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Part Two, Chapter Nine

Winston is very tired. The Party has just changed its war stance, and now Eastasia is the enemy, and not Eurasia. Winston, therefore, has to busy himself with rectifying history so that the Party's change does not appear as a change at all, and that in the historical records, the enemy had always been the same. Winston is amazed that the change is announced during Hate Week, but that the people so readily switch their emotional rage to the new enemy without realizing that any big change has occurred! Now, for all they knew, Oceania had always been in war against Eastasia, when Winston knew that only days ago, the enemy had been Eurasia!

By now, Emmanuel Goldstein's book was in Winston's possession, for only six days, so he takes it to Mr. Charrington's room to start reading it. The title is "The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism" and Winston reads the first paragraph of Chapter 1, which starts off by saying that all societies are divided into three section, the High, the Middle, and the Low, but that their goals are always irreconcilable. Winston stops reading temporarily, fearful that he might get caught, but then he flips to Chapter 3 and continues reading.

The chapter summarizes the history and ideology of the Party, including that the three superstates which exist in the world right now (Oceania, Eastasia, and Eurasia) have always been at war with each other, since it was impossible for any one superstate to conquer any other. The three states have their own valuable materials, but above all, they exploit their cheap labor, keeping the poor enslaved unnecessarily for false productivity. Warfare utilizes new technologies but not for an increase in the standard of living, and the world is in many ways more primitive today than it was fifty years ago. There could be no increase of wealth because it threatened a hierarchical society, which needed to be grounded in poverty and ignorance. War, therefore, is the most effective means of keeping a society at bay, both physically and psychologically. Even though some Inner Party members know that much of the war reports are false, they are the truest believers in Oceania and the war, which they must believe Oceania will win someday. Oceania is dedicated to winning this war, even though there can never be an ultimate victor. The three superstates are all the same, working with each other to keep their masses in ignorance of the enemy while manipulating them to continue with the war effort. Each state still remains within its own boundaries, no other state ever threatens to invade them, even though it is sometimes very easy to do so. The only explanation is that the states want to continue this ruse of war, since it pacifies their masses into uniting against the war effort. An external war, therefore, gives them internal peace, and this is the root of the Party slogan "War is Peace."

Winston stops reading, disappointed since he knows all this already; he has learned nothing new. Julia arrives and asks Winston to read it aloud to her, explaining it along the way. Winston starts with Chapter 1.

The chapter summarizes relationships between the different classes in society, which rotate as if in a cycle, but always ensuring that there is a high, middle, and low strata. In Oceania, there is no individual property, because the Party owns everything collectively. But there are difficulties in keeping the society stratified, and the Party can fall for four reasons: 1) it is conquered from outside, 2) there is rebellion internally, 3) a strong Middle group is allowed to rise, or 4) it loses confidence in itself. The structure of Oceania is very predictable: Inner Party, Outer Party, and the proles, but admission into each branch is not necessarily hereditary. The chapter lists the expectations of a good Party member, and why it is necessary to alter the past to keep the present in control. There must be no standards of comparison, so Party members need to be cut off from history. This is an example of "doublethink" where there are two contradictory beliefs that a mind believes in. This is possible because a Party member must know that the new truth is for their own good, while the old truth is something that it is necessary to eradicate, so they must both believe in and reject the idea of two pasts.

Winston pauses to see if Julia is still awake, and she is not. He falls asleep next to her, still unsatisfied with the book because it does not explain why the world is this way, only how it came to be this way. He still does not know the ultimate secret

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Part One, Chapter One
Part One, Chapter Two
Part One, Chapter Three
Part One, Chapter Four
Part One, Chapter Five
Part One, Chapter Six
Part One, Chapter Seven
Part One, Chapter Eight
Part Two, Chapter One
Part Two, Chapter Two
Part Two, Chapter Three
Part Two, Chapter Four
Part Two, Chapter Five
Part Two, Chapter Six
Part Two, Chapter Seven
Part Two, Chapter Eight
Part Two, Chapter Nine
Part Two, Chapter Ten
Part Three, Chapter One
Part Three, Chapter Two
Part Three, Chapter Three
Part Three, Chapter Four
Part Three, Chapter Five
Part Three, Chapter Six


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