1984 Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

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In 1984, what is a significant quote made by Parsons and a significant quote made by Syme?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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"Orthodoxy means not thinking—not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness" (Orwell 68).

While Syme is explaining to Winston the significance of Newspeak, he comments on how language will affect the population's thought process. Syme's comment about orthodoxy concerns the Party's goal to eliminate the need to think. The Party is attempting to narrow language to the point that thoughts, ideas, and concepts will become nonexistent. Orthodoxy is essentially accepting anything Big Brother says without thinking about it. Citizens who are unable to think for themselves will never present a threat to the authoritarian government.

"I don’t bear her any grudge for it. In fact I’m proud of her. It shows I brought her up in the right spirit, anyway" (Orwell 295).

While Winston is sitting in a cell in the Ministry of Love, Parsons suddenly walks in. Winston is shocked to see Parsons and asks why he was arrested. Parsons says that his daughter turned him in for thoughtcrime. Despite knowing that his own daughter has essentially ruined his life, Parsons is so devoted to Big Brother that he doesn't even blame her. Parsons's comment about how he is proud of his daughter reveals the extent of his orthodoxy. Like many Party members, Parsons openly accepts the Party's message and believes that he was genuinely in the wrong. 

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Stephanie Gregg eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Syme:  "Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thoght? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it."

Syme's declaration to Winston illustrates his deep conviction that his work in the Ministry is vitally important.  Winston paradoxically views Syme's attitude as a virtual guarantee that Syme will one day be vaporized.  "He is too intelligent.  He sees too clearly and speaks too plainly," Winston thinks as he listens to Syme's treatise on the importance of revising the language of Oceania.  Winston's prediction comes true in Chapter 5 of Book 2.

Parsons:  "Ah, well--what I mean to say, shows the right spirit, doesn't it?  Mischievous little beggars they are, both of them, but talk about keenness!  All they think about is the Spies, and the war, of course."

Parson is referring to his children who are both Junior Spies.  His statement is ironic since it is his own children who turn him in to the Thought Police, his daughter claiming that he said "Down With Big Brother" in his sleep.

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