~ further discussion between a reader and Jackie Jura regarding who controls Winston's mind:
I'm not sold on those moments being Godincidents. But before I tell you why, let me just say what a pleasure it is to discuss 1984 with you. I'm very disconcerted by the fact that hardly anyone I encounter has read the book... or, if they have, it was a long time ago "in high school." This is a perfect book for our times. Those who are bewildered about current events should make reading this masterpiece on the top of their to-do list. Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 should be read too... but not until 1984 (sorry Ray!). ;-)
I appreciate your verve in wanting to swing me over to your side. Well, this isn't a competition of wits. I'm holding out on my position only because I feel I can substantiate it from things I've found in the book. To me, there is a basic logic running througout the book that suggests that the Inner party would indeed be perfectly capable of influencing the destiny of the two lovers.
To enable a relationship and then tear it down would be the ultimate power trip for these psychopathic control freaks. And since Julia has been involved with Party members, it would be only a matter of time until she met her Waterloo. They would give her a long leash and let her play out her rebellion as they let Winston. O'Brien would be aware of Winston's need for companionship, and it would be the perfect plan of cruelty to allow he and Julia to consummate their love -- that is, let it develop by not arresting them right away. Allowing Winston to have someone to love and then making him betray that person (as he felt he did to his mother and sister) would cause a transference of that love to Big Brother. Something similar to what happens to victims of the Stockholm Syndrome.
Now, none of this undermines your contention that Winston and Julia really loved one another. I believe they did as I believe they both found healing in their relationship. To me, this is what makes the story so poignant and horrific: two people are willing to risk their lives to live as human beings... and then the Party comes along at the zenith of their joy and smashes them beyond repair. To me, this is the cruelty of cruelties! The ultimate sadism!
I've been meditating for over 20 years and have experienced Godincidents on a regular basis. In true relationships, there is often an undeniable psychic affinity. Once, many years ago, when I wasn't in a relationship, I was walking down a street serveral miles from where I live, when I suddenly had a thought, "I'd like to find a girlfriend!" Several days later, I happened to be somewhere and I met a woman. We hit it off instantly like Winston and Julia. I soon discovered that she lived in my neighborhood. More to the point, she lived in an apartment exactly at the location where I had that strong thought several days before. That was a Godincident.
....But this incident didn't bring up negative associations. There is something eerie and enigmatic about Winston's experiences. On the one hand, he is finding joy, and on the other, entrapment. So you'd have to either show some sort of proof from the book that supports your contention that there was no interference from the Inner Party, or you might be able to tell me what clues there are in Orwell's personal philosophy or in some other writings to suggest this was some sort of deus ex machina.
OK.. Ball's in your court! ... and Down with Big Brother!
PS: I've a bona fide Godincident: I just found an article on the net which, in regard to matters of coincidence, presents an eloquent analysis favoring the premise that the Inner Party intervened in the affair of Winston and Julia. Would you mind taking a moment to read it and letting me know how it strikes you? - "The Hell of Nineteen Eighty-Four" at http://www.seas.upenn.edu/~allport/chestnut/hell1984.htm
JJ answers SR:
...sorry for taking so long to return the ball to your court, but I've been busy with a project. However, I did read the essay by the guy from Oxford and I see that you and he think alike in regard to the level of control the Party has over Winston's mind.
However, as I've explained in previous email, I do not agree with your premise that Winston and Julia were pawns on a chess board being moved around by O'Brien, and that the dream of the dark-haired girl was put there by O'Brien and then the dark-haired girl was later made to appear (ie Julia). Winston knows the difference between true and false memories, and true and false dreams. That's the whole problem. O'Brien wants to wipe all the true stuff out and replace it with the false. Winston is putting up strong resistence. 1984 represents the battle for Winston's mind - the battle for THE LAST MAN IN EUROPE. Who will eventually control him, God or anti-God? That is the question. I discuss that a bit in the essay Winston Dies Inside.
Actually, the whole point of 1984 is to represent a battle between the thinking human being and the non-human organization which is out to control him. At the end of the story it is up to the reader to decide for themselves whether or not Winston has lost, but at the beginning Orwell tells us that the Party has definitely not got control of Winston's mind.
"At home and in bed in the darkness you were safe from the telescreen so long as you kept silent...the few cubic centimetres inside your skull were still your own."
"He thought of the telescreen with its never-sleeping ear. They could spy upon you night and day, but if you kept your head you could still outwit them. With all their cleverness they had never mastered the secret of finding out what another human being was thinking. Perhaps that was less true when you were actually in their hands."
over and out,
~ Jackie Jura
PS: I put an essay up the other day entitled JFK & JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY in regard to another issue raised by the Oxford essay.