The Totalitarian Government In George Orwell’S Novel “1984”
“When you give the government the power to control the money supply, it grows like a tumour until it extinguishes society itself” (Stephen Molyneux). In George Orwell’s novel 1984, it is evident Orwell is trying emphasize the dangers of having a totalitarian government, which can ultimately lead to a future dystopia. The government of 1984, also known as Big Brother, addressed the task of controlling people through two main techniques, fear and manipulation. As time goes on and Oceania’s population increases, the Party keeps on discovering new methods to keep their people under their power.
In the novel The party deploys surveillance, doublethink and newspeak as tactics to manipulate and scare the population to eliminate their freedom to think for themselves. Power itself can have many beneficial factors and isn’t always considered a bad thing, it’s when the power lies in the wrong hands and is combined with abuse and manipulation that a problem arises. Psychological manipulation is like brainwashing in that it wears away the victim’s self-confidence, sense of self-worth, trust in their own perceptions, and self-concept. Eventually, the recipient of the abuse loses all sense of self.
In George Orwell’s 1984 the party strives to maintain control over Oceania, in order to achieve this goal the Party manipulates every source of information, editing and modifying all historical records of the past and creating a new language to refrain from rebellious thoughts. The party is aware that language is a menes of communication, therefore when a language is changed and ones vocabulary is limited, the expression of feeling and ideas is oppressed limiting the ways in which people can express themselves and interpret others. “Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thought crime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it” (Orwell 53).
In the beginning of the novel Winston meets with one of his friends, Syme, in charge of writing the Eleventh edition of Newspeak, during his meeting he elaborates on how the new dictionary weed out words deemed unnecessary and therefore shrink the potential for free thought and emotion in the form of words. Newspeak is aimed to eliminate words like “rebellion” and in time the meaning would be forgotten, changing meanings behind certain words for the Party’s gain. Even In society vocabulary is considered a way to measure intelligence, therefore by eliminating words in the english language, the party can eliminate individual intelligence in people.
With no one having the capability to develop any negative thoughts and challenge the party, they will be unstoppable, maintaining their power and control. People depend on their understanding of history to make judgements about their present. If you could control the past you could control the way people will interpret the present and future. The party recognizes this and uses it as another weapon to manipulate Oceania into thinking Big brother is never wrong. “And so it was with every class of recorded fact, great or small. Everything faded away into a shadow-world in which, finally, even the date of the year had become uncertain” (Orwell).
Winston, the protagonist of the book, is a worker at the record department of the Ministry of Truth which handles all media messages and propaganda. His task is to rewrite historical documents in order to match with Big Brothers ideologies. What is considered yesterday’s history could be changed in a heartbeat if not matched with Bg Brothers words, in which he could never be wrong. Unlike the other citizens of Oceania, Winston slowly comes to the realization that Oceania is under a whole set of manipulation and what is told Big Brothers truth is actually a lie.
The past is always controlled, and modified into something that will strengthen the state not by actual facts that could weaken or destroy it. The truth isn’t based off of real events and facts, the truth is what the government says it is. Unfortunately this is just another way The party edures power and control over Oceania, manipulating and scaring a group of human beings into a group of robots, which are to brainwashed to ever defy Big Brother. Since the moment we were born, society has shaped us on who we are today, in fear of not being an outcast we followed like sheep what others do, how others think and how others feel, we have been trained to think if we don’t fit in we’re bound to get into serious trouble.
In George Orwell’s 1984 the Party implements fear as a weapon to move people to do anything, no matter how nonsensical it is. The party maintains an atmosphere where everyone is under surveillance and is capable of this thanks to the help of Telescreens. The telescreen is designed to monitor every movement and capture every conversation between party members, whether they are at home, work, or in some public place. “Winston kept his back turned to the telescreen. It was safer, though, as he well knew, even a back can be revealing” (Orwell). The citizens of Oceania live in constant fear of being arrested, tortured, or vaporized for plotting against Big Brother. Fear runs so deep in Winston that he fancies that, by turning his back on a telescreen, his rebellious spirit may be sniffed out.
Telescreens control the people and keep them following the Party’s rules by showing them that Big brother is always watching making the chances of someone trying to plot against Big Brother as they fear they will indeed get caught. Unlike our society today, in this novel families are based off of convenience rather than love, reproduction is not pleasant and kids are brainwashed into spying on their parents. The party came up with the theory of Junior spies, to keep an extra eye out for adults who try and plot against big brother. Manipulation and fear are both factors here in which maintain the control of the kids and the parents.
“People simply disappeared, always during the night. Your name was removed from the registers, every record of everything you had ever done was wiped out, and your one-time existence was denied and then forgotten. You were abolished, annihilated: vaporized was the usual word” (Orwell 00). The party manipulates the kids into reporting any slight difference in their parents behaviour, causing the adults to fear blurting something in their sleep and have it heard by the children The amount of fear implanted in 1984 culture enables any consideration of challenging the government system. Without the fear embled in the minds of Oceania, The Party would collapse and all of Big Brothers teaching would be revealed as faux.
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