What does this sentence mean? From 1984 by George Orwell "What certainty had he that a single human creature now living was on his side? And what way of knowing that the dominion of the Party would not endure forever?" I'm having trouble with the sentence structure and the meanings. Perhaps the first sentence could be read as "what certainty had he (that a single human creature now living) was on his side", but it seems to be grammatically incorrect, neither does it make sense to me. I'd appreciate your help:)
Feb 12, 2017 12:10 PM
Answers · 7
"a single human creature" refers not to 'he', but to the rest of humanity. I.e. "How could he ever know that anybody (even one single person) was on his side."
February 12, 2017
The protagonist is unsure if there is someone who is on his side. "to be on someone's side" means to be in support of the views of someone. The protagonist is uncertain that there is even a single person ("human creature") with the same views as himself. The question here is only rhetorical. The answer implied is "None." If the sentence structure is confusing for you, try replacing "a single human creature now living" with "someone": "What certainty had he that someone was on his side?" I hope it is more clear now.
February 12, 2017
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