1984 vs. North Korea: Fear and Government Free Essay Example

April 13, 2022 by Essay Writer

There are parts in the world that we live in today that from the outside may seem like a healthy society but on the inside is unbearable to live. North Korea is the most isolated country on planet Earth. There is no leaving or entering the country; unless one is using the only vacation that they are allowed in their lifetime. The land of Oceania in the novel 1984 by George Orwell is also a place that is heavily structured, and the government monitors every move that the citizens make, whether it’s in the privacy of their own home or public spaces.

While the country of Oceania in 1984 has extremely structured lifestyles, it is not nearly as bad as the laws, social organization, and food in North Korea.

The laws, both written and unwritten in North Korea are known amongst the people and if broken, will result in terrifying consequences. Ever since North Korean President, Kim Il-sung Kim passed away on June 8th, 1994, it is prohibited that any citizens in North Korea experience any form of joy on that day, this includes: alcohol, dancing, and even smiling.

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(MSN News) North Korea also does not allow its citizens to speak any words that are against their “great leader,’ in fact, most North Korean citizens can’t say anything against the leader because they don’t have the language for it. Although this law isn’t written down, the citizens know that speaking against him can be punishable by death. The current leader of this country is Kim Jong-un, but this law was imposed when Kim Il-sung took leadership of North Korea for the first time.

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Similar to this, the people of Oceania in the novel 1984 by George Orwell are not allowed to plot against their leader, Big Brother, and are limited in what they can say at all. Every move they make is monitored, and someone hears every word that they say. The laws in both North Korea and 1984 are very similar for various reasons.

A family should always come first, and if one ever has troubles in their lives, they should have their own family to depend upon in the end. This is the case for the citizens of North Korea who still have a family; those are the only people one can trust in a country such as North Korea. The typical family in this country lives together in the same living space (apartments for the most privileged citizens) usually cramming more people than intended into it. There are pictures on the walls of the family; however, there are posters of their most current leader all over for giving thanks to him. On the other hand, the citizens in 1984 are unable to trust anyone, including their family members.

Betrayal first became prevalent in this novel when Parsons said, ‘It was my little daughter,’ said Parsons with a sort of doleful pride. ‘She listened at the keyhole. Heard what I was saying, and nipped off to the patrols the very next day. Pretty smart for a nipper of seven, eh? I don’t bear her any grudge for it. In fact, I’m proud of her. It shows I brought her up in the right spirit, anyway.’ (Orwell 193) The party succeeded in their plan in turning the citizens’ children against them and having them serve as inside surveillance for them as well. At this point in the novel, it is evident that Oceania has become a place where you can trust no one. Parsons daughter fell so in love with the party members, that she turned in her father for thoughtcrime.

Although their government has previously approved all of the food that exists in North Korea, they still have a variety of foods that are mainly seafood. Their food may not be expensive, but most of the citizens still may not even be able to afford it. North Korea was posed as a “dog eat dog” society when David Slinn, an observer from America stated, “People had to try and adapt, to start having to look after themselves and after their interests. That was a challenge, and it came through in some of the things they said.” (Young) It is essential to understand that in this society, their government does not care about the well being of the people.

The government believes that the people owe them because of their past successes, thus causing the people to do everything that they can to survive. Similar to this, in the book 1984, the people are rationed in their foods, especially in chocolate, “As short a time ago as February, the Ministry of Plenty had issued a promise (a ‘categorical pledge’ were the official words) that there would be no reduction of the chocolate ration during 1984. Actually, as Winston was aware, the chocolate ration was to be reduced from thirty grams to twenty at the end of the present week.” (Orwell 36) The citizens in 1984 are only allowed to buy a certain amount of chocolate each week due to the shortage. (Weebly, life in the U.K) Later the written record is redacted so that it appears that the promise was never made or else that it was conditional. (Imlac’s journal) Even worse, what should be an occasion of shame and disappointment is turned into a triumph of central planning. (Imlac’s journal) The other food in the novel is also described as really dull and bland food. In these dystopian societies, food is used as yet another thing that is against the people.

While 1984 has terrible laws, social organization, and food, North Korea is worse because their food is all controlled by the government, their social organization is more structured, and their laws are stricter. North Korea will always be known for how critical their living conditions are for the people. The people there are scared but are still forced to act like they worship their great leader. The use of fear in government can break down and brainwash a whole society and cause them to believe that inhumane actions are perfectly reasonable.

Works Cited

  • 20 Jobs That Will Be Replaced by Technology, www.msn.com/en-sg/news/photos/the-bizarre-laws-of-north-korea/ss-AArmhAW#image=22.
  • Young, Leslie. “Life in North Korea: Food Rations, Power Failures and No Free Speech.” Global News, Global News, 22 Oct. 2017, globalnews.ca/news/3816737/life-in-north-korea-food-rations-power-failures-and-no-free-speech/.
  • “Rations and Distribution of Food.” Life in the United Kingdom during Wwii, lifeintheunitedkingdom1984.weebly.com/rations-and-distribution-of-food.html.
  • “Big Brother and the Chocolate Rations.” Imlac’s Journal, 3 Jan. 2014, imlacsjournal.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/big-brother-and-the-chocolate-rations/.


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