1984 Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

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When Winston and Julia go to O'Brien's apartment, what does Winston find particularly remarkable about the telescreen?    

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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When Winston and Julia arrive at O'Brien's apartment to speak to him about joining the secret Brotherhood, they are astonished and impressed by his luxurious home. Unlike Winston in his dilapidated apartment complex, Victory Mansions, O'Brien enjoys the privilege of having a butler and access to fine food and good tobacco in a comfortable environment. Before O'Brien speaks to Winston and Julia about the Brotherhood, he turns off his telescreen, which surprises Winston and Julia. Since O'Brien is an Inner Party member, he has the ability to turn off his telescreen, which is something that Winston and Julia cannot do. With the telescreen turned off, O'Brien proceeds to speak about the Brotherhood, and both Winston and Julia express their desire to join the secret organization. After their brief conversation, O'Brien informs them that he must turn on the telescreen to avoid suspicion. Unfortunately, Winston and Julia are not aware that O'Brien is a loyal Party member—or that he will eventually arrest and torture them.

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Thomas Mccord eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In Part 2 Chapter 8 of 1984, Winston and Julia go to O'Brien's apartment. Like other citizens of Oceania, O'Brien has a telescreen in his apartment, which monitors his actions, but with one key difference: O'Brien has a switch to turn the telescreen off. This is a revelation to Winston and Julia who have never seen anybody turn one off before. But, as O'Brien explains, all inner party members have this "privilege". It is not advised, though, to turn the telescreen off for more than half an hour, as it may arouse some unwanted suspicion.  

Nevertheless, this is an important moment in the book. By turning off the telescreen, O'Brien convinces Winston that he is part of the Brotherhood, a secret organisation which seeks to destroy the party. This lures Winston into a sense of security which we know is wholly false and misplaced. O'Brien is, in fact, a member of the Thought Police and Winston has just committed thoughtcrime right under his nose. 

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