Misogynistic Views of George Orwell in His Novel 1984
George Orwell’s 1984 (1949) is a novel set in a theoretical future in which London is currently arranged in ‘Oceania’, a state led by a totalitarian regime which seems to be led by the elusive figure of Big Brother. The general public is variously leveled (much like the Indian caste system), with the ‘proles’ at the bottom, above them the Party individuals, and then the members of the Inner Party. The proles are considered useless to the point where they’re allowed to experience their lives as they wish, however, Party individuals are constantly checked up on by the Inner Party and the Thought Police. Any deviation from Party rules — or from the social standard, since there are no laws (Orwell 8) — is severely punished. ‘Big Brother’, as everybody knows, ‘Is Watching’.
It is for the most part believed that by portraying this horrific dystopian world Orwell intended to scrutinize totalitarian administrations, and that he succeeded at this. The storyteller, simultaneously demonstrates a misogynistic world view regularly shown in dystopian books, in which ladies are irrelevant and substandard, ‘either sexless automatons or rebels who’ve defied the sex rules of the regime’ (Atwood 516). This is very two-faced: Orwell assails Big Brother’s domination [of the state] but never notices that he is ‘the perfect embodiment of hypertrophied masculinity’ (Despair 88) the narrator never focuses on male power over females even though it is present in the most subtle of ways.
1984 begins with a third person narrator presenting the main character, Winston Smith, and his reality. From the plain first page, this storyteller is continually exchanging between what appear to be facts ; the writing on the divider says BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the elevator that only occasionally works, Winston is thirty-nine and has a varicose ulcer over his right ankle — and Winston’s sentiments. It’s hard to tell whether the corridor really ‘smelt like boiled cabbage and old rag mats’, and if Big Brother did have ‘ruggedly handsome features’ (3) because these are all subjective. The utilization of free indirect discourse (FID) (‘It was no use trying the lift’) guarantees, as in numerous different books, that the fundamental character’s focalizationl is not entirely obvious and taken as reality.
It isn’t the situation that Winston’s feelings are constantly introduced as goal, however the storyteller frequently interchanges between the use of FID and saying that it is Winston who thinks something. Give us a chance to consider for instance the first run through Julia (by then still anonymous) is said:
“He did not know her name, but he knew that she worked in the Fiction Department. Presumably — since he had sometimes seen her with oily hands and carrying a spanner — she had some mechanical job on one of the novel-writing machines. She was a bold-looking girl, of about twenty-seven, with thick hair, a freckled face, and swift, athletic movements. A narrow scarlet sash, emblem of the Junior Anti-Sex League, was wound several times round the waist of her overalls, just tightly enough to bring out the shapeliness of her hips…He disliked nearly all women, and especially the young and pretty ones. It was always the women, and above all the young ones, who were the most bigoted adherents of the Party, the swallowers of slogans, the amateur spies and nosers-out of unorthodoxy”. (11-2)
The storyteller flawlessly switches between a third person portrayal and the thoughts and opinions of Winston. Yet, in truth the storyteller utilizes a printed style that just recommends factuality. The sentence Patai alludes to (‘It was always … unorthodoxy’) is encompassed by Winston’s subjectivity: ‘He disliked’, it says in the sentence previously, followed by ‘gave him the impression’. Yet at the same time, the storyteller establish it appear as though Winston’s views of ladies are the reality. What’s more, these impressions are sexist and two dimensional.
The ladies that Winston-storyteller depicts are generally void disapproved and loaded with party mottos like his better half ‘The Human Soundtrack’ (Orwell 69), or proles, whom he sooner or later watches ‘disgustedly’ (73), whores, or self-destroying maternal figures: notwithstanding when seen emphatically ladies are generalizations (Patai, Despair 88). ‘Women are at the margins’, and ‘exist mainly as a source of frustration, irritation, or temptation’ (Bail 215). Also, this view is never tested by the main lady who doesn’t fit very into this account: Julia may be unique, she is still first and foremost characterized as a female body.
Winston begins needing to rape and murder Julia. It is consequently unquestionable that Winston began loathing Julia on the grounds that he needed to have intercourse with her. In knowing, or expecting, that that could never happen, Winston winds up feeling tricked out of something that he believes he should have. Potentially even cheated out of a feeling of manliness that may accompany having intercourse with a young lady like Julia.
It is by all accounts the main reason Winston needed ‘a lady of his own’ (71): for her body, and the politics that accompany it. When he stops ‘simply’ loathing Julia’s body, Winston begins to consider it to be a means to an end: he supposes Julia can oppose the Party with it. When he longs for her stripping, what overpowers him is profound respect for the motion with which she ‘… throw[s] her garments aside … as if Big Brother and the Party and the Thought Police could all be into nothingness by a single splendid movement of the arm’ (33). Afterward, he calls a similar activity however, all things considered, a ‘gesture with which a whole civilisation seem[s] to be annihilated’(131). Moreover, he feels like his first time sex with Julia isn’t a demonstration of affection, or even want for woman ‘you could not call … beautiful’(132), yet it is a political demonstration.
The significance of political issues changes all through the novel, and it appears that the more extended their relationship endures, the more centered Winston is around simply Julia’s body. When he gets Julia’s ‘I love you’- note, he is exclusively worried about losing her ‘white youthful body’ on the off chance that he doesn’t answer (115), yet later on he gets extremely angry when Julia is menstruating on the grounds that he feels like she is duping him out of something he doesn’t simply need frantically, yet really has a right to. (It has been noted by both Patai and Tirohl that Julia and Winston obviously just get together to have sex.)
What’s more, despite the fact that Winston eventually begins saying he “loves” Julia, he never fully comes around to valuing her as a person. Furthermore, toward the end of the novel, when he meets Julia for the last time and his “love” for her has been lost, she is still just depicted regarding her body parts: what has changed after the torment is that her abdomen is thicker, her body feels like stone, and her feet have become larger. (304– 5).
For example: Winston gains from Julia that ‘[a]ll the workers in Pornosec’, where cheap pornography is made for the proles, ‘except for the head of department, were girls’ (137) .‘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’ (137). This clings to a view that ladies are simply normally less inspired by sex than men, additionally sustained when we are informed that ‘so far as the women were concerned, the Party’s efforts [to dirty and distort the sex instinct] were largely successful’ (69).
In the event that we consider that 1984 is told from the point of view of Winston, the book’s misogyny can be pardoned, or if nothing else clarified, by saying that it is just Winston’s misogyny. However, this doesn’t represent the way that the Appendix, written in past tense, was positively not composed by Winston, which would imply that the storyteller and Winston can be isolated. What’s more, the storyteller has settled on the choice to show Winston’s sexist perspectives as actualities, while never addressing them. Not notwithstanding when it’s the Party, which is always addressed, doing the persecuting.
This all prompts a book that criticizes, and cautions for, totalitarian administrations, while leaving the mistreatment of women out of each condition. 1984 is considered a work of art and for good reasons, however it should, as any book, dependably be read fundamentally rather than directly . It is easy to oblige the story and the facts exhibited, however in the event that we don’t investigate and examine Winston’s and the storyteller’s perspectives, as we are allowed to do so, when we simply underestimate the expert of this content, on the off chance that we go along with its perspective of what is ordinary, we have gained nothing from it.
