1984 Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

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Explain the meaning of this quote from George Orwell's 1984: "Nearly all children nowadays were horrible. What was worst of all was that by means of such organizations as the Spies they were systematically turned into ungovernable little savages, and yet this produced in them no tendency whatever to rebel against the discipline of the Party. On the contrary, they adored the Party and everything connected with it…. All their ferocity was turned outwards, against the enemies of the State, against foreigners, traitors, saboteurs, thought-criminals. It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children." 

This quote means that the state has disrupted the normal relationships between parents and children. The state teaches children to respect only the Party and encourages them turn in their parents for thought crimes. Fear of being reported to the police means that parents are afraid to discipline their children. Further, children are taught hatred and aggression towards enemies at an early age. All of this makes them "ungovernable little savages."

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The children in 1984 are taught to love the government of their own country. All their loyalty, energy, and obedience is directed toward their leaders. Anyone who threatens the state is a threat to a system the children love and cherish. That includes the adults who see their children grow into workers for the government. The Spies are a group of children who pledge their loyalty to the government and themselves to its work at a young age.

Children usually have more loyalty and love toward their family unit. The government is able to negate that by placing children in programs at young ages that influence them to prefer the state over their own families. This training comes without love, softness, or positive emotions. Because of the curriculum of fear and manipulation, the children grow up to be people who aren't necessarily good.

Young Spies are taught to report their family for any crimes they might commit, like other children. This includes crimes of speech and thought. If anyone in their family is disloyal to the state, they report it—but that's true for all citizens. The Spies as a group take it further and work on the children with things like slogans, songs, and bullying until they no longer have normal emotions.

The adults who come from such a system are conditioned to work for it and protect it at any cost.

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This quote discusses the way that normative human structures, such as families, are being destroyed by the state. In traditional societies, children bond primarily with their parents and learn such virtues as respect towards adults, loyalty to family and friends, and courtesy and compassion. In Oceania, however, the Party has intervened and overturned all of that. Children are taught that they only have to obey and respect the Party. Parents are often frightened of their own children because the children are encouraged to turn them in at any time for thought crimes. Not only are the parents afraid to say anything negative about the state in front of their children, they can be reported and arrested for speaking out in their sleep. This happens to Parsons, who ends up in a holding chamber in Miniluv with Winston because his daughter reported him for talking against Big Brother while dreaming.

Parents are afraid to discipline their children because the children might report them to the authorities on trumped up charges if they don't get their way. This is what makes the children "ungovernable little savages." The state is also dehumanizing these children from an early age, turning them against imagined enemies and encouraging them to develop negative emotions and behaviors, such as hatred, aggression, and triumphalism.

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This quote is taken from Part One, Chapter Two, when Winston visits his neighbors, the Parsons family. Mrs. Parsons has two children who are members of the Junior Spies, an organization established by the Party with the purpose of creating total obedience to Big Brother. Winston calls these children "horrible" because they are so brainwashed by the Youth Spies that they act as agents of the state, analyzing their parents' behavior and attitudes in the home. As a result, children are well-known to denounce their parents as thoughtcriminals. This explains why so many people "over thirty" are afraid of their children. This fear is evident in Mrs. Parsons. Notice how, for example, she has a "half-apprehensive" look in her eyes when she opens the door to Winston. She is terrified that her children will accuse her of not being zealous enough in her support of the Party.

Mrs. Parsons's fears are not without foundation. In Part Three, Winston meets Mr. Parsons in the Ministry of Love and he confesses that it was his own daughter was responsible for his arrest.

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This quote explains the government's power over the children in the dystopian society depicted in George Orwell's 1984. Parents have no authority over their children, who are influenced from a very young age by the forces of "Big Brother." The children join organizations such as the "Spies," where they dress uniformly in "blue shorts, gray shirs, and red neckerchiefs" and are systematically indoctrinated in the philosophies of the government. The children are taught to love Big Brother and hate "foreigners, traitors, saboteurs, thought-criminals," the "enemies of the State;" they are encouraged to attend public hangings, and as such are desensitized to violence. The children will report to the authorities anyone who engages in questionable activities or who criticizes the government, including their parents, and indeed are praised as "child hero[es]" for doing so. Parents have no control over their children, who have been turned into "ungovernable little savages" by their training.

There is no love cultivated between children and their parents; through early and constant indoctrination, the children's devotion is all directed towards Big Brother. Tragically, parents actually fear their own children, because they know that their children's loyalties lie with Big Brother, and that should they even suspect their parents of deviation from the strict codes of behavior mandated by the government, they will not hesitate to turn them in (Part 1, Chapter 2).

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