BBC edition, could make Winston's growing realisations sound trivial and rather absurd.
By saying that he has realised that future's hopes are based on the ability to say that 2 + 2 = 4, it not only distances Orwell's 1984 from our present date, but also, because of the mountain of previous omissions that would have otherwise created fully the bleak picture of total state control, sounds like more meaningless whinging - perhaps the kind of thing a "woolly headed" civil libertarian might say.....
*First paragraph of chapter 8 is missed. This contains another subtle example of the sparse existance that is normal life under BB, and is removed because of this. The paragraph also shows us the difference between Victory coffee and Real coffee, a comparison which is of course entirely applicable to many products that we all know today.
*Omits completely all mention of Winston's walk being a dangerous and subversive act, and the paragraph detailing more of the controlled way of life under BB. This paragraph contains a number of important themes, and i thought it worthwhile to detail them separately;
*"This was the second time in three weeks that he had missed an evening at the Community Centre: a rash act, since you could be certain that the number of your attendances at the Centre was carefully checked".
Being watched all of the time is a thing that is becoming more and more real, and not only in the UK. The idea of such a seemingly innocent action being seen as "rash" or suspicious in the world of 1984 is perhaps a little suggestive of the way in which, due to government propaganda, people are starting to consider one another a "terrorist" for behaviours that previously have elicted no concern at all.
I have been asked if i am a terrorist simply for showing some understanding of why Palestinian suicide bombers carry out their attacks. This was said in a manner suggesting humour, but still the fact that the word "terrorist", or the suggestion that if i empathise with these people i support them, was there at all is worrying, and displays the depth to which the propaganda has sunk in to the minds of those exposed.
I am sure you, or perhaps other readers, will have had similar experiences...
Also, in another example of how "attendence" is now being monitored, just yesterday i read of a most shocking case - a mother of two teenage girls has been electronically tagged by police because her sons have not been attending their state school.
Here is the story (BBC again): Parents face tagging over truancy. BBC, Apr 29, 2005
I have no idea what this tag has to do with the case. The tags are used to make sure that offenders released from prison do not stray away from their home area by requiring the wearer, a set number of times per day, to scan their tag on a machine which then verifies that the tag is still being worn, and calls the police to tell them this.
I know from observing a friend of a friend that these tags are practically useless (still able to deal drugs, for example) in stopping any kind of criminal activity, and my perception is that they are simply to accustom us as a population to the idea of "tagging and tracking". The woman was also ordered to attend "parenting classes", which sounds like a euphemism for "the state knows how to look after your children". As i turn this story over in my mind, it becomes ever more incredible and incomprehensible.
*It was assumed that when he was not working, eating, or sleeping he would be taking part in some kind of communal recreation: to do anything that suggested a taste for solitude, even to go for a walk by yourself, was always slightly dangerous." is omitted.
This reflects the often used media term "loner", as used to describe anyone who ends up commiting crime worthy of news attention. Although, if you look into the individual cases closely, you often find out that "loner" simply means someone who doesn't play competitive sports or go out "socialising" IE. getting drunk in nightclubs. Also relates to the idea that, at school, one should do many "extra curricular activities" in order to get on well at school.
*Omits "There was a word for it in Newspeak: ownlife, it was called, meaning individualism and eccentricity." Apart from cutting out another comparative example of Nu Labour's obsession with contractions, the omission also removes the reference to the idea that government, especially authoritarian socialist government, has hidden away in its ideals the desire to have a wholly collectivist society where the nation is as one, with little space for private pursuits or ideas outside of the watchful eye of the State.
This is derived, in turn, from their perception that the masses cannot be trusted to decide their own minds or actions, ironic in that most of those who make up these kinds of government can often be heard going on about how everyone is equal, as they logically must consider themselves to be above their "charges".
*Omits "the creaking comraderie oiled by gin", again another reference to alcohol used in a negative way, and therefore unthinkable. Note the subsequent mention of Victory Gin later on for a good confirmation of the BBC's attitude to drink...
*"He was walking up a cobbled street of little two-storey houses with battered doorways which gave straight on the pavement and which were somehow curiously suggestive of ratholes." is altered to "walking up a cobbled street of little houses.".
