Explain this quote from Chapter 1 of 1984 by George Orwell:"People simply disappeared, always during the night. Your name was removed from the registers, every record of everything you had ever...

Explain this quote from Chapter 1 of 1984 by George Orwell:

"People simply disappeared, always during the night. Your name was removed from the registers, every record of everything you had ever done was wiped out, your one-time existence was denied and then forgotten. You were abolished, annihilated: vaporized was the usual word."

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dymatsuoka's profile pic

dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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This quote describes the untimate punishment for going against the Party in the dystopian society described in George Orwell's 1984. Everything about the society is tightly controlled by the government, otherwise known as "Big Brother." So complete is Big Brother's reach that a citizen can be arrested for merely harboring thoughts against the government. As Winston reflects, such "thoughtcrime" is impossible to conceal forever; "sooner or later they [are] bound to get you."

Arrest for thoughtcrime always occurs at night; "people simply [disappear]." No one knows what happens after this, because the government is so powerful that it wipes out all indications that the perpetrator has ever existed. The names of those arrested are completely erased from all records, and no evidence that they have ever existed remains. In a society where the very nature of reality is distorted, people soon forget; for all intents and purposes, those who have been arrested simply disappear, or, as it is commonly described, they are "vaporized," their existence eradicated.

gmuss25's profile pic

gmuss25 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This quote describes the how the Party punishes those who oppose their views, present a challenge to their authority, or threaten the stability of Oceania's society. In Orwell's dystopian nation of Oceania, the Party controls virtually every aspect of society. Party members are under constant surveillance, and patrolling Thought Police discover then exterminate potential threats to society. In the quote above, Orwell describes how citizens simply disappear during the night when the Thought Police remove them from society. Since the Party essentially controls history, all the past records related to the citizen's existence are destroyed, and the person is completely forgotten. Those who vanish in the middle of the night are said to have been "vaporized." In the novel, one of Winston's coworkers named Syme gets vaporized because he is too intelligent. The Party views Syme as a threat, and the Thought Police remove him from society, deleting all records related to his existence. 

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