What is the purpose of Two Minutes Hate in 1984?

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The Two Minutes Hate is an outlet for all the pent-up aggression and hostility experienced by outer Party members who live miserable lives of material deprivation and who are not supposed to enjoy sex. It occurs during the work day and focuses each person's energy on hatred of the traitor Emmanuel Goldstein. Individuals turn into a bloodthirsty mob as the hate continues, though it ends with the supposedly comforting face of Big Brother. At this point, the workers, in a delirium, start chanting "B-b! B-b!" Winston gets carried away by the hate sessions, but also loathes them. The "sub-human chanting" for Big Brother fills him with "horror."

Julia understands the Two-Minute Hate as way for the state to channel repressed and frustrated sexual energy. As she says to Winston:

All this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour. If you're happy inside yourself, why should you get excited about Big Brother and the Three-Year Plans and the Two Minutes Hate and all the rest of their bloody rot?’

Essentially, the government of Oceania wants all its subjects' energy and loyalty to be channelled toward it and it alone, without any rivalry.

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The Two Minutes Hate is a daily ritual where Party members gather to vent their anger, rage, and pent-up emotions towards Big Brother's most significant enemies. During the Two Minutes Hate, videos of opposing armies are displayed on the massive screen and the Party's scapegoat, Emmanuel Goldstein, uses charged anti-Big Brother rhetoric to incite the audience. The Party members participating in the Two Minutes Hate yell, spit, and throw objects at the screen as Big Brother's enemies curse his reign and threaten Oceania.

The Two Minutes Hate is an important piece of Party propaganda, which bolsters support for Big Brother while simultaneously providing an opportunity for disgruntled, irritable Party members to vent their negative emotions. The Party understands that the citizens live oppressed lives and are in need of an outlet to vent their rage. By creating a scapegoat like Emmanuel Goldstein and depicting images of enemy armies marching on Oceania, the Party successfully focuses the citizens' negative attention outward, which strengthens their control and grip over the population.

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Part of their government's control of the population depends on their ability to convince them that there is an "enemy" out there who threatens their happiness and security, and that the government, and ONLY the government, has the power to protect them from this enemy. It is important to keep this enemy before the people and even more important that they share some kind of emotional response to this evil person. In 1984, that function is served by Goldstein. He threatens them; they get together to shout him down ... only to have him replaced by the image of Big Brother ... the one who protects them from him. It does things on the emotional level that might not work as well on the intellectual level. If you want to see how this works, just watch the Republican or Democratic National Conventions next year ....

[If you want to see how this works in the novel, buy/rent the movie version of 1984 ... the depiction of the Two Minutes Hate is excellent.]

Another thing Goldstein allows Orwell to do, rather clumisly I think, is to introduce the theoretical underpinings of the opposition when Winston gets his hands on a "copy" of "The Theory of Oligarchical Collectivism." This allows him to get information in to the story that would be difficult to include without a subservice author to present the case in his text. It's similar to what Huxley does in Brave New World when he has the "lecture" at the beginning of the book when he explains how they came to be. Sometimes it's difficult for a dystopian author to get the "facts" into the story in an economical way ... Goldstein allows Orwell to do this.

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