Quite clearly the BBC is trying to make life under BB appear far better than Orwell paints it, as references to poor quality surroundings has been regularly removed or altered, especially when talking about beloved London. The description of the houses is also notable, because it pictures perfectly the terraced rows which are so common throughout the rest of the UK, and inclusion of this would no doubt allow many to create a link between the world of 1984 and their own, something plus ungood.
*"girls in full bloom, with crudely lipsticked mouths, and youths who chased the girls, and swollen waddling women who showed you what the girls would be like in ten years' time and old bent creatures shuffling along on splayed feet, and ragged barefooted children who played in the puddles and then scattered at angry yells from their mothers" changed to "girls with crudely lipsticked mouths, and youths who chased the girls, and swollen waddling women and ragged barefooted children...", which seems to me another attempt (see last week's listings) not to criticise promiscuity as a childish fad, or as a mere animalistic response to hormones in the blood. By omitting "girls in full bloom", the passing beauty and transient nature of the flower metaphore is avoided; removing "who showed you what the girls would be like in ten years", completes the neutering of Orwell's important observation of the prole behaviour.
The meaning of this powerful sentence is completely altered by the BBC - the incisive tale that Orwell tells us of the prole from teenage to motherhood and swarming, larvae-like, children, to old age and bowed backs and bad legs is wiped from the story, leaving the sense safe and sanitised for the listening public.
*Omits "Perhaps a quarter of the windows in the street were broken and boarded up", which fairly describes large swathes of the remaining council-owned housing estates in the city where i live, and is repeated throughout the country.
Again, another Truth too close to home to be allowed to stay.
*Leaves out prole women conversation.
*Omits an absolutly crucial observation of police state practice : "Indeed, it was unwise to be seen in such places, unless you had definite business there. The patrols might stop you if you happened to run into them. ''May I see your papers, comrade? What are you doing here? What time did you leave work? Is this your usual way home?'" and so on and so forth. "Not that there was any rule against walking home by an unusual route: but it was enough to draw attention to you if the Thought Police heard about it."
Fear of persecution, even though there are no laws to be broken - this is fundamental to the way in which police-states work, but, more so, a central element in techniques of Brainwashing : By creating uncertainty as to what is right and what is wrong, by removing the usual logical structures which normally determine how you are treated in response to your behaviour, and by being subjected to arbitrary punishments, the individual is rendered powerless in their own mind due to the knowledge that they live on the whim of their master, rather than by their own will.
The lack of set definitions, of set laws, of what constitutes "unorthodoxy" means that those in power effectively rule based on their feelings of any one issue at the current moment.....a particularly dangerous state of affairs, since the leaders, or leader, at the top tends to become paranoid and frightened as time progresses, which leads to increasingly restrictive measures in relation to the length of their rule.
The most obvious removal of this paragraph which relates to current affairs is the line "may i see your papers, comrade?", as this has actually been used to condemn the UK Identity Card Bill during Parliamentary debates, and is a well known phrase used to illustrate one of the more negative aspects of national identity schemes, the phrase, or a translation of it, being cited from nazi germany, soviet russia, communist germany and also during and for some time after the second world war in Britain.
It also contains the word "comrade", which has been all but avoided in the production so far.
The types of questions that Winston mentions are all familier to anyone who has been stopped by police in the street, as they are familier to me, the only difference being that, at the moment, one can refuse to answer and not be guaranteed arrest but only run the risk........this will change.
In summary, the ideas contained in this one paragraph alone are far too subversive, especially in the context of 1984, and had to be removed.
*Entire "Rocket Bomb" episode omitted from the story. This is a very relevant part, as it deals with supposed "terror attacks" upon the population of London. The attacks in the novel are arbitrary and without specific target.
Not only so they evoke memories of the second world war as it happened during the blitz, but also of the bombing of the german civilian population, especially Dresden (an attack that even Churchill called a "terror" attack), which is always a sore point here in the UK.
Let us see if this omission is an omen of further omission of rocket bomb related sections, one of which is perhaps the most current politically relevant idea of the book....
*Entire episode where Winston enters a prole public house and the encounter with the old prole man is omitted, which has some interesting little comments in it;
"It was nearly twenty hours, and the drinking-shops which the proles frequented ('pubs', they called them) were choked with customers. From their grimy swing doors, endlessly opening and shutting, there came forth a smell of urine, sawdust, and sour beer" it left out.
