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Laura Amy Schlitz

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Motifs: 1984

1984 by George Orwell 60second Recap Decoder Resources PageDoublethink.

In 1984, George Orwell describes it as “…the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them…to forget any fact that has become inconvenient…to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies…and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.”

Confused? Well, that’s the point.

1984

George Orwell, 1949
Famous for: Big Brother, doublethink, and some of the 20th century's most memorable quotes: "He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

Learn about motifs in literature like 1984 by George Orwell | 60second Recap® Decoder™ study guidesRecap Seven, 1984

Doublethink:

It’s about holding two contradictory ideas in your mind at the same time. And it’s the “thought process” at the core the entire government and society in 1984.

For example, consider the names and functions of the different Party ministries in Orwell’s totalitarian vision:

The Ministry of Plenty

1984 George Orwell Theme 2

Recap Six, 1984: Theme Two

In charge of economic shortages.

The Ministry of Peace

Responsible for war.

The Ministry of Truth

Rewrites history with lies.

The Ministry of Love

Home of torture and punishment.

1984 by George Orwell Symbol One 60second Recap

Up Next…Recap Eight, 1984: Symbol One

Makes sense, right?

Of course not.

The point of the doublethink is to destroy the capacity for independent thought. As the Party manipulates its citizens to the point where they literally become mindless, soulless machines, it becomes possible for these citizens to believe anything that the Party tells them, even while possessing information that contradicts whatever they’re being told.

Just another friendly reminder from Orwell that totalitarian rule is dangerous and that our only salvation lies in defending the truth—and the free thought that accepts that truth—with all our might.


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