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In Orwell's classic novel 1984, Winston Smith works in the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth. He rewrites historical documents to coincide with the Party's current policies. The Party continually updates and edits its history to make Big Brother seem omniscient. Winston Smith works by himself in a small cubicle and utilizes a dictation machine called a speakwrite to transcribe his speech into typed words. Instead of typing or writing words to alter the historical documents he is working on, Winston effortlessly murmurs into the speakwrite, which transcribes his words into texts. The simplicity of the speakwrite and the ease at which Winston and his coworkers are able to dictate their thoughts into words emphasize Orwell's theme regarding the mutability of the past. Winston and his fellow Party members simply talk into the speakwrite and change history.

The speakwrite is just one of the many technologically advanced machines Orwell creates. Along with the invention of the speakwrite, the totalitarian regime also uses telescreens to continually spy on citizens and a highly advanced mechanism that can read people's minds, which O'Brien uses on Winston in the Ministry of Love. There are also three different slots in Winston's small cubicle. Two slots are for written messages and newspaper articles while the third slot is a memory hole, which is where Winston disposes of waste paper.

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