To what extent is the Party's attempt to erase the past successful in 1984?How can one keep the past alive, and what is the signifcance of doing so? What traces of the past in 1984 remain? What...

To what extent is the Party's attempt to erase the past successful in 1984?

How can one keep the past alive, and what is the signifcance of doing so? What traces of the past in 1984 remain? What aids the erasure of the past?

Expert Answers
cldbentley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Party's attempt to erase the past is very successful.  By "erasing" memories of the past, they essentially destroy the only real proof that it ever existed in the true way it took place.  Material records of the past, such as books, are easily destroyed, so human memory is key to preserving any history; when memory is destroyed, or taken away, there is no way to either prove to oneself or convince others that it ever really was. 

In the novel, few traces of the past remain.  Because there are no tangible links to the past, memories are more easily discarded.  As is often the truth in real life, keepsakes are not valued most for their monetary value, but for their ability to help us remember events and people to which they are related.

Memory is what is most important to keeping the past alive.  If memory can be preserved, the past cannot be taken away.