The funniest part here is the proximity of "it was nearly twenty hours" to a description of the pub - recently, the "Labour" government here in the UK has been campaigning for us all to welcome in twenty-four-hour licensing for our alcohol dispensing establishments, which is supposedly to reduce binge drinking!
Also, the description of the pub, which is accurate of pretty much all pubs and bars after a certain hour, obviously shows alcohol and its drinkers in a bad light, and therefore is not allowed.
*The whole, wonderfully accurate, section on the Lottery is left out, the following most obviously "It was probable that there were some millions of proles for whom the Lottery was the principal if not the only reason for remaining alive.", which is, if not literally True, then figurativly True in that for many it is a large part of what their hopes live for.
In fact, i happen to know that there is a growing group of lower working-class or, worse, unemployed people who spend the majority of their money on the lottery or the many "scratch cards" which are available, each costing £1 per go, and i have seen, again a friend of a friend, a man's work van with approximately 300 scratch cards in. These the driver counted for the amusement of our mutual friends, jokingly - yet slightly concerned - stating that this was about 10 day's worth of entries. He then told us that, this same day, he had been in a shop buying some scratch cards where a woman he knew had bought a whole unopened retail box of them - that is, a few hundred cards at once.
This is why the lottery must not be mentioned, especially in the negative, but sympathetic, way that Orwell writes of it.
*Part where Orwell mentions the fact the old are the last links to what really happened in the past is left out.
*The old man's altercation with the barkeeper is omitted. This is relevant to modern day england because the government here has made it illegal to sell many goods in anything but metric measurements, pounds and ounces not being allowed in the European Union! There have been a number of shop keepers fined and even jailed because they refused to stop selling in imperial measures, this group earning the name "the metric martyrs". It is only time before the same applies to public houses and drinks measures.
*Omits a reference to razor blades, even though previously they were mentioned. This is because of the context: "If questioned, he could plausibly say that he was trying to buy razor blades."
If this had been included, it would have referenced the previous explanations of how the patrols would question him about his business here, but they were omitted also.
*Omits the shop keeper telling Winston about the quality diary that he bought before, and that nothing as good as that is made anymore.
Could have been a little too suggestive of modern mass produced products and their inferior quality to older products made in a less mechanised fashion.
*Although actual superfluous words of Winston's are kept (superfluous in terms of a radio production i mean) in his previous speech, more important concepts are removed when the shop keeper speaks them; "'You see how it is; an empty shop, you might say. Between you and me, the antique trade's just about finished. No demand any longer, and no stock either. Furniture, china, glass it's all been broken up by degrees. And of course the metal stuff's mostly been melted down. I haven't seen a brass candlestick in years.'"
Which is all True of today, what with most people unable to afford good old furniture and instead turning to things bought from Ikea or some other cheaply produced, flat packed, retailer.
Also, the shop keeper is speaking of the ways in which anything old, anything which is a link to the past or which represents ideas that are unorthodox, have been destroyed.
*Omits the coral paper weight!
*Omits "and a forest of chimney-pots" though rest of sentence mostly intact, perhaps because, again, it is an image that most people in the UK are familiar with seeing around them day to day.
*Incredibly, because it is so regular a theme that it might be True, "with nobody watching you, no voice pursuing you, no sound except the singing of the kettle and the friendly ticking of the clock." is omitted, even though it is the whole point of the sentence, and the rest of what precedes it is left intact!
*"'There's no telescreen!' he could not help murmuring" is, incredibly, omitted. The omnipresence of the telescreen, and of being monitored at all, is absolutly CENTRAL to Orwell's message, but yet at every turn it is quietly removed!
*Omits "if he dared to take the risk." from Winston's thoughts on renting the room. This leaves those who are not familiar with the novel wondering why it is "a wild, impossible notion, to be abandoned as soon as thought of"!
Is it impossible because of the cost? Because the shopkeeper might not rent it out? What, why is it impossible? This is not made clear.
*Omits "It contained nothing but rubbish. The hunting-down and destruction of books had been done with the same thoroughness in the prole quarters as everywhere else. It was very unlikely that there existed anywhere in Oceania a copy of a book printed earlier than 1960", another very clear description of how the Party destroys links to the past in order to control the present thoughts of the population.
*Similarly "Statues, inscriptions, memorial stones, the names of streets anything that might throw light upon the past had been systematically altered." is left out too.
