In which chapter of 1984 does the quote about controlling the past appear?

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Thomas Mccord eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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It is in Part One, Chapter Three of 1984 that you can find the following quote about controlling the past:

"Who controls the past," ran the Party slogan, "controls the future: who controls the present controls the past."

To illustrate the meaning of this quote, Winston uses the example that Oceania is at war with Eurasia. While the Party claims that Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia, Winston can clearly remember a time, four years ago, when Oceania and Eurasia were in alliance. This knowledge, however, exists only in his "own consciousness" because the Party has rewritten history so that this alliance never happened.

It is this manipulation of the truth, or "reality control" as Winston calls it, that contributes to the Party's everlasting and totalitarian power. It can make people believe whatever it tells them because it rewrites history accordingly.

It is also worth looking at the text from Emmanuel Goldstein's book which appears in the last chapter of Part Two. In the following quote, Goldstein further explains the Party's control of the past:

"The past is whatever the records and the memories agree upon. And since the Party is in full control of all records and in equally full control of the minds of its members, it follows that the past is whatever the Party chooses to make it."

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Lynnette Wofford eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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George Orwell's dystopian novel, 1984, is in many ways intended to satirize the Soviet Union, and especially the way that, during the Stalinist regime in power during 1949 when 1984 was published, Soviet revisionist historians rewrote history to support their version...

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Chapter 3