Modern Day Issues in ‘1984’ By George Orwell
There exists a line that separates the world of fiction and the real-life society we live in. We seem to know to distinguish between the two worlds clearly through movies, television, or books with works of fiction such as superheroes, supernatural events, and mythical creatures. The novel named 1984 written by George Orwell is a fictional story that displays a world where the world is confined by war, governmental surveillance, and propaganda. Although it is a work of fiction, it fades the line that separates fiction from real-life with its issues and themes that apply to our world today. It seems that the two worlds are colliding as the manipulation of the media, persisting physical and mental stress and surveillance described by Orwell is also prevalent in the world we live in today. It may not be noticed, but Orwell’s clever depiction of the public’s influence in his book applies almost exactly to today.
Winston Smith lived in a country named Oceania that contained a single totalitarian dictator that his citizens call Big Brother. The country consists of a harsh application of constant propaganda to an extent where there is no turning back after its effects. To control the public’s image of the country, “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted…the past is falsified…no evidence ever remains”. The idea of how the government and its citizens are altering what the public sees still exists today though in other forms such as social media, advertisements, and news. A social media app, Instagram is known for its negative impacts especially toward our teens through the unrealistic images it shares on body image, mental health, society, and more. Everyone is guilty is falsifying photos and texts that a British online newspaper named The Independent says is linked to depression, anxiety, and bullying (Blair). When Winston is captured from being caught with loving Julia, he goes through extreme torture by O’Brien. Two plus two equals four, but “the Party says that it is not four but five”, as this was one method that O’Brien used that brainwashed and “tortured [Winston] to the edge of lunacy”.
As we are continuously met with society’s false expectations or portrayals, people start to believe them. It is alike O’Brien attempting to “cure” Winston with information contrary to the truth. We are brainwashed by the depictions on the ideal body, self, and life that are not necessarily true.
The 1984 of today is happening right now. As more issues blow out in the world, the fires inside us are also burning. Inside and out, there is pain to encounter and overcome but many attempt to suppress it. Inside the Ministry of Love Winston is forced to learn, understand, and accept the ways of Big Brother. The physical and mental pain felt as if “his body was being wrenched out of shape, the joints were being slowly torn apart… He set his teeth and breathed hard through his nose, trying to keep silent”. Despite the various forms of torture he encountered such as psychological manipulations, beatings, and starvation, they did not strip away Winston’s spirit. He continues to protest against the sayings of O’Brien until the very end. This tolerance of pain during physical and mental struggles is all too common in our society today with political, social, or school as everyone learns to adapt and endure. However, this can also be negative with issues such as sexual abuse as Forbes Magazine shows that “many millions of women are being abused in the U.S. and beyond, and so many are turning a blind eye, or worse, helping to support its continuation by not taking a stand to speak up or fight against it” (Caprino). To be able to fight for what you believe in is a powerful trait that many of us have today, as well as Winston Smith who tried to rebel. O’Brien asks him if he is prepared to sacrifice his life, sanity, country, and Julia and he is because they are “enemies of the Party. [They] disbelieve in the principles of Ingsoc… are thought criminals”.
Sneaking behind his government to work against it lead to suffering but it was what he stood for. We can see people speaking up against issues and opening up about their opinions on their society; their voices can clearly be heard online or on the streets. Having the courage to fight and the belief that change is possible is the key link between the themes Orwell portrayed and today’s world. Although 1984 was written before the extensive modernization of the present, the systems of surveillance of today and of the book match. In Oceania, “it was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away…to wear an improper expression on your face was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime”.
The Party’s advanced forms of technology are found everywhere in order to keep their citizens under control. This intense surveillance is similar to today’s social media, CCTV, and all types of computers with their possible spying abilities. However, whether it is useful or not is still debatable. The New York Times presents two different sides saying that “too much surveillance… is detrimental and leaves people without any privacy in public.”, or that “a society with cameras everywhere will make the world safer and hold criminals more accountable for their actions” (Bilton). Moreover, Oceania’s surveillance also extends to its people.
Winston and Julia were betrayed by a man named Mr. Charrington who rented them the room for their secret meetings. He was revealed as a person of deception when Mr. Charrington changed his appearances to show Winston that “for the first time in his life he was looking, at a member of the Thought Police”. Winston mistakenly trusted this man, displaying how betrayal is hidden deep within Oceania by the Party. Surveillance is not only security cameras, cell phones, and social media, but the people all around us as well. Modern day is where technology meets human forces to create a massive system of surveillance together. The rich details presented in Orwell’s 1984 seem to diminish the distinguishing of the separation of fiction and reality by connections with the media’s forms of manipulation, perseverance through stress, and endless surveillance. It is a novel filled with issues and themes that continue to exist over time and outside of its fictional realm. George Orwell might as well have successfully predicted the future.
“1984” by George Orwell
The book 1984, by George Orwell, provides a in-depth description of a society that rejects individualism and the acceptance of reality and history. Within this book, George Orwell uses the story of Winston Smith to create an effective outline of the society in which he lives in. There is a total of seven psychological approaches that can be used to observe Winston Smith, including the behavioral, biological, cognitive, evolutionary, humanistic, psychodynamic, and sociocultural approach. Together, these approaches help to create a character profile of Winston Smith, analyzing how different factors determine how he behaves and thinks.
First, Winston Smith’s character can be analyzed through the behavioral approach, “an approach of psychology emphasizing the scientific study of observable behavioral responses and their environmental determinants.” (The Science of Psychology, page 9) This approach takes advantage of the society that Smith lives in and uses its features to determine how and why he acts in certain ways. Smith lives in a society that has a “Party” that forces the people of Oceania to believe everything that it tells them about. For example, Smith usually participates in an event called “the Hate,” which is the scolding of Emmanuel Goldstein, a traitor of the Party. (1984, page 11) Although he feels no hatred toward Goldstein, he automatically joins the rest of the Party members in scolding Goldstein for his rebellious ideas. Also, later in Smith’s story, he begs, to escape the torturing by O’Brien, to give the punishment to Julia, crying, “’Do it to Julia! I don’t care what you do to her! Not me!’”
Moreover, the biological approach is another aspect of psychology that can be used to analyze the character of Winston Smith. The biological approach is focused “on the body, especially the brain and nervous system.” (The Science of Psychology, page 8) It connects the influences of physical factors and genetics to the choice of actions by a person. For example, whenever Smith experiences anxiety or fear, he would feel pain or an aching feeling inside his stomach, in which is caused by the action of his brain and the neurotransmitters inside his body. Later on, when imprisoned in the Ministry of Love, he is constantly tortured and beaten for his crime. After experiencing many beatings, he attempts to move “his body this way and that in an endless, hopeless effort to dodge the kicks.” (1984, page 240) Towards the end of the story, Smith’s mind is affected by a physical factor or an action that was taken out towards him. He saw this “blinding flash of light” in which caused him to feel “as though a piece had been taken out of his brain.” (1984, page 257) Taking advantage of this time, O’Brien successfully “plugged in” the “correct” knowledge into the mind of Smith, telling him that two plus two equals five, that Oceania was at war with East Asia, etc.
