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1984 Close Reading Passage - Falsifying the Past - Virtual

Close Reading Passage from Book 1, Chapter 4
excerpt carefully. Feel free to
use the blank space for
annotations, making your
engagement with the text
Winston's greatest pleasure in life was in his work. Most of it was a tedious routine,
but included in it there were also jobs so difficult and intricate that you could lose yourself
in them as in the depths of a mathematical problem — delicate pieces of forgery in which
you had nothing to guide you except your knowledge of the principles of Ingsoc and your
estimate of what the Party wanted you to say. Winston was good at this kind of thing. On
occasion he had even been entrusted with the rectification of 'The Times' leading articles,
which were written entirely in Newspeak. He unrolled the message that he had set aside
earlier. It ran:
times 3.12.83 reporting bb dayorder doubleplusungood
refs unpersons rewrite fullwise upsub antefiling
In Oldspeak (or standard English) this might be rendered:
The reporting of Big Brother's Order for the Day in
'The Times' of December 3rd 1983 is extremely
unsatisfactory and makes references to non-existent
persons. Rewrite it in full and submit your draft to
higher authority before filing.
Winston read through the offending article. Big Brother's Order for the Day, it
seemed, had been chiefly devoted to praising the work of an organization known as FFCC,
which supplied cigarettes and other comforts to the sailors in the Floating Fortresses. A
certain Comrade Withers, a prominent member of the Inner Party, had been singled out for
special mention and awarded a decoration, the Order of Conspicuous Merit, Second Class.
Three months later FFCC had suddenly been dissolved with no reasons given. One
could assume that Withers and his associates were now in disgrace, but there had been no
report of the matter in the Press or on the telescreen. That was to be expected, since it was
unusual for political offenders to be put on trial or even publicly denounced. The great
purges involving thousands of people, with public trials of traitors and thought-criminals
who made abject confession of their crimes and were afterwards executed, were special
show-pieces not occurring oftener than once in a couple of years. More commonly, people
who had incurred the displeasure of the Party simply disappeared and were never heard of
again. One never had the smallest clue as to what had happened to them. In some cases
they might not even be dead. Perhaps thirty people personally known to Winston, not
counting his parents, had disappeared at one time or another.
Close Reading Passage from Book 1, Chapter 4
_____ 1. As it is used in the text, tedious is best defined as:
A. Mind-numbing.
B. Physically burdensome.
C. Emotionally devastating.
D. Stimulating.
DIRECTIONS: Respond to
the short answer questions in
complete sentence format.
Feel free to use the blank
space on the right of the
document to jot down notes to
yourself as you engage in
active reading and thinking.
_____ 2. Which statement most accurately conveys Winston’s reason for finding
satisfaction in his professional life?
A. His work was simple, allowing him to establish routine in an
otherwise unpredictable world.
B. His work sometimes afforded him the independence to make
decisions based solely on his own convictions, a privilege most never
experience in their lives.
C. His work made him feel like a valued member of the Party, for he
was entrusted with inferring and articulating the desires of the Party.
D. His work required the application of critical thinking, a task that
offered him opportunities to pass time in a more pleasant manner.
3. The use of the word rectification is considered a euphemism (a milder, more
indirect expression of an unpleasant or harsh idea). Explain why.
_____ 4. Which of the following is confirmed by this excerpt?
A. Withers’ place within the social stratification: among Second Class
B. Winston’s beliefs as to what happened to Withers and others who
met similar fates.
C. The reason for Withers’ punishment.
D. Comrade Withers had already been vaporized.
5. Analyse the author’s word choice. Why does Orwell use the term show-pieces in
reference to the great purges? Explain your reasoning.
_____ 6. As it is used in the text, abject is best defined as:
A. Hopeless.
B. Humble.
C. Inconsiderate.
D. Casual.
7. The narrator states that “people who had incurred the displeasure of the Party simply
disappeared.” What is the significance of the phrase “incurred the displeasure”? In other
words, why did the author choose this phrase?
_____ 8. Which option best conveys the function of this passage?
A. The function is to clarify Winston’s professional responsibilities.
B. The function is to provide the backstory of Comrade Withers and
how he became a target of the Party.
C. The function is to show how efficiently the Party can control the
past, present, and future.
D. The function is to emphasize the internal conflict Winston faces,
thereby increasing tension.
9. The Party’s falsification of the past is intended to meet its current sociopolitical
needs. There are many historical parallels to this plot detail. Conduct brief research
to identify and explain examples of historical figures who manipulated media in
efforts to deceive the public.