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In George Orwell's 1984, what piece of "evidence" does Winston discover at work one...

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janet15 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 20, 2012 at 2:00 AM via web

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In George Orwell's 1984, what piece of "evidence" does Winston discover at work one day? 

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 20, 2012 at 2:52 AM (Answer #1)

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Winston's job at the Ministry of Truth is essentially to rewrite history. He combs through old newspapers altering all "false" stories  (i.e. stories that are contrary to the Party line). At one point he discovers clear evidence that three men named Jones, Aaronson and Rutherford, had been forced to give false confessions that they had committed treason. They had confessed to being in Eurasia, turning over military secrets to the enemy, when in actuality they were, as a photo in a newspaper reveals, in New York at the time. Even though Winston is constantly manipulating the truth, he is profoundly affected by this discovery:

But this was concrete evidence; it was a fragment of the abolished past, like a fossil bone which turns up in the wrong stratum and destroys a geological theory. It was enough to blow the Party to atoms, if in some way it could have been published to the world and its significans made known. 

Winston was terrified, and quickly threw the paper down the memory hole, where it was destroyed. But the memory of the phot stuck with him. It seems to have been the moment when he first began to seriously doubt the Party.

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