How could technology potentially become the downfall of the party, despite how much it seems to be giving the party all its major control and power?What are some ways that technologies,...

How could technology potentially become the downfall of the party, despite how much it seems to be giving the party all its major control and power?

What are some ways that technologies, specifically referring to telescreens, telephone-like-items used in the ministry of truth, torture devices, and possibly even types of transportation (helicopters), could result in the the downfall of the party?


2 Answers

timbrady's profile pic

timbrady | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

The power of technology depends on who controls it.  I would imagine that it's possible for someone to get control of the technology and use it against the party (inner, I suspect you mean).  It's always possible that the inner party will have some kind of "disruptive" incident that would set them against each other and leave the door open for someone else to take over the technology and the state.  But I don't think Orwell would put much faith in this.  Take a look at his other book, Animal Farm.  In that book there is a revolution (although it has nothing to do with technology), and the "revolutionaries" turn into the tyrants before it's over.  Just taking over against tyrants doesn't mean that anything good is going to happen; take a look at the difficulties with the "Arab Spring" in our time ... or go back a little further to the French Revolution to see a similar reality.

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angeldust09's profile pic

angeldust09 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted on

I actually figured out the answer I was looking for and thought I would share.

It is not a question of whether technology could become the downfall of the party, but rather that it was the downfall.  The party was not just simply looking for complete control and power over the people of Oceania, but instead to make the people of Oceania truly believe in the party.  This is most apparent when O'Brien is torturing Winston and is not satisfied with him simply "agreeing" that two plus two could equal five, but instead to believe that it could.

"How many fingers Winston?  Four!  Stop it, stop it!  How can you go on?  Four!  Four! How many fingers Winston?  Five! five! five!  No, winston, that is no use.  You are lying.  You still think there are four." p. 201 "'How many fingers am i holding up, Winston?'  'I don't know. I don't know.  You will kill me if you do that again.  Four, five, six -- in all honesty I don't know.' Better, said  O'Brien." p. 202


In order for someone to truly believe in the Party they would have to do it willingly.  This is key.  The use of technology in the novel persuaded the people to conform by force.  Even though the Party was able to torture Winston enough to make him consider the possibility that two plus two could equal something other than four, it was the result of torture, therefore, he had not truly come to this realization.  For the Party to achieve their true goal they have to do so by persuading people while they can still exercise independent thought.