*The omission of "The centuries of capitalism were held to have produced nothing of any value" is an interesting one. In its most obvious form, this is pretty much what the current "Labour" party have to say about the previous 14 years of Conservative government. Though this Nu Labout party is almost as fervently "capitalist" in the areas they criticise the conservatives, they seem to want the working man to believe that Labour still has their interests at heart (which is what the Labour party was historically concerned with).
In a more relevant sense, the idea that nothing of worth has come from an entire society is the general perception of the Islamic nations, as peddled by the mass media to the millions of people that they have already convinced to be afraid of "fundamentalist muslims", and to view all muslims, or even people who look "like them", as potential terrorists. This view of the Islamic nations is of course completely ficticious, but it seems to serve the current agenda fairly well.
Obviously there needs to be a "bad guy" to be rescued from, and obviously that "bad guy" can have no redeeming features whatsoever, otherwise an all-out attack on them is harder to gain support for...
*"'I never knew it had been a church," he said. "'There's a lot of them left, really,'" said the old man, 'hough they've been put to other uses'" omitted, for it is True.
*"Winston knew the place well. It was a museum used for propaganda displays of various kinds scale models of rocket bombs and Floating Fortresses, waxwork tableaux illustrating enemy atrocities, and the like." is left out, as this again shows the way in which a government propagandises its people so that they accept wars and, inevitably, more restrictive laws.
The only difference between Orwell's "scale models" and "waxwork" examples is that, today, it is done via the television, with moving images and personal sob stories.
*Omits "Winston did not buy the picture. It would have been an even more incongruous possession than the glass paperweight, and impossible to carry home", which is of course another reference to the patrols and being watched in general.
*"The serious piece of folly had been to come back here in the first place, after buying the diary and without knowing whether the proprietor of the shop could be trusted." is omitted, since it shows how people cannot be trusted not to inform police of your "suspicious" activities, and consequently the way in which police-state operates.
*Although "and went down the stairs alone, so as not to let the old man see him reconnoitring the street before stepping out of the door" is read, what follows it is left out : "For perhaps five seconds exaltation made him careless, and he stepped out on to the pavement without so much as a preliminary glance through the window."
Omitting this completely alters the meaning. Instead of the dangerous forgetfulness that sees Winston step outside without checking for patrols, it is made to sound as if there isn't anything to be careful of at all, and hiding his "reconnoitering the street" from the shopkeeper is pointless, especially when read in isolation from all the preceding talk about patrols and risky places to be seen.
Again, could this be an attempt to present life under BB as far less restrictive than it really is, mentioning little if any of the ways in which individuals are monitored and tracked, and, ultimately, make Winston look stupid and paranoid?
*"Whether she was really an agent of the Thought Police, or simply an amateur spy actuated by officiousness, hardly mattered" is left out...."Officiousness" is good, people!
*Omits "The lights would be switched off at the main at twenty-three thirty.", which is another reference to the poor state of the power supply, and also an indication of the extent of the state control.
*This is a strange one: Victory Gin mentioned at long last, although in complete isolation of Orwell's many uses of it as a pacifier to numb the pain of life under BB. In fact, where it is used in the BBC edition, the drinking of the Gin has a very positive air, as it is taken after a stressful encounter near the old junk shop.
The voice actor actually reads "a teacupful full of Victory Gin" with a slight laugh, much in the same way that a young man might tell you he drank a bottle of vodka the night before - both instances are the same in that they view the large amount of alcohol taken as humorous, manly, adventurous.....Alcohol taken under these circumstances is a common idea in modern society - "a stiff drink" to settle the nerves - and the inclusion of this particular instance of Victory Gin fits neatly into this pre existance concept.
Quite an interesting reversal of the original meaning.
*"It struck him that in moments of crisis one is never fighting against an external enemy, but always against one's own body. Even now, in spite of the gin, the dull ache in his belly made consecutive thought impossible. And it is the same, he perceived, in all seemingly heroic or tragic situations. On the battlefield, in the torture chamber, on a sinking ship, the issues that you are fighting for are always forgotten, because the body swells up until it fills the universe, and even when you are not paralysed by fright or screaming with pain, life is a moment-to-moment struggle against hunger or cold or sleeplessness, against a sour stomach or an aching tooth." is omitted.
