I know it is a long essay but if someone would be so kind as to read it over
How are the 3 slogans so inherently contradictory? What does each slogan imply about their society? How is the party able to get people to accept them as logical?
The novel 1984, by George Orwell, begins with Winston Smith, the main character, coming back from work to his apartment. While going up the stairs he sees the huge poster of a face that says " BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU." Winston is part of the Party that rules all of Airstrip One. This is a totalitarian government, which controls all people. During times of the week there are Two Minutes Hate in which all the people came together and strike against Goldstein. The three slogans of the party were on the screen during the whole Hate and these three slogans were on the face of the Ministry of Truth. These slogans are, war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength. These three slogans are all contradictory too each other, but with further examination you can see that each one is far more complex and they all have deeper meanings.
The basic definition of war is a conflict between two parties and the basic definition of peace is agreement between two parties. Just from these basic definitions one can see that these are the total opposites of each other. How can this be a slogan then? When breaking this slogan apart you see that the reason that war is peace, is because the ongoing war between the nations keeps the people of Oceania united. " It is precisely in the Inner Party that war hysteria and hatred of the enemy is the strongest" ( Orwell 159). The hatred for the enemy is what mainly keeps the people united. Every person in the inner party has one thing in common and that is the hatred for the enemy. Therefore they are all able to strike together in a unified fashion. However, the war of Oceania is a never ending war that has been going on for over 25 years. " But when war becomes literally continuous, it also ceases to be dangerous" (Orwell 163). Whether or not there is a war going on between the nations doesn't make a difference to many of the inner party members. They go on with their regular lives as if nothing was going on. This is especially true when a war becomes continuous, whether or not the three states agreed for peace or continued to fight really makes no difference. Also, this distraction of war and the continuous hatred keeps people distracted from what is really going on at home. The people of Oceania are all under the control of the Party, and all fight for what the Party believes. What happens when a person doesn't follow what the Party wants is corruption.
" How could you have a slogan like 'freedom is slavery' when the concept of freedom has been abolished" ( Orwell 47). During the times of this novel slavery did not exist and had not exists for centuries, it doesn't make sense to say freedom is slavery. When you are under the control of another person are you free? Even though the people of the Party are free individuals they are constantly living under the control of the Party. "That the party was the eternal guardian of the weak, a dedicated sect doing evil that good might come, sacrificing its own happiness to that of others"(217). The people if the inner party have lived in this society for so long that any other way of life would seem odd to them. They would not be able to survive any other way. Thus, being free would cause them to fail, an independent person whom can do whatever they want is subject to be unsuccessful. The people of the inner party, however, do not see that their every move is controlled by the Party.
Ignorance is the lack of of not knowing, the people of the inner party do not know that they are being controlled by the Party provides strength for the nation. However, knowing gives a person strength, without knowing there is no strength. The Party is able to control all these people and keep a strong nation together as a whole. If all the people are the Party are told to believe one thing and all suspicion of that thing being doubtful is gone, there is strength. "A Party member lives from birth to death under the eye of the Thought Police"(Orwell 168). The people are not allowed to believe anything other than what they are told to believe. The Party makes sure that the people are not thinking otherwise is my using Though Police to control the people. The Party rulers also alter the past such as changing past newspapers, books, or magazines. This is done so that things from the past do not interfere with things of the present. They must show that all their predictions were right and that they are all powerful. "But by far the more important reason for the readjustment of the past is the need to safeguard the infallibility of the Party" ( Orwell 175). This alternation is necessary to keep people ignorant so they are not able to fight back. The Party continuous makes sure that they are infallible and that they will never fall.
However, the main question is how the party gets the people to accept these things. The answer to this lies in one word, double think. "Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them" ( Orwell 176). This is when the people of the Party know that something is true but they are forced to believe that something else is true. "As we have seen. the mystique of the Party, and above all of the Inner Party, depends upon doublethink" (Orwell 179).The Party used this to constantly control what the people thought. Due to the fact that they had complete control they could make the people think whatever they wanted.
Each of these slogans are used to allow the people to believe that their government is the best government and that there is nothing wrong with what they do. The people constantly had to be told what was true and what was not. There is nothing wrong with war, slavery, or ignorance. Although all these slogans are contradictory slogans, one saw that these slogans have multipart meanings and take a lot of thought to completely understand, and yet one can not fully understand them. If you were lead to only believe those things that a greater power told you to, wouldn't you?