By: Elaine Lundy

What is doublethink?

The power to hold two completely contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accept both of them.

Why is doublethink important?

Doublethink is a way for you to think one way but believe another. It is protection for anyone in the Party who does not truly believe the policies.

For example, when Winston is being tortured by O'Brien, O'Brien tells Winston that two plus two equal five. Winston oberves that O'Brien gives absolutely no indication that he believes any other thing than that 2+2 actually DOES equal 5. Even though Winston knows this is not true, he also eventually begins to think that 2+2 MIGHT equal 5.

It's like thinking one thing and saying something completely opposite to hide your true feelings...doublethink is incredibly wearisome and difficult to keep up for any period of time, especially in a society like Oceania where people are constantly looking for a reason to accuse someone else of thoughtcrime. Without doublethink Oceania wouldn't be able to have control over others.

How doublethink relates to themes

One theme of 1984 is the control of information and history. This is a huge part of the novel because the party convinces people to believe whatever they tell them, regardless of if it is true or not. The Party does not allow individuals to keep record of their past, such as photographs or documents. This makes everything that the members know very fuzzy and unreliable. Doublethink is important to this because the Party is using doublethink to control their thoughts, making them unable to have any original thoughts themselves.