Saturday, 23 August 2008

Big Brother 1984-2012 Pt 5

Cary G Dean.


George Orwell-1949

Winston roused himself and sat up straighter. He let out a belch.

The gin
was rising from his stomach. His eyes re-focused on the page.

He discovered that while he sat helplessly
musing he had also been writing, as though by automatic action.

And it was
no longer the same cramped, awkward handwriting as before.

His pen had slid
voluptuously over the smooth paper, printing in large neat capitals


Over and over again, filling half a page.

He could not help feeling a twinge of panic.

It was absurd, since the writing of those particular words was not more dangerous than the initial act of opening the diary, but for a moment he was tempted to tear out the spoiled pages and abandon the enterprise altogether.

He did not do so, however, because he knew that it was useless.

Whether he wrote


or whether he refrained from writing it, made no difference.

Whether he went on with the diary, or whether he did not go on with it, made no difference. The Thought Police would get him just the same.

He had committed - would still have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper - the essential crime that contained all others in itself.

Thoughtcrime, they called it.

Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed for ever.

You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you.

It was always at night - the arrests invariably happened at night.

The sudden jerk out of sleep, the rough hand shaking your shoulder, the lights glaring in your eyes, the ring of hard faces round the bed.

In the vast majority of cases there was no trial, no report of the arrest.

People simply disappeared, always during the night.

Your name was removed from the registers, every record of everything you had ever done was wiped out, your one-time existence was denied and then forgotten.

You were abolished, annihilated: vaporized was the usualword.

For a moment he was seized by a kind of hysteria.

He began writing in a hurried untidy scrawl:

Theyll shoot me I don't care they'll shoot me in the back of the neck I dont care down with big brother they always shoot you in the back of the neck I dont care down with big brother He sat back in his chair, slightly ashamed of himself, and laid down the pen.

The next moment he started violently.

There was a knocking at the door.

Already! He sat as still as a mouse, in the futile hope that whoever it was might go away after a single attempt.

But no, the knocking was repeated.

The worst thing of all would be to delay.

His heart was thumping like a drum, but his face, from long habit, was probably expressionless.

He got up and moved
heavily towards the door.

As he put his hand to the door-knob Winston saw that he had left the diary open on the table.


was written all over it, in letters almost big enough to be legible across the room.

It was an inconceivably stupid thing to have done.

But, he realized, even in his panic he had not wanted to smudge the creamy paper by shutting the book while the ink was wet.

He drew in his breath and opened the door.

Instantly a warm wave of relief flowed through him.

A colourless, crushed-looking woman, with wispy hair and a lined face, was standing outside.

Oh, comrade, she began in a dreary, whining sort of voice, I thought I heard you come in.

Do you think you could come across and have a look at our kitchen sink? It’s got blocked up and-

It was Mrs Parsons, the wife of a neighbour on the same floor.

(Mrs was a word somewhat discountenanced by the Party - you were supposed to call everyone comrade - but with some women one used it instinctively.)

was a woman of about thirty, but looking much older.

One had the impression that there was dust in the creases of her face.

Winston followed her down the passage.

These amateur repair jobs were an almost daily irritation.

Victory Mansions were old flats, built in 1930 or thereabouts, and were falling to pieces.

The plaster flaked constantly from ceilings and walls, the pipes burst in every hard frost, the roof leaked whenever there was snow, the heating system was usually running at half steam when it was not closed down altogether from motives of economy.

Repairs, except what you could do for yourself, had to be sanctioned by remote committees which were liable to hold up even the mending of a window-pane for two years.

Of course it's only because Tom isn't home, said Mrs Parsons vaguely.

The Parsons flat was bigger than Winston's, and dingy in a different way.

Everything had a battered, trampled-on look, as though the place had just been visited by some large violent animal.

Games impedimenta - hockey-sticks, boxing-gloves. a burst football, a pair of sweaty shorts turned inside out - lay all over the floor, and on the table there was a litter of dirty dishes and dogeared exercise-books.

On the walls were scarlet banners of the Youth League and the Spies, and a full-sized poster of Big Brother.

There was the usual boiled-cabbage smell, common to the whole building, but it was shot through by a sharper reek of sweat, which-one knew this at the first sniff, though it was hard to say how was the sweat of some person not present at the moment.

In another room someone with a comb and a piece of toilet paper was trying to keep tune with the military music which was still issuing from the telescreen.

It's the children, said Mrs Parsons, casting a half-apprehensive glance at the door.

They haven’t been out today. And of course-

She had a habit of breaking off her sentences in the middle.

The kitchen sink was full nearly to the brim with filthy greenish water which smelt worse than ever of cabbage.

Winston knelt down and examined the angle-joint of the pipe.

He hated using his hands, and he hated bending down, which was always liable to start him coughing.

Mrs Parsons looked on helplessly.

Of course if Tom was home he'd put it right in a moment, she said.

He loves anything like that. He's ever so good with his hands, Tom is.

Parsons was Winston's fellow-employee at the Ministry of Truth.

He was a fattish but active man of paralysing stupidity, a mass of imbecile enthusiasms - one of those completely unquestioning, devoted drudges on whom, more even than on the Thought Police, the stability of the Party depended.

At thirtyfive he had just been unwillingly evicted from the Youth League, and before graduating into the Youth League he had managed to stay on in the Spies for a year beyond the statutory age.

At the Ministry he was employed in some subordinate post for which intelligence was not required, but on the other hand he was a leading figure on the Sports Committee and all the other committees engaged in organizing community hikes, spontaneous demonstrations, savings campaigns, and voluntary activities generally.

He would inform you with quiet pride, between whiffs of his pipe, that he had put in an appearance at the Community Centre every evening for the past four years.

An overpowering smell of sweat, a sort of unconscious testimony to the strenuousness of his life, followed him about wherever he went, and even remained behind him after he had gone.

Have you got a spanner? said Winston, fiddling with the nut on the anglejoint.

A spanner, said Mrs Parsons, immediately becoming invertebrate.

I don't

know, I'm sure. Perhaps the children -

There was a trampling of boots and another blast on the comb as the children charged into the living-room.

Mrs Parsons brought the spanner.

Winston let out the water and disgustedly removed the clot of human hair that had blocked up the pipe.

He cleaned his fingers as best he could in the cold water from the tap and went back into the other room.

Up with your hands! yelled a savage voice.

A handsome, tough-looking boy of nine had popped up from behind the table and was menacing him with a toy automatic pistol, while his small sister, about two years younger, made the same gesture with a fragment of wood.

Both of them were dressed in the blue shorts, grey shirts, and red neckerchiefs which were the uniform of the Spies.

Winston raised his hands above his head, but with an uneasy feeling, so vicious was the boy's demeanour, that it was not altogether a game.

You’re a traitor! yelled the boy.

You're a thought-criminal!

You're a

Eurasian spy! I’ll shoot you, I’ll vaporize you, I’ll send you to the salt mines!

Suddenly they were both leaping round him, shouting Traitor! and Thoughtcriminal!

The little girl imitating her brother in every movement.

It was somehow slightly frightening, like the gambolling of tiger cubs which will soon grow up into man-eaters.

There was a sort of calculating ferocity in the boy's eye, a quite evident desire to hit or kick Winston and a consciousness of being very nearly big enough to do so.

It was a good job it was not a real pistol he was holding, Winston thought.

About the Author:
"During times of universal deceit,
telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."

George Orwell

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