Additionally, there is a cognitive approach, in which is “an approach to psychology emphasizing the mental processes involved in knowing; how we direct our attention, perceive, remember, think, and solve problems.” (The Science of Psychology, page 10) For example, during the beginning of Smith’s story, he recalls his dream of hearing “we shall meet in a place where there is no darkness.” He is certain that the voice that he hears in this dream is the voice of O’Brien. This is an example of how Smith uses his brain to remember things and to solve and answer questions. Also, Smith had dreams about his childhood, remembering his mother and his younger sister. Smith remembers his dreams and about his childhood causes him to constantly think of what had happened to his family and about what type of person he grew up to be like. Another aspect of the cognitive approach is the ability of a person to perceive. When Smith and Julia were caught by the Thought Police, he realized that there was a telescreen in the room. He also became aware that Mr. Charrington was really “a member of the Thought Police.”
Another psychological approach that can be used to analyze the character of Winston Smith is the evolutionary approach, in which is “centered on evolutionary ideas such as adaptation, reproduction and natural selection as the basis for explaining specific human behaviors.” (The Science of Psychology, page 10) In other words, this approach analyzes the environment in which Winston Smith lives in and uses the analysis to determine how and why he acts in certain ways. The most important aspect of Oceania that causes its people to act in certain ways is the Party, in which restricts the people from doing many things that would cause them to accept history, the past, individualism, etc. Smith was basically born in this type of society and was adapted to the ways in which the society functions. For example, he learns to be cautious about the things that he does because he understands that he is always monitored by a device called “the telescreen.” Furthermore, after he is imprisoned in the Ministry of Love for “thought crime,” Smith is forced, by O’Brien, to accept the ways of the Party, to love the Party, and to “love Big Brother.” (1984, page 282) The evolutionary approach shows how Winston Smith’s character was really shaped by the society in which he lived in and by the people that he was surrounded by, such as Big Brother and O’Brien.
A fifth psychological approach is the humanistic approach. The humanistic approach emphasizes “a person’s positive qualities, the capacity for positive growth, and the freedom to choose any destiny.” The humanistic approach is most effective when use to create a character profile of Winston Smith because George Orwell designed Winston Smith as a representation of freedom and democracy. Throughout the book, Smith demonstrates actions that are against the rejections of the Party, and that is for “the freedom to choose any destiny.” The most important example is Smith’s choice to buy and write in a journal that he bought at Mr. Charrington’s shop. Within the journal, he, through his inner conscious, wrote the phrase “down with Big Brother,” in which is a very rebellious thing to do in the city of Oceania. Just writing about his own thoughts in the journal is already an “illegal” thing to do with the existence of the Party. Another important example is Smith’s choice to be together with Julia and to meet with her secretly at different hideouts. Since Smith already has a wife, being together with Julia is definitely not allowed. Throughout the book, Smith also demonstrates the enforcing of freedom through his desire to join the “Brotherhood” and to believe valid facts, such as the fact that “two plus two equals four.”
Furthermore, the next approach, the psychodynamic approach, is “an approach to psychology emphasizing unconscious thought, the conflict between biological drives (such as the drive for sex) and society’s demands, and early childhood family experiences.” (The Science of Psychology, page 9) An important example is the biological drive of Winston Smith and Julia to be together and have sexual intercourse, during their secret meetings, despite the fact that the Party would not allow it at all. This situation is an example of a conflict between biological drives and society’s demands. When comparing biological drives and early childhood family experiences, Winston Smith also demonstrates this aspect of the psychodynamic approach. When he was a child, his family was not very rich and he often begged for more food, even though his mother and his younger sister were starving as well. During one time, he decided to steal his sister’s chocolate and to run away from his mother just because he “could not help it” and “felt that he had a right to do it.” (1984, page 162) Analyzing the character of Smith, using the psychodynamic approach, it can be seen that he grew to become a person that would do anything to satisfy his needs, even if it were against the opinions of others.
The last approach is the sociocultural approach, in which is “examines the ways in which social and cultural environments influence behavior.” This approach considers all the environmental factors that influence the behavior of Winston Smith, including the opinions of the people that surround him and the type of society in which he grew up in. Smith was born in a society with no individualism and freedom and has to be cautious about the things he does in case the Thought Police catch and kill him. Throughout the story, Smith has to be careful that he does not say or do anything that would be considered “thought crime,” such as writing in his journal or traveling alone to meet with Julia. One example of an event that he participates in to “blend in” with the rest of his society is “the Hate.” Although Smith does not feel hatred towards Emmanuel Goldstein and does not understand the purpose of the event, he continues to throw objects at the screen, in which shows Goldstein, and to scold Goldstein. Furthermore, he has also grown to be cautious of others who might be a member of the Thought Police or a member of the Brotherhood.
Using the seven psychological approaches to analyze the character of Winston Smith, in the society of Oceania, it can be seen that Winston Smith is a person that is very different from all others. Smith represents freedom; he is selfish and understands the relationship between the past, present, and future, etc. He stands out because he has a large capacity for positive growth, yet he is willing to surrender many things in order to protect himself from vanishing because of how different he is. He is clear of what his goals are, yet he is also uncertain of how he wants his life to turn out because of the society that he has lived in for all his life.
The Importance of Winston and Julie’s Romantic Relationship in George Orwell’s 1984
In Orwell’s 1984, the government is in control of everyone and everything including relationships. Our protagonist, Winston, had to hide any and all feelings he had for others. Then he met Julie and all he could feel was hatred toward her conformist ways. He imagined brutally assaulting her and leaving her for dead. That is until Julie gave Winston a note confessing her love for him. Suddenly a romantic connection linked their stories leading them to an unfortunate end. Without this romantic affiliation there would be no 1984.
Winston and Julie’s relationship wasn’t wholeheartedly love. It was based on rebellion rather than emotion. We learn this when the two sneak off to a forest out of town, far from telescreens and microphones. Julie was an experienced guide. She had done this all before and knew the exact place and time for Winston to meet her so they could have some privacy. She was an expert and Winston was her student.
Soon Winston found a place closer to home to spend time with Julie. It became a second home to them. A place they could trust and that was void of a telescreen. They could have sex, take a nap, enjoy some tea or coffee, and just be together in their little rebellion. It was perfect to them, but that was about to change.
In their rebellion, Winston and Julie joined what they thought to be the brotherhood, the organization focused on revolting against Big Brother. It was an error on their judgement. While together in their safe haven, the two began to read the brotherhood’s book. They were found out and taken away to a prison. There, Winston and Julia were separated.
Days, weeks, possibly even months pass before Winston is taken to room 101. Here he begins conforming, in other words he begins to lose his love/lust for Julie. They return Winston to his cell and while dreaming he calls out Julia’s name. This convinces the reader that he may actually love her. He’s concerned for her and that is enough to get Winston sent back to room 101.
Rather than torture with pain they used Winston’s worst fear: rats. Between fear and love, fear is much stronger. Winston denounces his love for Julia and blames everything on her. He conforms and so his rebellious ways are done. He is soon released and sees Julia again. Seeing Julia leads him to a painful realization; she must have denounced him as well. This is the moment all his love is lost. Any hope for his rebellious spirit coming back is broken. Now he only loves Big Brother.
Winston and Julie’s love was rebellion. The longer they were together the stronger their free spirits became. By losing love they both conformed to Big Brother’s standards. Broken hearts meant broken spirits. Had there been no love story in 1984 there would be no story period.