There is a very important concept in the above quotation, which i feel goes close to the heart of the main issues that we face today, and upon which i'm sure lengthy texts could be produced by those with sufficient power. Suffice it to say that that power is not mine, but here is a brief coverage of what i can see in it.
The extent of our control and manipulation by government is almost completely determined by the extent to which we consider ourselves dependent upon goods and services. These need not all be goods or services which the state provides directly, as they would in a Communist country, but so long as we allow ourselves to exist within a framework which makes, for example, piped water or main drainage systems essential to our lives, we are very easily controlled. This is because we are not able to provide those services for ourselves without outside assistance, and must therefore, in the example just above, pay for them in the form of taxes.
The more we think we need from government, the more we are in thrall to their taxation system - a system which is rarely optional.
Now, this relates to the quote from Orwell above, because in it he explains how it is the body that so often, always for many people, dominates our perceptions and needs. If we could forget about that for awhile, that is, not be so dependent on bodily and material comforts, we would be able to free ourselves from the dependancies that grow from that initial body/material based framework.
In place of piped water, which we pay high taxes for, it is perfectly possible to live using water caught from rainfall, or from backyard wells etc. Of course, that then requires that we reduce our wasteful water consumption, since, even with enough stored drinking water to last 3 months, we cannot hope to be able to store enough for a washing machine, dish washer, two showers a day, or a flushing toilet.
This would mean, for many people, a reduced standard of living, but in reality is a step closer to freedom from working to pay government taxes, not to mention other bills and costs.
And on it goes.....
I hope i haven't gone on too much there, but what Orwell said in the quote seemed so relevant to what is, at root, a large cause of our control - laziness, complacency, softness, and a willingness to be pampered to.
Also there is the Gin comment, which is omitted.
*Omits "The woman on the telescreen had started a new song. Her voice seemed to stick into his brain like jagged splinters of glass" although surrounding parts are kept. This again lessens the True intrusiveness of the telescreen, and its jarring, numbing effect reminiscent of the television.
We also lose a nice piece of imagery.....
*Includes "But before death (nobody spoke of such things, yet everybody knew of them) there was the routine of confession that had to be gone through: the grovelling on the floor and screaming for mercy, the crack of broken bones, the smashed teeth, and bloody clots of hair." which is perhaps an odd thing to include considering the amount of meaningful content that has been scrubbed....i can only see that it is kept in to pander to some strange concept of a listener that the writers at the BBC have in mind, or for some more propagandistic design.
*Omits the last paragraph from chapter 8. "He tried with a little more success than before to summon up the image of O'Brien. 'We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness,' O'Brien had said to him. He knew what it meant, or thought he knew. The place where there is no darkness was the imagined future, which one would never see, but which, by foreknowledge, one could mystically share in. But with the voice from the telescreen nagging at his ears he could not follow the train of thought further. He put a cigarette in his mouth. Half the tobacco promptly fell out on to his tongue, a bitter dust which was difficult to spit out again. The face of Big Brother swam into his mind, displacing that of O'Brien. Just as he had done a few days earlier, he slid a coin out of his pocket and looked at it. The face gazed up at him, heavy, calm, protecting: but what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache? Like a leaden knell the words came back at him:
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH"
This is a continued silence on the dream of O'Brien, more omission on the telescreen and its incessant squawking, further avoidance of mentioning poor quality products sold by the state-owned manufacturers, plus missing the opportunity to read the three mottos, which Orwell considered so important, and a reference to real life in the shape of BB's head on a coin.
*Omits "A curious emotion stirred in Winston's heart. In front of him was an enemy who was trying to kill him: in front of him, also, was a human creature, in pain and perhaps with a broken bone. Already he had instinctively started forward to help her. In the moment when he had seen her fall on the bandaged arm, it had been as though he felt the pain in his own body." from the start of chapter nine, a shame as it is a good display of Winston's increasing humaness.
*Leaves out all but the last line of the first conversation between Winston and Julia.
*Omits "For a moment he was tempted to take it into one of the water-closets and read it at once. But that would be shocking folly, as he well knew. There was no place where you could be more certain that the telescreens were watched continuously.". This is quite interesting, as the toilet is one of the places that modern CCTV claims never to be placed in, although there have been various suggestions by companies that this it to be changed.
*Omits a mention of the Brotherhood.
