What is the Two Minutes Hate? Why does the Party try to destroy loving relationships? Why would they do this?

Expert Answers

Want to remove ads?

Get ad-free questions with an eNotes 48-hour free trial.

Try It Free No Thanks
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is no coincidence that the object of hatred, the face of Emmanuel Goldstein, the "primal traitor, the earliest defiler of the Party's purity," appears at each Two Minute Hate session.  For the surname is Jewish, thus suggesting the object of Nazi hatred around which Hitler was able to lead masses of people. Knowing that hatred is, perhaps, the most virulent of all emotions that will unite people, Hitler capitalized on the sentiments of the German people that the Jews were responsible for the economic collapse of their country.  The Russians, too, shared this hatred of the Jew as many were killed during the time of the czars and Stalin, as well. (Some elements of the plot of "1984" parallel the rise of Stalin and later Communism.)

In "1984," the characters immediately react when they see the face of Goldstein whose first name, is, of all things, Emmanuel. The paradox of having a name that means "Christ" or "Savior" cannot be missed, either, since Goldstein is anything but the savior of the people of "1984" because he is defiled for his denouncement of the Party:

an attack so exaggerated and perverse that a child should have been able to see through it, and yet just plausible enough to fill one with an alarmed feeling that other people, less level-headed than oneself, might be taken in by it.

The Two Minute Hate exploits the herd syndrome of people, too, as when people begin shouting their hatred, Winston finds it "impossible to avoid joining in."  So, while the people are repulsed by the "sheeplike voice" and appearance of Goldstein, they become like sheep in their unified reactions.

It was even possible, at moments, to switch one's hatred this way or that by a voluntary act.  Suddenly, by the sort of violent effort with which one wrenches one's head away from the pillow in a nightmare, Winston succeeded in transferring his hatred from the face on the screen to the dark-haired girl behind him.

The Two Minute Hate works by means of the herd syndrome of people; many are very much like sheep, simply following the lead of others and reacting viscerally rather than intelligently to subliminal suggestions and rumors.  Orwell's portrayal of people in "1984" protrays people who are losing their individuality and, thus, their human qualities.

sagesource eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In 1984, the Two Minute Hate serves to unify and make coherent the ideological campaigns of the state. The official state enemy for Oceania shifts frequently and unpredictably, so the Two Minute Hate identifies this enemy of the moment with the archetype of evil, Emmanuel Goldstein, the quintessential Party traitor. By concentrating people's hatred on this unified image, the Party aims to block out any reflections that might otherwise arise from the frequent shifts of official animosity.

As a public ceremonial occasion that follows a highly ritualized form, the Two Minute Hate also serves as a form of thought control in a broader sense. It sweeps up its participants in an emotional wave that drowns their critical facilities. In a very important article,* the European sociologist Marcel Bloch pointed out that a key function of ceremony and ritual was to present the participant with a seamless whole that could not be critically approached -- it either had to be accepted or rejected. Social pressure ensures that rejection is almost impossible, and the pressure of cognitive dissonance pushes the participant into agreeing internally with what he or she has complied with externally. As Bloch put it, it is not possible to argue with a song -- you either sing it or you refuse to sing. The Two Minute Hate is thus one way in which the Party ensures that all the residents of Oceania sing the same song, a song that is entirely under the control of the Party.

* Marcel Bloch, “Symbols, Song, Dance and Features of Articulation,” in European Journal of Sociology 15.1 (1974), 55-81.


clane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Two Minute Hate is way for the Party members to exhaust their sexual urges by channeling the energy into the hate and it is also used as a means of establishing further the brainwashed loyalty that sustains the Party. The Party attempts to, and very successfully I might add, destroy all relationships. The Party dictates who gets married and if a couple seems to have any attraction to each other then the Party completely forbids it. The Party also takes children from their families at the youngest ages possible and schools them in absolute loyalty. The reason for this is so that the Party can ensure the absolute loyalty of all its members. Familial relationships detract from the loyalty one might have for Big Brother so they encourage children to turn in their parents for thoughtcrime to establish their loyalty for the Party and not their families. The Party also attempts to destroy sexual urges with the Junior Anti-Sex League and the Two Minutes Hate because relationships which are enhanced by the sexual experience run the risk of being loyal to each other rather than absolutely loyal to the Party.

timbrady eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The idea is pretty simple.  Some of the horrible things that are happening in their world are shown, then the picture of the enemy, Emmanuel Goldstein, may be shown to identify what he stands for with all the problems of their world.  The people are given the chance to express their anger toward him/it/them.  After lots of shouting, the image of "Big Brother" appears, and all are suddenly filled with feelings of warmth and "brotherhood" --- and gratitude toward, and dependency on, Big Brother.

As ridiculous as all this sounds, I don't think it's so far fetched.   Look how we are all being made to think that everything the Republicans have done for the past 8 years are horrible, and how George Bush represents these things.  Imagine a group of us watching videos of these horrors, followed by a big picture (probably not too flattering) of George Bushbooing all the while .  Then the screen clears, and a smiling picture of Barack Obama appears, the smile that promises to solve all our problems ... followed by cheering and relief.

Far fetched?  Have you been watching the news .....

The two minutes hate was a time when people got together every day and screamed at videos of people opposed to big brother. it was like a bandwagon moment, when everyone was doing it, you began to do it too, it was in a very effective way a brainwashing session, to allow them to think about nothing but how this person had betrayed big brother, forming a negative opinion, without even getting the entire story (*ahem* somewhat sounds similar to today's media*). they only allow people to be together in order to reproduce, if they cannot, then they don't see a point in why the two people should stay together anymore.