In the novel 1984, identify at least two arguments Orwell is making about people and society in Part 1, Chapters 2-4.

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In chapter 3, Winston tries in vain to remember what Oceania was like when he was a child and realizes the significance of the Party's ability to alter and destroy the past. The Party has the ability to alter historical documents, which means that they can literally create a past that supports their current agenda. Orwell is essentially shedding light on the ways in which governments throughout the world can manipulate the population by distorting historical facts. Without access to accurate information and authentic historical documents, citizens are susceptible to government propaganda. Orwell is also subtly critiquing government censorship laws, which prevent citizens from possessing books, documents, and records that can pose a threat to its authority.

In chapter 4, Winston "rectifies" historical documents at the Ministry of Truth. Winston essentially corrects various documents to coincide with the Party's current agenda in order to make it seem as if the Party is always right. Orwell is portraying the power of the media as a propaganda machine. Big Brother uses all forms of media to spread propaganda throughout Oceania in order to influence ignorant citizens into believing that the Party is always right. Governments throughout the world have historically used various forms of media to spread pro-government propaganda to gain popularity and increase citizen support.

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In Part 1 of 1984, Orwell makes a number of important points about the nature of people and society. 

First of all, Orwell suggests that children are extremely susceptible to propaganda. This view is supported by the Parsons' children who Winston meets in Chapter 2 when he fixes the family's sink. The children call Winston a "Eurasian spy" and a "thoughtcriminal" and pretend to shoot him with a toy pistol (page 25). The children's zealous behaviour makes their mother and Winston extremely nervous and this is exacerbated by their desire to attend the hanging of some Eurasian prisoners (page 25-26). In fact, the narrator notes that children were always the most enthusiastic about hangings: "Children always clamoured to be taken to see it" (page 26).  

In Orwell's mind, then, children make the most zelaous supporters of the party because they are the easiest to manipulate and control. Unaware of the implications of public executions and thoughtcrime, the children enable the party's survival and persecution of the citizens of Oceania. This is, perhaps, Orwell's way of highlighting the importance of protecting children from negative images, from dangerous governments and encouraging the reader to nurture their vulnerability and think carefully about the messages they are exposed to. 

A second message in this section of the book is that memories can never be erased, no matter how hard the government tries. We see this in practice on page 34-35 when Winston's mind begins to wander during his mandatory exercise. He remembers very clearly that maps of the world looked different before the rise of the party and that the country had not always been at war. These memories linger in Winston's subconscious and cannot be erased, though the party have rewritten the official history. If he vocalised these memories, he would be accused of thoughtcrime, but that is not the important point. Winston's memories remain, despite the constant bombardment of party propaganda and the fear of being vaporised. Memories are, therefore, much stronger than any form of government. 


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