What is the book Winston reads about in "1984"? What does he realize after?Goldstein's “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism” is the book he reads in chapter 9, what does he...

What is the book Winston reads about in "1984"? What does he realize after?

Goldstein's “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism” is the book he reads in chapter 9, what does he think after just before chapter 10?

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kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Throughout George Orwell’s 1984, the semi-mythical figure of Emmanuel Goldstein runs like a thread throughout Orwell’s narrative.  A one-time highly-revered figure in the Party, he is now considered society’s most despised counter-revolutionary.  He is, as Orwell notes early in his novel, “the Enemy of the People,” a traitor who has dedicated himself to undermining the very Party he was instrumental in creating.  The father of the Party’s founding creeds, Goldstein was now reviled for his transformation into a liberal advocating on behalf of such subversive ideals as “freedom of speech, freedom of the Press, freedom of assembly, freedom of thought.”

Winston, of course, has long been disenchanted with the Party’s totalitarian system, with its repressive measures and the dehumanizing nature of its rule.  He has subtly and discreetly maneuvered himself away from the thought-control that the Party imposes on its subjects, and he has grown weary of the omniscient presence of Big Brother.  To Winston, the figure of Emmanuel Goldstein represents liberation from everything that he has grown to hate.  It is, therefore, ironic that his eventual exposure to Goldstein’s book, initially and derisively referred to simply as “The Book,” but more formally titled The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism should awaken in him a subservience to the Party that is truly transformative.  It is in Chapter Nine of Orwell’s novel that Winston sits down with Goldstein’s tome and is exposed, for the first time, to the doctrinal genesis of the system he had grown to loathe.  Goldstein’s book, of course, is divided into chapters each of which, Winston discovers, provided the intellectual underpinnings of the Party’s approach to governing.  Chapter I, for instance, is titled “Ignorance is Strength,” Chapter III is titled “War is Peace,” and so on.  Orwell devotes a considerable portion of his novel to Goldstein’s manifesto, and its effects on Winston are profound.  His first reaction upon reading it is to try to get Julia interested in it.  That 1984 will end with Winston firmly entrenched in the system he once disavowed was illustrative, from Orwell’s perspective, of the power of words on the human mind, and the most powerful words, too often, came out of the mouths of those least inclined toward concepts like freedom.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the dystopian world of Big Brother, thought-control, Newspeak, Doublespeak, and reversible and constant wars, there is a perpetual shifting of what is considered real; or, in the words from Shakespeare's phantasmagoric play, Macbeth, "Nothing is what is not." Further in this oxymoronic existence, after Winston and Julia begin to conduct their affair in a room above Mr. Charrington's shop, at The Ministry of Truth, the impostor O'Brien approaches Winston and asks him if he would be interested in joining the Brotherhood; moreover, he offers Winston Goldstein's book that contains strategies on how to destroy Big Brother. In truth, however, O'Brien is actually a member of the Inner Party that supports the government of Big Brother. 

Then, at the end of Chapter IX of Book Two, after reading Goldstein's book, Winston realizes that he is not mad, even if he is "a minority of one":

There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.

This is the difference between Winston at this point and Macbeth, who, in his madness,  believes in what the witches from the preternatural world have told him. Sadly, then, Winston also succumbs to madness when, after torture in Room 101 where his greatest fear attacks his psyche, he goes mad and agrees that two plus two is five, the very argument he has so long resisted.

bocateacher322 | Student

Winston gets a copy of "The Book", a book written by Emmanuel Goldstein, about his political ideas. The book has three chapters titled, "War is Peace", "Ignorance is Strength" and "Freedom is Slavery", which are also the main slogans of the party. Before he falls asleep after beginning to read the book analyses how the Party works. It has not yet attempted to deal with why the Party has arisen. Winston is taken to Room 101 which O'Brien says that the room 101 is the worst thing in the world; for each person it is his own personal hell. After Julia and he betray each other, he realizes it was pointless to resist in the first place and he does love Big Brother.