Write a critical appreciation of pages 16-18 “in its second… uttering a prayer”. How does the two minutes hate contribute to your understanding of the nightmare world in which Winston lives? The two minutes hate is almost a celebration of a cult, a sort of gathering of religious fanatics to honour their ruler, Big Brother. Orwell uses it to show the expressions of anarchy amongst the ‘leaping and shouting’ people and how this would be their only chance to express their human feelings in the nightmare society in which they are forced to live.
Winston’s dystopian world is displayed in Orwell’s unsympathetic parody of the two minutes silence in commemoration of WWII and epitomises the ‘frenzy’ of emotions, the terror and violent culture that Winston has to tolerate. His elaborate view of religious or political fanatics scrutinises these kinds of obsessions and demonstrates how it can over-power a person’s life. Control is one of the main components of the two minutes hate. The people are helpless, they are ‘like that of a landed fish’ in the robotic machine that is Big Brother.
They cannot escape from ‘the voice’ that ‘continued inexorably’ and there is no escapism to be had in the ‘frenzy’ of voices yelling at the screen. This reflects a nightmare that is inescapable until we awake. Winston longs to awaken in a society capable of love, without suffering, but it seems he knows that can never arise. The world for Winston is a steady destruction of all good virtues and basic human rights that they are so cruelly being denied, which is shown so clearly through this extract. Winston finds it ‘impossible to avoid joining in’.
This reflects the lack of control he has in all elements of his nightmarish life. The sheer violence of the episode overwhelms Winston’s mentality and creates an isolation of his mind to the rest of the ‘sheep’ and is inescapable. He has the power to rebel, although he submits to a ‘hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer’. This juxtaposition of hideousness and ecstasy shows Winston’s abhorrence is all towards the party and Big Brother instead of the loathed Goldstein.
In Winston’s conscious mind he changes into a ‘grimacing, screaming lunatic’ and is capable of switching his hate ‘from one object to another’. These images are distinctive of a dystopian novel and relates to the time of obsession and paranoia that was experienced during World War II, when the novel was written. Winston’s hate develops into an ‘inescapable’ sexual lust for ‘the black haired girl’. He describes his desire to ‘flog her to death’ and how it would be a ‘beautiful’ sight.
This contradiction is Winston’s flicker of rebellion against the ‘sinister enchanter’ that is Big Brother. This introduces the theme of love versus hate, which is explored throughout the rest of the novel. The pointlessness of the hate strikes Winston as we see Winston’s weakness; he has a perplexed mind that cannot comprehend the point to the rage inflicted upon Goldstein. The fickleness of the Party members distresses Winston ‘the sandy haired woman shouting what sounded like “my Saviour”‘ as he seems to realise the stupidity of the ‘frenzy’.
Orwell contradicts the whole of the Party’s endeavour to create a ‘perfect’ world and stamp out all feelings, as ‘his heart went out to the lonely, derided, heretic on the screen’. Winston is conveying how he is himself a ‘heretic’ and rebelling against the beloved Big Brother which we see later in the novel also as Winston recognizes his rebellious potential. This shows his refusal of living ‘in a world of lies’.
This ‘world’ epitomises the depression of Winston’s nightmare and the society he exists in and at this point, Winston becomes ‘at one with the people about him’, his mind is distorted ‘and all that was said of Goldstein seemed to him to be true’. Winston’s seemingly only flaw it that subconsciously he switches his thoughts from one side to another and it is only ‘the black haired girl’ who lays bare his real personality and sets him straight. The two minutes hate represents Orwell’s character and his novel as a whole as we see his hate for the outward expression of human feelings and his ultimate desire for control.
We find his detestation of religious extremists on course throughout the novel, which replicates its dark and dystopian themes. He has channelled his hate in to his work and through what may indeed be a representation of the author himself, Winston’s Character. Every element of hope is lost for Winston during the two minutes hate. This raises our understanding of an embodiment of a nightmare world that hopelessly celebrates a religious cult and its inescapable anarchy, which will ultimately have its revenge on Winston’s mutinous mind.
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