Homework Help

What symbolic meaning can be drawn from the fact that the Ministry of Love has no...

user profile pic

unhearted | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 9, 2008 at 8:40 AM via web

dislike 1 like

What symbolic meaning can be drawn from the fact that the Ministry of Love has no windows and is kept artificially illuminated at all times?

it's for my english class and i been racking my brain but I'm not coming up with anything good...Help is appreciated

2 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 9, 2008 at 8:43 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

There is a saying that love laughs a locksmiths, or, as Shakespeare put it, " Were beauty under twenty locks kept fast, Yet love breaks through and picks them all at last."

 

Well, the Ministry of Love is locked and windowless for a very good reason. Love may laugh at locksmiths—be able to slip past all barriers—but individual humans, and the human spirit in this novel, cannot. What happens in the Ministry of Love is ugly and hateful. It cannot stand the light of day. More practically, keeping people from seeing others shuts them off from hope and support, and permanent artificial light is itself a form of torture.

Top Answer

user profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 9, 2008 at 9:16 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

Remember that Winston dreams of O'Brien's meeting him in "the place where there is no darkness."  Winston mistakenly interprets this as a positive place where there is only positive life and living full of love and the Golden Country.  However, in reality, the place of no darkness is the artificial torture chamber of the Ministry of Love.  The irony of the name is overwhelming.  No love is shown in this place.  It is a place of manipulation, hatred, torture and isolation from others (no windows).  It all comes to a head in Room 101 where Winston is finally broken and is forced to turn against Julia.

Everyone dreads going to the Ministry--it is closed off and closed up from the outside. It's easy to get in and darned near impossible to get out.  No windows, no obvious doors, gates, barbed wire...everything indicates the extreme opposite of its name.  The place is completely devoid of love, warmth, and compassion.  It is artificial, like its lighting, and its purpose is to break people's spirit.  You might recall in history class that one way to get into the heads of the opposing army's soldiers is to  play loud music constantly, and in the case of prisoners, keeping them in bright light prevents restorative rest which the body and mind need to keep strong.  This is another reason why the Ministry of Love is artificially lit at all times.

Good Luck!

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes