This department is responsible for making and sending out “the lowest kind of pornography” for the Proles. The material goes out in “sealed packets,” and no party member is allowed to look at it. Later in the novel, it’s revealed that Pornosec is staffed entirely by women. This suggests that the Party believes that men are even less trustworthy to work in this area than women.
Pornosec is a department in the Ministry of Truth. They produce pornographic materials.
The people who work there have pristine records with the Party, like Julia. When speaking about her, the narrator notes that she had always “borne an excellent character.” This is suggestive of the type of person that was allowed to work there. They had to be as trustworthy as possible and as incorruptible. Julia was, of course, far from either.
Examples of Pornosec in 1984
Pornosec was mentioned three times in 1984. The first time occurs on page 55 when Winston is loosely referring to the different sections in the Ministry of Truth. Pornosec is one of those sections. It is, in Orwell’s own words:
engaged in producing the lowest kind of pornography, which was sent out in sealed packets and which no Party member, other than those who worked on it, was permitted to look at.
This is a great example of how the lives of Party members, or at least Outer Party members, are controlled. It’s unknown how much access to material like this that Inner Party members have. But, it’s likely that they have privileges that the lower members do not.
The Party does not trust the Outer Party members’ ability to control their sexual urges, and pornography will not help. The Party is only interested in power, and it does not allow them to have their citizens focus on something other than the Party’s best interests. This is why, as the novel proves, the Party focuses people’s passions on defeating the enemy and loving Big Brother.
The Junior Anti-Sex League is another great example of how the Party tries to control the “sexual urge” in everyday people. This group advocates for the complete irradiation of sex and for the use of other forms of reproduction.
Julia, Winston learns, was chosen to work in Pornosec. He gives a brief description of what he learned about the department from her:
been picked out to work in Pornosec, the sub-section of the Fiction Department which turned out cheap pornography for distribution among the proles. It was nicknamed Muck House by the people who worked in it, she remarked. There she had remained for a year, helping to produce booklets in sealed packets with titles like ‘Spanking Stories’ or ‘One Night in a Girls’ School’, to be bought furtively by proletarian youths who were under the impression that they were buying something illegal.
Winston is interested in her work, and she describes the books as “ghostly rubbish” and notes that there are only “six plots” but:
they swap them round a bit. Of course I was only on the kaleidoscopes. I was never in the Rewrite Squad. I’m not literary, dear—not even enough for that.’
Julia was chosen to work in the department because of her perceived purity. But, as Winston learns, she is far from that. He also learns from her that everyone working in Pornosec is a woman:
He learned with astonishment that all the workers in Pornosec, except the heads of the departments, were girls. The theory was that men, whose sex instincts were less controllable than those of women, were in greater danger of being corrupted by the filth they handled. ‘They don’t even like having married women there,’ she added. Girls are always supposed to be so pure. Here’s one who isn’t, anyway.
What is Pornosec in 1984?
Pornosec is a department in the Ministry of Truth. It is responsible for creating cheap pornography for the Proles. Winston refers to the department with an amount of amazement. It’s only mentioned briefly in the novel.
Who works in Pornosec in 1984?
Julia reveals that only women work in Pornosec and that the Party prefers to pick unmarried women to work there, feeling they are the hardest to corrupt.
What is Julia’s job in Pornosec?
Julia’s job while working at Pornosec was “helping to produce booklets in sealed packets.” These had the most basic of stories. Her job mainly was manual labor. She said she was not part of the “Rewrite Squad” and was not “literary.”
Related Terms in 1984
- Ministry of Truth: the ministry responsible for the news and other publications.
- Hate Week: a period of hate celebration that happens once a year and is inspired by the Party’s depictions of the other superstates and Emmanuel Goldstein
- Big Brother: the leader of Oceania and the face of the Party. He’s desired as a war hero, inventor, and more. He may also not be real.
- INGSOC: newspeak for English Socialism, the governing system used throughout Oceania.
- Doublethink: cognitive dissonance. Or the act of thinking two contradictory things at once. Or believing that the two things are true.
- Newspeak: the language used to diminish the range of thought in Oceania.
- Ministry of Love: responsible for brainwashing the citizens of Oceania.