*Omits lunch with Parsons, and "He was particularly enthusiastic about a papier-mache model of Big Brother's head, two metres wide, which was being made for the occasion by his daughter's troop of Spies" concerning Hate Week.
*Omits "Tonight was one of his nights at the Community Centre. He wolfed another tasteless meal in the canteen, hurried off to the Centre, took part in the solemn foolery of a 'discussion group', played two games of table tennis, swallowed several glasses of gin, and sat for half an hour through a lecture entitled 'Ingsoc in relation to chess'."
This continues omission of most of the major themes; avoidance of mentioning the poor quality food, avoidance of showing alcohol in a bad light (bad here because Winston is obviously trying to distract and numb himself), and, also, avoidance of all references so far in the novel to INGSOC, which is of course English Socialism, something so closely related to our current Labour government (and all the parties we have here in the UK, in actual fact) as to be disallowable.
*"By a routine that was not even secret, all letters were opened in transit" is left out. It harks back to the second world war, when large amounts of personal mail was censored, plus, it is relevant to laws passed over the past few years which allow email snooping to be conducted by security forces within the UK.
*"Actually, few people ever wrote letters. For the messages that it was occasionally necessary to send, there were printed postcards with long lists of phrases, and you struck out the ones that were inapplicable." is left out because you can actually buy cards like this.
The idea is also very applicable to the greeting cards industry, as they are full of preconstructed platitudes, with space enough inside to simply jot your name down.
*Omits "His whole mind and body seemed to be afflicted with an unbearable sensitivity, a sort of transparency, which made every movement, every sound, every contact, every word that he had to speak or listen to, an agony. Even in sleep he could not altogether escape from her image. He did not touch the diary during those days. If there was any relief, it was in his work, in which he could sometimes forget himself for ten minutes at a stretch. He had absolutely no clue as to what had happened to her. There was no enquiry he could make. She might have been vaporized, she might have committed suicide, she might have been transferred to the other end of Oceania: worst and likeliest of all, she might simply have changed her mind and decided to avoid him.", which contains not only a lovely description of the state of Winston's emotions, and something with which listeners may identify, but also more references to "disappearances".
*"The queue edged forward till Winston was almost at the counter, then was held up for two minutes because someone in front was complaining that he had not received his tablet of saccharine" is removed, obviously because it mentions one of the disallowed themes of poor quality foods and the associated artificial enhancers of taste.
*Omits Winston being accosted in the canteen by Wilsher: "A blond-headed, silly-faced young man named Wilsher, whom he barely knew, was inviting him with a smile to a vacant place at his table". This refers back to another theme seen earlier in the series, which seems to remove any and all references to the people living under BB being distant and unknown to each other although they work in close proximity.
This is also a modern phenomenon easily noticable in real life.
*Another mention of the "beetle like" men is removed.
*Omits "'It's full of telescreens...It doesn't matter if there's a crowd...Any signal?'" from the second conversation between Winston and Julia. This is an obvious removal of telescreens and their constant monitoring.
*Omits "A long line of trucks, with wooden-faced guards armed with sub-machine guns standing upright in each corner, was passing slowly down the street", perhaps because of the overt images of the police-state.
*Leaves out "She need not have told him that. But for the moment they could not extricate themselves from the crowd. The trucks were still filing past, the people still insatiably gaping. At the start there had been a few boos and hisses, but it came only from the Party members among the crowd, and had soon stopped. The prevailing emotion was simply curiosity. Foreigners, whether from Eurasia or from Eastasia, were a kind of strange animal. One literally never saw them except in the guise of prisoners, and even as prisoners one never got more than a momentary glimpse of them. Nor did one know what became of them, apart from the few who were hanged as war-criminals: the others simply vanished, presumably into forced-labour camps. The round Mongol faces had given way to faces of a more European type, dirty, bearded and exhausted. From over scrubby cheekbones eyes looked into Winston's, sometimes with strange intensity, and flashed away again. The convoy was drawing to an end. In the last truck he could see an aged man, his face a mass of grizzled hair, standing upright with wrists crossed in front of him, as though he were used to having them bound together."
*Also omits "With hands locked together, invisible among the press of bodies, they stared steadily in front of them, and instead of the eyes of the girl, the eyes of the aged prisoner gazed mournfully at Winston out of nests of hair.".
Such an evocative image, the triangle of lost souls all destined for the Ministry of Love, so lonely although surrounded by masses of people, it seems, is wasted by being excluded from the production.