Nazi Germany and Communist Russia in George Orwell’s 1984
George Orwell’s powerful and innovative novel, 1984, written in 1948, has been strongly influenced by the context of that time period. It makes an unavoidable comment on the damaging effects of totalitarianism, and illustrates how it adversely effects the society by mirroring the political change that was apparent, and highlighting what the future will become if ruled by tyranny. The context the time period 1984 was written in; more specifically that of Nazi Germany and Communist Russia, as well as a more modern context; more specifically North Korea and the new presidency in America, has enabled me to gain a higher understanding of the texts ideas of manipulation and power, and the harsh warning Orwell was giving about the future of the world under totalitarianism.
The 1930’s saw the rise in power for Nazi Germany, and the events that followed it has greatly influenced my understanding of Totalitarianism, and allowed me to fully realise the strong theme of power and manipulation that is present in the novel. During the proceedings of Nazi Germany, a common occurrence was the burning of books to prevent the spread of knowledge amongst the people. This has allowed me to fully understand the harmful effect of The Party’s constant changing in history to prevent a political uproar among the common people, and keep the loyal and inline. O’Brian states “He who controls the past controls the future” illustrating how the manipulation of history has been done to maintain and grow the Party’s hold on power, just as Nazi Germany used manipulation to continue and grow their power. Many tactics used by Hitler is seen being used by Big Brother in 1984. This includes; The manipulation of languages, anti-sex regimes, rations, and most importantly- the constant monitoring of the people through intimidating and fear inducing figures. 1984 used the Thought Police as a reflection of Nazi Germany using the Nazis. These comparisons, and the context it provides, illustrates to me that the key idea of 1984 was to warn people of the dangers of a totalitarian society, and the impact it would have on the world.
Before writing 1984, George Orwell acted as a police officer in Russia. There, he witnessed many horrors that eventually led him to writing a novel warning the world of what the future entailed. This understanding of context has allowed me to recognise the idea of control and power presented in the novel. The 1930’s saw a rise in technology used for monitoring a societies every move. It was used to enable the Government to have full control over the people, as they were constantly watched. This is directly reflected in 1984, by the use of telescreens to monitor Winston, as well as the rest of the Party Members 24/7. Winston states “The telescreen with its never-sleeping ear. They could spy upon you night and day, but if you kept your head you could still outwit them” this illustrates how far the government was prepared to go to have complete control over the entirety of the population. During the 1930’s in Russia, approximately 78% of the money was held by 2% of the population. This is reflected in 1984, by the stark differences in classes- the proles, who have nothing, the outer party who have a little, and the inner party who own everything. This context enables me to realise the idea of class, as well as how money- or more specifically the lack of, can be used to control a population and increase ones power. The context of 1930’s Russia allows me to compare and contrast values and attitudes of a real totalitarian government with that of the fake one in 1984, enabling me to clearly see the idea that totalitarian must be destroyed at all costs.
Despite 1984 being written in 1948, it IS still possible, as well as plausible to compare the ideas presented in the text with the context of our modern society to gain a greater understanding of the text. Currently the world is at a constant threat of a nuclear war with North Korea, and must watch as the human values and attitudes of America a torn down and replaced with the inhumane and dictator like ones being believed by the new president Donald Trump. America is beginning to transition into a Nazi like super power and turn into a totalitarian government. The values and attitudes of Trump allow me to realise the key ideas of manipulation of language and power presented in 1984. The meaning of the character Julie is magnified when compared to the current values of America. She is only prepared to fight for her own pleasure rather than for the well-being of other people, and this is a reflection of the beliefs of the current American people. Winston States “you’re only a rebel from the waist”, down illustrating Julius selfish nature and coupled with current events allow me to recognise the idea of false hope and selfishness of a population presented in 1984. The totalitarian like government present in both North Korea and America have enabled for the idea of the harmful effect of totalitarianism on a population to become apparent, as well as how power and language is manipulated in the novel 1984.
1984 is a novel that hints at the decay of the future under the rule of totalitarianism governments. It is a comment on totalitarianism and highlights the fall of society if we succumb to it. 1984 was inspired by the political context of Nazi Germany and Russia, and is still able to be used to make a common and dictatorship in tyranny in our more modern Society. The use of old and new context has enabled me to understand the texts ideas of manipulation and power and it’s apparent warning about the future of the world under the rule of totalitarianism.
The Genre of Dystopia in Nineteen Eighty-Four and The Hunger Games
Are there frequent reoccurrences of motifs and or themes found throughout dystopian literature that can be considered ‘classical dystopian’? To quote Mourby, “as long as human beings have been able to conceive of the future they seem to have been able to imagine things turning out badly”. In the nature of mankind, it seems that for every optimistic tendency, there is a counter balance. Whether that counter is one of satire or one of great concern depends on the outlook of the author expressing the piece. These counters are often portrayed in literature as a way of passing down the thought and fears of those alive at the time. These tales written in a cautious fear of the future are referred to as “Dystopian” or that the characters are living in a “dystopia”. The root of the word “dystopia” comes from “dys – and – topia –from the Greek for ‘bad’ and ‘place’ and so we use the term to describe an unfavorable society” (Adams).
However just because a society may seem in a conventional sense of “bad” it does not inherently mean post-apocalyptic. St. John the Divine, often referred to as the first great dystopian, “devoted eighteen chapters of his revelation to the day of judgement when the seventh seal is broken” (Mourby). In this revelation he speaks of awful acts happening to mankind in the future such as storms of fire and hell. This fear of what is to come is very much in line with the concerns of dystopian works. However relevant, dystopian literature does not always have to reflect such catastrophic outcomes. It can simply be “characterized as fiction that presents a negative view of the future of society and mankind” (Chung).
Often a major component of creating a dystopian society is due to the government imposing upon the natural rights of its citizens. In these societies, things have become controlled and restricted. Dystopian to their core, these societies then pass themselves off as being a “Utopia” or a society in which everything is perfect. Every era in mankind’s existence has had some form of authority present, and someone in contrast to critique them. Because of these commonalities, certain parallels can be drawn throughout dystopian literature. Three of the most influential aspects of a classical dystopian novel – control over an oppressed people, a rebel protagonist that intends to topple the oppressor, and finally the critiquing of social norms or ideologies most prevalent during the author’s life – are exemplified in the novels Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell, and The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.
First and foremost, there are several distinctive features that can constitute the dystopian subgenre. The Greek routes for dystopia translate into “bad place”. The dystopian world or society that is often written about is one that has the government in controls something that is often seen as an inherent right or something that is ideally available. What truly distinguishes a dystopia is the point of view of any given person. For example, a society where the creation of babies is not allowed could be considered dystopian if an individual desires a child. However, to another person who does not wish to have children would view this rule as irrelevant to their life. Often times “this oppression frequently is enacted by a totalitarian or authoritarian dictator” (Adams) wherein one person has total rule of a vast majority. However, there are several others including “corporate, bureaucratic, technological, moral control” that a society can use to oppress its citizens, (Chung).
