1984 by George Orwell

Section One, Part IV Summary (pp. 37-48)

Winston is at work in the Ministry of Truth, where he modifies documents to make them match whatever version of the past the Party wishes to construct. Once a document is changed, the original is deposited in a "memory hole", where it is incinerated. Winston realizes he's not usually even changing truth to lies, but substituting "one piece of nonsense for another" (40). The reader learns that work, while usually tedious, is Winston's "greatest pleasure in life" (43) because he can forget his suffering in the process of producing forgeries.

Winston receives an assignment to rewrite an article and the reader learns how the Party deals with its opponents. Winston wonders whether a co-worker nearby is working on the same assignment and then wonders about the fate of the subject of his rewrite. Suddenly, inspiration about how to proceed with the assignment strikes Winston: he will invent a piece of fiction. He goes on to manufacture the story of Comrade Ogilvy, a model soldier and citizen of Oceania according to the principles of the Party. When he's finished, Winston thinks about how easily the past can be changed and Comrade Ogilvy made as real as Charlemagne or Julius Caesar.

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