In Part One, Chapter Five, why does Winston feel that the man sitting next to him in the cafeteria is "not a real human but some kind of dummy?"  

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Michael Otis | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

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Winston Smith’s observation – that the man sitting near him “was not a real human being but some kind of dummy” – takes place during lunch in the canteen of the Ministry of Truth. Winston has just finished listening to a lecture on the destruction of words from the Newspeak expert Syme. The ‘anti-philologist’ – literally a ‘hater of words’ – ends his paean to the linguistic narrowing of thought with the remark that “[political] Orthodoxy means not thinking – not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness”. The Party man sitting near Winston, loudly parroting the principles of Ingsoc, eyeless because the light is reflecting off his spectacles, is a kind of convenient model for Syme’s stated end of political orthodoxy.   

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kmj23 | (Level 2) Educator

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As Winston is sitting in the cafeteria, he catches a few words of this man's conversation with another Party member. Specifically, he notes the following phrase:

‘Complete and final elimination of Goldsteinism.'

By saying this, the man demonstrates his commitment to the Party since he wants all traces of Goldstein, the enemy of the state, to be eradicated. For Winston, this is evidence that this man has been successfully brainwashed by the Party. As such, the words he speaks are not his true thoughts; they are little more than official Party rhetoric and propaganda. Winston alludes to this idea through the following line:

You could be certain that every word of it was pure orthodoxy, pure Ingsoc.

Because this man has been brainwashed,  Winston regards him as a "dummy:" he is no longer capable of independent thought, the one characteristic which makes him human. Instead, this man represents the extent of the Party's control and, for Winston, he is nothing more than a talking "larynx."


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