The coincidence that dystopian novels often take place in apocalyptic settings is only so that the government can easily control the populous, where the “mastery of nature” occurs. In this the scenery is so harsh that it has “become barren or turns on humankind” (Chung), making life outside of where the governments control unlivable. Living standards are often determined by whatever the government needs of its citizens. This can be done by “the mandatory division of people into castes or groups with specialized functions” (Chung) in a “divide and conquer” method. If the multiple groups are kept separate then there is a divide in society, making it easier for the government to regulate uprisings and other acts of rebellion from their dominions. The predicting of such bleak events of the future draws on the individual’s “fewer that humans would become reduced to cogs in a social machine” (Mourby). In this machine, the ruling body handicaps its members by withholding information, and making information uneasily attainable. What furthers this divide amongst the public is the result of citizens being kept in the dark.
However, the masquerading of these political powers as being benevolent causes the public to become volatile and seek an end to their oppression. These uprisings can be against the government or can simply turn into an anarchical state in which chaos ensues. For many dystopian novels, the plot revolves around a sole protagonist and the struggles that the protagonist face throughout the work(s). Additionally, “in a dystopian story, society itself is typically the antagonist” (Adams) attempting to stop the progress of the protagonist. This protagonist often “feels trapped and is struggling to escape” (Chung) from the oppression in under they live. They at times can see through the so-called “veil” the government projects, to see the truth that they are hiding. Once this is seen by the character becomes curious, they begin to internally ask questions about the morality of the society in which they are in. Another trait that these protagonists have is the development of a love interest. This love interest can often times be the downfall or the success of their cause. To free themselves, their families, and the ones they love, they attempt to expose the hidden flaws to the public in hopes to incite a rebellion. The outcome of these exposures potentially lead to the protagonist becoming a martyr, but can alternatively free the people.
One of the crucial parts found in dystopian literature is the critiquing of a social norm, or prediction of the future that the author sees. Often times dystopian literatures comment on such topics “makes it ‘the zeitgeist of the times’” (Ames 3). The author writes these pieces as a social commentary to expose the truth or open their reader’s eyes to a new perspective. An author decides what is to be vilified and what is to be heralded as the morally just. Often times authors will not agree with a certain government or ruling that they witness during their lifetimes. They then will affiliate a character with “no depth, vulnerability, history, or context that acts as a foil for the protagonist” in their story to that particular side (Spisak). That aligned character then becomes the villain to oppress the citizens of a given setting by using propaganda, or even monitoring. However, dystopias can be written with less serious connotations, as they can simply address minor issues such as reality television or a new social fad. Even though the pages are fiction, in some way they connect to the real world situations during which they were written.
Comparison of Novels
In light of these revelations of dystopian characteristics, one such novel that seemingly follows these guidelines is Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell. The novel is set in the dreary post-apocalyptic nation of Oceania, in what was once London, now Airstrip-One. The scenery is a “gray, gritty, depressing London of shortages, inconvenience, ruined buildings and occasional rocket bombs” (Gardner) wherein the government is in total control of everyday life. For this reason, famous publisher Frederic Warburg stated “This is amongst the most terrifying books I have ever read” (Gardner). In many falsehoods, the nation of Oceania has been at war for much of its existence, with a constantly changing enemy and ally. War has simply become a “constant fact of daily life” (Agathocleous) for party members and proles alike found scattered throughout the city. The novel follows the protagonist Winston Smith, and chronicles his day-to-day life navigating the painfully mundane.
Correspondingly, the novel The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins also follows similar structure found in a classic dystopian work. The novel now takes place in the war ravaged and starving nation of Panem. Prior to the formation of this country, the nation of Panem was known as The United States of America. Likewise, to Nineteen Eighty-Four, the totalitarian government, centered in ‘the Capitol’ run by President Snow, antagonizes the novel. While the citizens may have somewhat more freedom than those in Oceania, life is still far from ideal. It is described as “a narrative that shows young people competing to the death against each other” (Garrett) wherein twenty-three adolescents are broadcast to be murdered every year. Issued by the government, the Hunger Games are the government’s solution for public penance for previous rebellions. The storyline follows one such young girl, named Katniss, and her perilous task at overthrowing the government and surviving the games.
The control of the government in Nineteen Eighty-Four is so absolute, that it dictates how each individual lives his or her life down to the amount of exercise they receive in the morning. Workers are issued various rations for things in their lives to sustain them. Such things rationed varied from toiletries to even a weekly chocolate ration. Direct lies are given to the people as reported in the book, “The Ministry of Plenty promised that there would be no reduction of the chocolate ration. Actually the chocolate ration was to be reduced from thirty grammes to twenty grammes” (Orwell 36). However, this instance of rationing supplies is not the only liberty the government robs in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Another such way the government sees to dictate the public is by the degradation of sex. In the novel such organizations such as the “Junior Anti-Sex League” which works to maintain the overall abstinence of the nation. To quote Winston, ‘Sexual intercourse was to be looked on as a slightly disgusting minor operation, like having an enema.’ (Orwell 65) wherein sexual acts are done for procreation exclusively.
In similar fashion to the lies about rations, the government provides many deceptions in numerous instances. As previously stated, war has simply become a fact of everyday life. However, places such as the Ministry of Truth work to “support the Party by publishing lies that cover up the states abusive methods” (Agathocleous 91), by falsifying documents change the past. Therefore, every so often, the enemy of Oceania will change to one of the other two super powers in the world, and documents will be forged to state that Oceania had always been at war with the power they feuded with. Because of this, no regular citizen can validate what is fact and what is fabrication made by the state. One such major occurrence brought up, is the creation of a historical figure for boost in morale. Given the special Order of Conspicuous Merit, Second Class, the exploits of Comrade Oglivy were broadcast to all of Airstrip One. Even though he had never existed, “he would exist just as authentically, and upon the same evidence, as Charlemagne or Julius Caesar” (Orwell 48).
In comparison, in The Hunger Games the government has a significant control over the population, however the major focus in this novel is on food. Food is rationed throughout Panem’s twelve districts, but it is far from sufficient to sustain a single person, let alone the families present. The twist on this form of rationing is that there is a lottery system known as “The Reaping” where an individual between the ages of twelve and eighteen are allowed to enter as many times as they want, for a chance of more food. However, what comes along with this is an even higher chance of being chose for the annual sport of killing known as the Hunger Games, wherein two children, one male and one female, are chosen from each district to compete. They are then pitted against one another to the death in an arena broadcast to the entire nation “so that those they love can have enough to eat” (Garrett). The purpose of these games is “the Capitol’s way of reminding us how totally we are at their mercy” (Collins 20).
Moreover, to keep the citizens in a desperate mindset for food, hunting has been deemed illegal and the wilderness is fenced off. Fenced off for the purpose of “keeping the flesh-eaters out of District 12” (Collins 5) it also prevents the citizens inside of the fencing to venture out and seek out other food options. Law that no one should exit this fencing is maintained by a brutal police force ironically referred to as the “peacekeepers.” However, some serve as direct foils to this law and escapes through the fence when it is not electrified, to hunt game like squirrels and deer. The vigilante hunters act another source of food in hopes that some do not have to risk their lives, but do not make much impact. Because most in districts with higher numbers are poor, they are forced to enter their names multiple times into the reaping, in hopes of earning enough food to provide for their families.
