1984 Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

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What is ironic about the function of the Ministry of Love in 1984?

What is ironic about the function of the Ministry of Love in 1984 is that it has nothing whatsoever to do with love as most people would understand it. It is Oceania's interior ministry, charged with the responsibility of keeping everyone in line and enforcing absolute loyalty and obedience to Big Brother.

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In such a totalitarian state as Oceania, where love between human beings is considered positively subversive, it may seem strange to have a government department called the Ministry of Love. But the Ministry isn't really concerned with love as most people would understand it, but with keeping people firmly in line. The Ministry of Love is Oceania's interior ministry, the government department concerned with law and order. As Winston Smith discovers to his cost, it uses torture, brainwashing, and fear to instill absolute obedience to the state.

Though the name of the Ministry is somewhat ironic, not to say grotesque, it is, technically speaking, concerned with love. Not, to be sure, with love between two human beings, the love that people have for their friends, families, and lovers, but love for Big Brother. In Oceania, it's not enough for people to show outward obedience to the state; they just internalize that obedience in the form of unconditional love for the supreme leader.

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