In the book 1984, what was the main role of the Ministry of Truth?  

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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With its markedly ironic title, The Ministry of Truth in George Orwell's dystopian novel, 1984, is one of the most important agencies of the government. For, an uninformed or misinformed populace can be confused, deceived, and directed easily by controlling powers. Keeping the people confused about who is at war with whom and what is the reality of things causes them to become involved in nothing and, therefore, no threat to the power structure.

Orwell's creation of this Ministry of Truth that alters history is reflective of the actions of Napoleon, who, upon his conquest of a country, immediately had the newspapers controlled by his governing powers, and it is also much like the government of Communist Russia which virtually rewrote history. During Stalin's reign, for instance, photographs were altered, many things in print were censored, and enemies of the state were murdered. One prominent and influential politician in the early days of the Soviet Union was Leon Trotsky; however, after he was marked as an enemy of the State, he was erased from the history books because he had led the Left Opposition against Joseph Stalin who had risen to power.

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blacksheepunite's profile pic

blacksheepunite | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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Yes! The primary function of the Ministry of Truth is to construct lies that fit with the government's current interpretation of reality. Winston's job is to rewrite historical news so that anyone who chooses to check will see that, for instance, they have *always* been at war with Eastasia.

By rewriting history to fit with their current claims, the Ministry helps to construct the notion that Big Brother is an infallible, godlike leader. They also attempt to squash dissent by making it difficult for anyone to talk about the past. Most people end up like Julia, blindly accepting the new truths and not worrying much about why (or even whether) the truth changes.

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alexb2 | eNotes Employee

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The Ministry of Truth, where Winston works and has the job to rewrite the history and documentation of the state in order to satisfy current Party policy and interpretation.

The primary role of the Ministry of Truth is to lie and keep the people ignorant of what is going on behind the scenes.

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teachersage | (Level 2) Educator

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As with the names of the other ministries in Oceania, the name Ministry of Truth means the opposite of what it says. If the Ministry of Love is the place of torture and hate, the Ministry of Truth is where lies are manufactured. Winston works here, rewriting old news articles to reflect the Party's latest version of reality and throwing the old articles down a "memory hole" where they are incinerated. The Ministry of Truth reflects the Party's belief that power is the only truth and that those with the power can make the "truth" into whatever they choose.

The power of Minitrue, as it is called, shows in the enormous glittering white pyramid of its building, which towers over and dominates a landscape of sagging houses and rubble. A hint of what nonsense-manufacture goes on inside might be suggested by the three slogans of the Party emblazoned on it:

WAR IS PEACE/ FREEDOM IS SLAVERY /IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

Minitrue supposedly has 3,000 rooms above ground level and 3,000 below, a testament to the resources the government puts into manufacturing its own version of reality, from rewriting history to producing propaganda to trying to remove as many words as possible from the English language to reduce people's ability to think. Its main role is to help control the population through misinformation, outright lies and lack of information so that the state can maintain total power over the people. 

 

 

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