In addition to the rationing of foods and lying, the citizens of Oceania in Nineteen Eighty-Four are prohibited from leaving the nation, and are not encouraged to mingle amongst the caste system. Separated for the tasks of doing jobs Oceania consists of the Inner Party, the Outer Party, and the Proles. The Inner Party is “limited to six million, or something less than two percent of the population of Oceania” (Orwell 208) and functions as the brain of the government under Big Brother. The Inner Party wields the majority of the power, while constituting the smallest group, capable of sending secret police known as the Thought Police silence uprisings and potential threats to Big Brother. Then the Outer Party works in the various ministries. They are “made harmless by allowing them to rise” (Orwell 209) through the ranks, however always being excluded from the upper echelon of decision-making. Finally, there are the Proles who are seen as lesser, composing the vast majority of the people. As Orwell stated “Animals and Proles are free” signifying the level at which they are held in the eyes of Party members.
Similarly, the citizens of Panem, suffer from the district system in which large chunks of the nation are divided, under the dominion of the Capitol. Kept separate for fear of rebellion and also divided to serve their direct function. Various districts have “principal industry” such as “District 11, agriculture. District 4, fishing. District 3, mining” (Collins 66). In this same way that the districts serve purposes, they also earn a ranking amongst the caste system. The higher the district, the lower their social ranking and wealth with District 12 being the poorest. The hierarchy begins with the Capitol where the rich live and the governing body, President Snow resides. The Capitol profits all materials collected by the districts, so that they may live their lavish lifestyles.
To act as the foil to the all-powerful government in Nineteen Eighty-Four, Winston Smith is a thirty-nine-year-old worker of the Outer Party, working to serve Big Brother and the Party. Working for the Ministry of Truth, his job is to “support the Party by publishing lies that cover up the state’s abusive methods” (Agathocleous 91) where he assists the party and their fallacies by forging and replacing documents day in day out. However, Winston as an example protagonist feels trapped and wishes to escape the status quo and live a life of sex and enjoyment. One day at work, he encounters a younger girl whom dresses in the Junior Anti-Sex League sash. Upon further rendezvous with the woman, it is revealed that her name is Julia, and that she too hates the government. Julia functions as Winston’s love interest for the duration of the book. Together Winston and Julia attempt to join an underground group, The Brotherhood, dedicated to overthrowing the Party and Big Brother. Through deceit from fellow Party member O’Brien, Winston and Julia meet their demise and are convicted of their wrong doings. They are taken to Room 101 where there is “the worst thing in the world” (Orwell), where finally Winston Smith meets one of the true protagonist outcomes, and becomes the martyr. Forced to “love Big Brother”, Winston fails to end the dystopian government he attempted to stop.
Likewise, the protagonist of The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen, seeks to be freed from the bindings of her unfair government. Upon the day of the Reaping and her sister, Prim, are entered into the annual drawing. Katniss is a sixteen-year-old girl from District 12 from the part of “the Seam, usually crawling with coal miners” (Collins 4). Upon Prim being chosen to enter the games, Katniss instead volunteers and takes her place as tribute. Throughout the novel Katniss refuses to follow the rules the Capitol sets forth for her, whether that be in training, or during the games themselves. A bond is formed between Katniss and the male from her District, Peeta Mellark, so that they have a better chance at survival. However, Peeta soon becomes the functioning love interest for the protagonist that assists on her journey. After surviving the carnage that occurred in the games and angering the Capitol by not playing the game, Katniss seemingly wins alongside Peeta. This is true until the game makers go back on a previously stated rule allowing both to win. In a final act of defiance Katniss attempts suicide with Peeta as she recalls, “The berries have just passed my lips when the trumpets begin to blare” (Collins 345). Frantically the government, rather the games end in suicide, declare both Peeta and Katniss victors, and thus Katniss becoming a symbol of hope among the public known as the Mockingjay. This leads to the eventual downfall of the tyrant President Snow. Katniss Everdeen succeeds as a protagonist, where Winston Smith fails.
Real World Events
Continuing in the fashion of dystopian characteristics, Nineteen Eighty-Four was written by George Orwell to reflect the current events and his own personal views. Written in 1949, a year still recovering from the savagery of Second World War, Orwell commented on those ideologies favored by the Axis Powers. All of Orwell’s “serious work had been written directly, or indirectly against totalitarianism and democratic socialism” (Gardner 63), including Nineteen Eighty-Four. For this reason, the oppressors in the novel often relate to real world systems or people. To attack a major instance of totalitarianism, Orwell took aim at the Fascist regimes growing in Europe at the time. The government was “to be reproduced almost exactly in the novel” (Gardner 109) to show the public the threat Orwell felt they presented. Orwell himself once “described Nineteen Eighty-Four as “a satire”” (111 Gardner) of the political views he did not agree with. A parallel between the government in the novel and real world was the total worship of a leader. Another target Orwell took aim at was the Communist leader Joseph Stalin, who had ruled Russia with an iron fist of totalitarianism. Orwell portrayed Stalin’s own actions of falsifying history to suit his agenda in similar fashion to the Ministry of Truth’s primary function.
Coupled with real life events in Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Hunger Games is also tied to real events as a true dystopian work. Collins penned the novel in very recent year 2008, thus most of the comments she makes are still relevant in current times. During the time in which she authored the novel the United States was experiencing financial hardships. To reflect this she sought for The Hunger Games to be “a powerful metaphor for the Great Recession” (Garrett), the event which drastic economic decline happened in December of 2007. While slowly recovering from the recession, another point Collins makes is more of the social aspect. Suzanne Collins “intended The Hunger Games to satirize our culture, where we watch ‘real life’ on TV” (Garrett). With multitudes of television networks devoted solely to the idea of reality television, and on air personalities, Collins attempts to expose that there is a problem with this. She highlights this with having the characters in her story fight to the death in a cruel battle for food, and then having it broadcast as a spectacle. The concept stems from the idea that “if the people are entertained, they are less likely to rise up” (Garrett), implying that the ways in which we are being entertained is to sedate the public for compliance.
In the final analysis, the novels Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins exhibit characteristics of “classical” dystopian literature. They show these in the various examples of a corrupt government rationing a certain supply, being divided by caste system, and by relating to current events at the time in which they were written. The significance of the presence of these traits is that it shows there actually is a format that is often followed by dystopian literature that does not depend on time. The two novels cross-examined in the findings of this paper possess a time difference of almost sixty years between releases. Yet, there are still very prominent parallels between both their plots, and governments. What can be said about these parallels is that “dystopian fiction seems to answer a need in us that goes deeper than any response” (Mourby) that we actually enjoy to contemplate these fictions.
Additionally, through the investigation of this paper it is clear that “such narratives play upon unresolvable fears from reality” (Ames), and those fears which go to the core of humanity, is the fear of being stripped of one’s free will. Those fears are exacerbated when situations turn gruesome politically, financially, or even socially. Just as fears of the Second World War brought a flow of dystopian novels forth during its time period, so too did fears of war and recession in more recent times. When concerns grow, authors feel the need to warn others of imminent threats or potential paths that humankind could take that would ultimately be negative. The dystopian subgenre serves as the public’s escape from realties they are afraid of and cannot defeat singlehandedly.
