According to O'Brien, what makes a martyr? Why are there no martyrs in the Ministry of Love?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

According to O'Brien, martyrs are created when men are killed out in the open while they are still unrepentant.  Because they are dying because they will not abandon their true beliefs, their death is glorious and later in history others take up their cause.  The Ministry of Love makes sure there are no martyrs in two ways.  First of all, their brainwashing is so complete that "all the confessions that are uttered...are true...(they) make them true".  The confessors have had their minds altered to the point that they truly believe that "two-plus-two-equals-five"; they are emptied of themselves and filled instead with the Party and Big Brother.  Secondly, they are "lifted clean out from the stream of history".  The basis of the Party's method is to literally rewrite history.  Since the Party controlls the media, and, for all intents and purposes, memory, in their altered version of the truth, no one will know about men who have been martyred because there will be no record of them ever having existed.

clane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are no martyrs in this society because the Inner Party has constructed the reconditioning system in the Ministry of Love. Any possible dissidents are conditioned to their most vulnerable breaking point until they love Big Brother with their minds, bodies, and souls. The Party will take their time, some can be reconditioned immediately, some take years, but however long it take, the Party will prevail. O'Brien describes the everlasting success of the Party as being dependent upon the fact that there aren't any martyrs, that everyone declares loyalty wholly and then when they least expect it before they can change their minds they are shot in the back of the head so they can't changes their minds.