Explain how the Party changes history and why it does so.

Chapter 4 and textual evidence.

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Throughout this section we clearly see the striking contradictions in the Party's constant revision of the past, which Winston directly contributes to through his position in the Records Department at the Ministry of Truth. Any past documentation challenging a current Party goal, achievement or development must be destroyed or altered to support the Party's current actions. In this way, the "past" is constantly changing, and constantly altered. At one point, Oceania is at war with Eurasia and has always been at war with Eurasia, but later in the novel, Oceania is at war with Eastasia and has always been at war with Eastasia. For the Party, the past is mutable. Winston refuses to accept this, most visibly during the Ministry of Plenty report at the end of Chapter V where Winston listens in awe and disgust to false reports that the Ministry of Plenty has exceeded all production goals.

In detailing Winston's work life, Orwell reveals the inner workings of Party organizations and the fastidious control the Party wields over every detail of information administered to Party members and the masses. To work in the Ministry of Truth, Party members must embrace doublethink. They know they are altering past information, yet as loyal Party members must accept their own personal alterations as the truth. Winston cannot embrace doublethink. He knows the Party's version of the past is false - he remembers events the Party pretends never happened, and he refuses to ignore this knowledge.

Text Evidence:

"The messages he had received referred to articles or news items which for one reason or another it was thought necessary to alter, or, as the official phrase had it, to rectify. For example, it appeared from the Times of the seventeenth of March that Big Brother, in his speech of the previous day, had predicted that the South Indian front would remain quiet but that a Eurasian offensive would shortly be launched in North Africa. As it happened, the Eurasian Higher Command had launched its offensive in South India and left North Africa alone. It was therefore necessary to rewrite a paragraph of Big Brother's speech, in such a way as to make him predict the thing that had actually happened."


Gradesaver; 1984