Subjective Truth And Abuse Of Power in The Crucible By Arthur Miller And Nineteen Eighty-Four By George Orwell
A composer utilises representation to offer insights into the complex relationships between people and their governing political authority. The political actions that individuals or groups undertake are conducted so that by the end of their feat they have seized control of a society or a group of people. The tools that aid these political actions are subjective truth and abuse of power. Often authority figures mould the truth to suit an individual’s needs. Placing the power of one’s self over that of another’s can ensure that moral and ethical values are overlooked. This idea is represented in both Arthur Miller’s dramatic allegory “The Crucible” (1952) which explores the political and social ramifications of the McCarthy Era when the widespread fear of communism rose mid 20th cenutry and George Orwell’s dystopian novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” (1949), which reflects upon the rise and fall of Communism and Fascism in Europe and warning of a world run by two of three superstates. Both composers highlight how subjective truth and power can be used as tools in political actions to seize or maintain control over a society.
Miller uses the events in “The Crucible” to represent how the perceived truth of a situation can insight chaos within a society. Miller parallels the Salem witch trials to the McCarthy trials and the ‘Red Scare’ that plagued America throughout the 1950’s. His representation of the witch trials shows the dangers of political authority especially the manipulation of mass hysteria for gain. Upon the suspicion of Abigail that one of her girls “means to tell” she utilises the motif of darkness “I will come for you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you…” to ensure that the real truth of the situation does not make it’s way out. The perceived truth of Giles’s wife Martha made Giles have a “stoppage in prayer” whilst she was doing “readin’ of strange books” is seen to have been used by Reverend Hale to begin the hysteria of the witch trials as it is seen later on in the play that Martha is arrested for witchcraft and has Giles pleading “They be tellin’ lies about my wife”. Furthermore the manipulation of truth is seen at the end of act one when Abigail and her girls gain a seat of power amongst the town by lying to Hale through the Anaphora “I saw Bridget Bishop with the devil! I saw George Jacobs with the devil! I saw Goody Sibber with the devil! I saw Alice Barrow with the devil!” This is how it is seen that through the manipulation of the perceived truth of a situation can gain an individual power in a society whilst also inciting chaos.
Orwell, in “1984” analyses how the manipulation of truth in a society can mean that certain parties can seize control over the society. The party organises for the past to be changed to fit the needs of ‘Big Brother’, which is depicted in the Parties slogan “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past”. This is a massive emphasise throughout the novel as the Party and ‘Big Brother’ are constantly trying to maintain control over the nation of Oceania. They rely upon the notion of “reality control” which in Newspeak is called “doublethink”. The extent of the Parties manipulation is expressed through Winston’s thoughts “If all records told the same tale- then the lie passed into history and became truth”, “Whatever was true now was true was true from everlasting to everlasting”. Furthermore, the extent of manipulation of truth is expressed through the imagery of the “memory holes”, “When one knew that any document was due for destruction… it was an automatic action to lift the flap of the nearest memory hole and drop it in”. The clear description of the “automatic action” conveys how it had been etched into the brains of Winston and his fellow workers to not worry about the documents they were destroying, even if they had an indication that their whole life was covered by a blanket made of lies provided by the party and ‘Big Brother’. Also, the extent of control that the party has created through there manipulation is seen through the imagery “Everything faded away into a shadow-world in which, finally, even the date of the year had become uncertain. ” The citizens in Oceania have no real certainty with their records of history due to the Parties control and so now the citizens are even having to question their own memories and wonder if they are the truth or not. This is how Orwell is able to describe that the manipulation of truth in a society can guarantee that an individual or party of people can gain control over that society. Miller represents the idea of power in “The Crucible” as a means to control how a society functions, and achieves this through the characterisation of Danforth. Danforth is first introduced in the play as a powerful deputy that demands results, “…near to four hundred are in the jails from Marblehead to Lynn, and upon my signature?” Danforth further expresses the power that he holds through the imagery “We burn a hot fire here; it melts down all concealment”, this shows how his court will see through all lies and also links to the title of the play “The Crucible”. Miller later on asserts the authority of Danforth through his dialogue “a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it” where as he speaks about the “court” he does also mean himself as an individual. However, although Danforth may appear to control the main power within the play, the true power actually resides with Abigail. Earlier on in act 2 the dialogue of Marry Warren “Four judges and the King’s deputy sat to dinner with us about an hour ago. ”, explains how Abigail and her group of girls have received so much power due to their ‘confessions’ that they are given a relatively high seat in the town. Also later on in Act 3 Abigail has become so powerful that she openly gives a threat towards Danforth “Let you beware, Mr Danforth. Think you to be so mighty that the power of hell may not turn your wits? Beware of it!”, she is able to threaten the deputy governor of the entire provence without negative consequences. Miller also uses imagery of “rising in her rags” in act 4 to demonstrate the effect of what happens to a person when they lose their power in a society. It is through these representations that Miller is able to convey how power is a means to control how a society functions.
Similarly, Orwell represents the idea of power in “1984” as a way of keeping society in check, and ensuring that any wisp of rebellion against the ruling factions becomes destroyed. Power is firstly showcased a the beginning of the novel through the imagery “… the posters that were plastered everywhere… BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU… while the dark eyes looked deep into Winston’s own”, the totalitarian power that is the party seeks to exert influence over its constituents by conveying the message that it is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. Furthermore the repetition of the slogan of the Party throughout the novel “War is peace, Freedom is slavery, Ignorance is strength” further reinforces the methods used by a totalitarian power to exert its influence over its constituents. Orwell uses the “Thought Police” to also extend the power that the party holds. They move about the citizens of Oceania ensuring that the peace is kept, however if a citizen was to become subversive, the thought police would ensure that they “disappeared, always through the night… your one time existence denied… vaporised was the usual word” this allows the Party to maintain control over the Oceania society. Through these representations Orwell is able to describe how the ownership of Power allows an individual or group of people to keep a society in check.
Representation in a text allows composers to explore the complex relationship between people and politics. Arthur Miller’s dramatic allegory “The Crucible” and George Orwell’s dystopian novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” explore how the ideas of truth and power can be used as tools for political actions that are conducted by a party or an individual to take control of a society.
Review Of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four And Its Relation to Modern Life
Nineteen Eighty-Four is a very special book in my opinion. Even though it was published in 1949, the book was foreshadowing our society today. Obviously today’s government isn’t as strict as it was in the book, but it’s still very similar to the books government. The governments are very similar in the fact that our every move is being watched. With how advanced technology is today, it’s almost no work for the government to know everything people do. For example, all these apps that have those long rules you have to accept before you can use the app just take all our information and sell it to whoever they please. Our text messages are being watched by random people we don’t know.
Whatever we think was just supposed to be between us and our friends is between many other people we don’t know. Now a days when I open a website about basketball all my ads are about NBA or other basketball related things. Of course we could stay away from these apps or technology devices that take our information, but it’s almost impossible in today’s society. How can you stay off an iPhone when everyone else has one, and if you don’t have one you’ll be left behind. If all your friends are on Snapchat and you want to stay in touch with them you have to get the app. All these reasons are why Nineteen Eighty-Four foreshadowed how we’d be living life today. Your every move is being monitored by the “Big Brother” and to add unto that you can’t avoid being monitored either. Even when Winston thought he was outsmarting the system and hiding he was wrong, Big Brother was still watching him. This links with the fact that even when we think if we stay off all these apps and devices where safe.
