# What is the symbolic significance of 2+2=5?I am trying to prepare an essay about this, but my thoughts aren't coming together. The entire topic is: What is the symbolic significance of 2+2=5, and...

What is the symbolic significance of 2+2=5?

I am trying to prepare an essay about this, but my thoughts aren't coming together. The entire topic is: What is the symbolic significance of 2+2=5, and how does it affect the meaning of the novel?

I sort of know, but I'd love another opinion, thanks!

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

To me, the only meaning of this is that it symbolizes just how completely the Party has changed people.  We know that the Party is trying hard to be the only source of reality.  It tells people things like "War is Peace" and expects them to believe it.  It changes the past (like what Winston does) so that people cannot have any idea of what happened other than what the Party says.

To me, the equation you mention is sort of the ultimate example of the Party controlling people.  It is asking people to believe when it changes a basic law of mathematics.  So if it can change that, it can change anything.

So 2+2=5 is, to me, a symbol of how the Party has almost total control over what people think.