*Omits "through dappled light and shade, stepping out into pools of gold wherever the boughs parted." and "The air seemed to kiss one's skin.", all wonderfully rich descriptions of the countryside, all left out, much as there was equally rich images removed from the "Golden Country" description earlier in the series.
*Omits "In general you could not assume that you were much safer in the country than in London. There were no telescreens, of course, but there was always the danger of concealed microphones by which your voice might be picked up and recognized; besides, it was not easy to make a journey by yourself without attracting attention." and "but sometimes there were patrols hanging about the railway stations, who examined the papers of any Party member they found there and asked awkward questions. However, no patrols had appeared,".
However, the fact that Winston was checking to see if he was being followed IS mentioned, but again, without the context of telescreens and concealed microphones, it is all an unfamilier listener could do to assume that it is Winston who is the paranoid one, and not BB.
It is quite shocking how the "patrols", especially, have been so completely removed from this version of 1984, but also that the BBC quite clearly wish their listeners to perceive Winston as an overly sensitive, somewhat kooky, individual, and that the state is not half so bad as Orwell, and our own reality today, describe it.
*Omits "The train was full of proles, in holiday mood because of the summery weather.". Perhaps the transmission of this episode at the start of a bank holiday weekend, and also the fact that the BBC seems to be removing all evidence of the Proles' behaviour, has something to do with this removal of the description of Winston's journey?
This episode ends at the begining of the fourth paragraph of the first chapter of part II of the novel.
I will, during the week sometime, compile a quick list of the major and minor themes that are running through this highly altered version of 1984, and i of course welcome suggestions of any kind.
james (sheffield, uk)
Thank you for your Herculean effort in pointing out the Part-3 omissions in the BBC's radio broadcast and explaining how they affect the way Winston and Big Brother are perceived by the listener. You're breathing life back into Orwell's wounded pages.
Personally, I was thunderstruck when they omitted Winston buying the glass paperweight, not only because it is a beautiful piece of writing but also because the glass paperweight holds great symbolism:
"As Winston wandered towards the table his eye was caught by a round, smooth thing that gleamed softly in the lamplight, and he picked it up. It was a heavy lump of glass, curved on one side, flat on the other, making almost a hemisphere. There was a peculiar softness, as of rainwater, in both the colour and the texture of the glass. At the heart of it, magnified by the curved surface, there was a strange, pink, convoluted object that recalled a rose or a sea anemone. "Its a beautiful thing," said Winston....What appealed to him about it was not so much its beauty as the air it seemed to possess of belonging to an age quite different from the present one. The soft, rainwatery glass was not like any glass that he had ever seen. The thing was doubly attractive because of its apparent uselessness, though he could guess that it must once have been intended as a paperweight. It was very heavy in his pocket, but fortunately it did not make much of a bulge."
Throughout the rest of the novel, using the glass paperweight, Orwell takes us deep inside Winston's being and tenderly bonds us emotionally to him. We feel Winston's pride when he shows the glass paperweight to Julia. We feel Winston being comforted when he gazes into the glass paperweight and imagines himself and Julia living inside there. We feel Winston's terror and abandonment when the glass paperweight is eventually picked up and smashed to pieces against the hearth-stone of the little old-fashioned room above the shop where he and Julia lived like husband and wife, before the men in black uniforms hauled them off to the Ministry of Love.
The fact that the BBC's abridgers haven't mentioned the glass paperweight is, to me, another example of them attempting to keep the listener from forming a sympathetic and emotional attachment to Winston, and through him, Orwell.
Another reason I love the glass paperweight passage is because I, like Winston, have a glass paperweight I covet and use daily to hold down Orwell Today writings:
All the best,
PS - I just want to say "thank you" again for the wonderful job you're doing in explaining the BBC omissions and I'm really looking forward to the list of omission themes you're working on. The amazing thing about your anaylsis of the omissions is that by pointing out what is missed, people are actually having the story of 1984 told to them, while at the same time having its relevance to present-day life explained. From then on, they will notice these things, which is exactly what Orwell wanted us to do.
1984 RADIO OMISSIONS - 2 cont'd
1984 RADIO OMISSIONS - 4
Reader says BBC is shredding all heart, life, soul & "TRUTH" from ORWELL'S 1984 radio reading
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