In reality, if you go into public there’s usually cameras and once again you’re being watched. Every single place you go is being watched whether you like it or not. One of the ways Nineteen Eighty-Four changed my view is the way I act when using devices. I know at any moment all my inmost secrets could be leaked to the world. Now that I know my information could be shared at any moment, I’m extra careful with what I say over a device. I make sure to save the most important discussions for real life. In general, the book has put a little bit of fear and paranoia in my mind. I double check every move I make. I always wondering if I’m being monitored what do they use the information for. The book has put unanswerable questions in my head.
The Power Of Technology in “Brave New World” By Aldous Huxley And “Nineteen Eighty-Four” By George Orwell
Both the Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, the populace are manipulated and controlled with the use of technology, however the power of technology is portrayed differently in the two novel. In the novel Brave New World, technology and medication is used in order to control human reproduction, while in Nineteen Eighty-Four technology is used to control human consciousness. Both novels reveal that through the use of technology, human are dehumanized in to objects rather than subjects, this is especially the case in the Brave New World where human are transformed into objects passively.
In Brave New World, the technology control method limits people’s imagination and creativity indirectly. After every birth, new born babies are further conditioned by the nurses. This is illustrated when the Director leads his students into the Nurseries to examine the process. First, “the nurse set out books and bowls of roses in a long row across the floor”. They later brought in the babies, and they crawled with squeals of excitement towards the rose flowers and books. When this happened, a nurse pressed down a little lever on a switchboard and “a siren shrieked, alarm bells maddeningly sounded”. This suggests human are physically manipulated in order to prevent them from developing emotional connection to their surroundings. In other words, human are prevented from developing critical thinking and independence, thus everyone passively accepts their living conditions. Furthermore, sleeping education are used to teach children in a dormitory where the sleep with repeated sentences broadcasted. For instance, the Director is very excited to say “Till at last the child’s mind is these suggestions, and the sum of the suggestions is the child’s mind”. This indicates that they are forced to accept an abnormal life prospects where they are presented with a limited perspective of the world.
In Nineteen Eighty-Four, technology is used to create an environment where people’s emotions can be controlled. The relevant technology used for control is the telescreen. The telescreen “received and transmitted simultaneously”, which cannot be turned off, has the power to monitor someone movements and issue orders to people to correct people behavior. Also telescreen is used by police where people’s every move is monitored, “in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and except in darkness, every movement scrutinized”. This demonstrates that the populace lives in a society where authority and order is never questioned. In addition, technology is used to devastate human’s minds and bodies. This is shown when O’Brien said,
“How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?”
And if the party says that it is not four but five – then how many?
The word ended in a gasp of pain”.
O’Brien uses pain to inflict a sense of fear in people. As O’Brien increases the pain, at the end Winston agrees with O’Brien that he is holding up five fingers, even though he knows that O’Brien is holding up only four – he agrees that anything O’Brien wants him to believe is right. In Room 101, O’Brien straps Winston to a chair, then fixed Winston’s head so that he cannot move. He tells Winston that Room 101 is “the worst thing in the world” and informs him that rats are on the other side of the wall. O’Brien picks up a cage full of huge, squirming rats and places it near Winston. When O’Brien presses a lever, the door will slide up, and the rats will leap onto Winston’s face and eat it. Moreover, Winston said “Tear her face off, strip her ti the bones. Not me! Julia! Not me!”. The rats are the most horrible thing for Whiston, in the face of his greatest fear, Julia was finally betrayed by Winston. O’Brien, very happy by this betrayal, and then he removes the cage.
Furthermore, comparison between the two novels demonstrate that technology is the most effective tool in controlling people and tricking people in to the ideal of utopian society. In Brave New World, embryo manipulation can make everyone satisfied with their lives without questioning the rules. Thus human desire and greed are controlled in order to prevent disorder. Also, human are objectified into reproduction machines without emotion and desire. As an outsider, John who is from the savage area starts to question the authority. He cannot bear with the deprivation of freedom and independence, in the end chooses to end his life. On the other hand, in Nineteen Eighty-Four, physical torture is enforced on the protagonist Winston. He lives in a society where all kinds of torture methods are used to make everyone obey the Big Brother. However, physical obedience is not enough, one must consciously admire the Big Brother. In the end, Winston is successfully manipulated and consciously obeys the Big Brother. In contrast, the protagonist John, from Brave New World chooses suicide with his own conscious will.
In the end, both novels portray the uses of different technologies for controlling and manipulating people. Control and manipulation are used for prevention of disorder. Without human consciousness and desire, conflict is unlikely to develop in society. In Brave New World, technology is used as a tool for people to develop reliance on technology starting at birth, while in Nineteen Eighty-Four, technology is used brutalized into violence to control everyone’s mind. People are monitored everywhere, and prevented from developing critical thinking. Thus, they will not question authority, and order, the Big Brother becomes the unquestionable ruler. In comparison, technology is used for effectively in Brave New World, where the use of the drug soma provides instant satisfaction to control the populace starting at birth. People are completely controlled by technology. The State does not allow people to think or behave independently. Although this method is violating the law of nature, it is an undoubtedly useful one.
Chapter 3 Summary Of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four
Chapter three begins with Winston dreaming of his mother. His mother was a “tall statuesque woman” who had disappeared when Winston was ten or eleven years old. His father was similar to his mother, he was also hard to remember. Winston remembered that he’d always worn neat dark clothes, glasses, and was thin.
Winston’s parents were killed in the first great purge during the 1950s. His younger sister was a baby when he last saw or remembered her. In the memory, like dream, he knew that his sister and mother had been sacrificed for his life. His mother had died around thirty years ago, where at the time he could perceive tragedy and sorrow that was no longer possible. “Tragedy, he perceived, belonged to the ancient time, to a time when there were still privacy, love, and friendship, and when members of a family stood by one another without needing to know the reason.” His mother had died when he was young and selfish. His dream shifted to a “rabbit-bitten” field in the summer evening he named the Golden Country. He questioned whether or not he had seen it before since it recurred in his dreams so often. The girl with the dark hair he had seen before was there. His dream was disrupted by the whistling on the telescreen.
The Physical Jerks were going to begin soon, where the people of Oceania participated in a routine exercise. Before Winston could start the activity he was doubled over on the ground due to a coughing fit, making it nearly impossible to breathe. Winston recovered in time for the instructor of The Physical Jerks to call him to attention. Winston thought of his childhood and what had happened before the rise of Big Brother but didn’t have much luck. He couldn’t remember a time when Oceania wasn’t at war. Winston remembered when an air raid attacked his city, forcing his family and city into the Tube station under the city. The war Oceania fought in 1984 was against Eurasia, with an alliance with Eastasia. He could not remember anything vividly past four years ago, “who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” His train of thought was ended when the instructor of the Physical Jerks yelled at them to “stand easy.” As he relaxed, he was consumed by his thoughts on doublethink. Doublethink was “to know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it…” His thoughts on doublethink were disrupted by the instructress. Winston halfheartedly continued the exercises he despised. “Smith!’” screamed the shrewish voice from the telescreen. ‘6079 Smith W.! Yes, YOU! Bend lower, please! You can do better than that. You’re not trying. Lower, please! THAT’S better, comrade. Now stand at ease, the whole squad, and watch me.” Winston broke a sweat as he strained to stretch. The instructress congratulated Winston as he gracelessly did as she asked.