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1984 - Reading Between the Lines

March 15, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 99

1984, was written by Eton-educated democratic socialist George Orwell. Orwell was a great opponent to totalitarian rule and displayed this hatred not only in this novel, but in its sister novel, Animal Farm, which has already been reviewed. Orwell presented his book about the dangers of a totalitarian rule through the eyes of Winston Smith, a disillusioned Outer Party worker, who has seen through the lies that the Party has fed its citizens.

Technological Advances and Psychological Manipulation

Technology is used in 1984 to keep monitor all the citizens of Oceania. Throughout the country telescreens and hidden microphones are present. This limits the citizens freedom and the fear that they are always being watched will prevent the citizens from being themselves. In fact it is stated in the novel that the only time one is truly alone, is when he is sleeping in his bedroom. The large signs dotted around the city with the caption 'Big Brother is Watching You' serves to intimidate the civilians into believing that they are never alone and that they are not safe. Even the slightest facial twitch could alert the Thought Police of their hidden ulterior motives. Also, the citizens of Oceania would have to induct their children into an organisation called 'Junior Spies'. An organisation which encourages children to spy on their parents and, if need be, submit them to the Thought Police if the children believe that their parents have any resentment towards the party.

The Control of History

The main protagonist, Winston Smith, works in the Department of Records in the Outer Party. Due to his work there he recognises many of the lies the Party feed to the public and it is this accumulation of lies that led him to join the rebels. One such lie that it was in his line of work to alter an incredibly sensitive piece of evidence. Three Inner Party members had been accused of consorting with Oceania's enemy at that time, Eurasia, or was it Eastasia? However a photograph on the front cover of the Times (the official and most-likely the only newspaper in Oceania), depicted the three Party members posing for a photograph in Oceania on the same date that, in the trial, they were accused of passing sensitive information to Eurasia. Winston's job, in the Records Department was to alter the data to make it seem like the Party was in the right all along. Winston's job is of the utmost importance. By changing data, from pieces of evidence in a trial to a predicted decrease in chocolate ration, and preventing citizens of Oceania from keeping diaries, the Party controls history. The Party's great skill in changing historical data comes to light when Winston, in an effort to unveil the truth, seeks out trying to see whether life before the rebellion was better than the quality of life now. All books from before the date of the rebellion had been destroyed and the only records about life before the rebellion had been published by the Party and was heavily biased an unreliable. Desperate for the truth, Winston heads out into prole quarters, hoping to find somebody to help him on his quest but he is unsuccessful. Realising the full power that the Party has, Winston Smith is close to surrendering.

Physical Torture

The price for disobeying the Party is physical torture. However as O' Brien, Winston's torturer repeatedly stated, the Ministry of Love's purpose was not to exterminate troublemakers, but to convert them. By using sophisticated instruments of torture the Party can alter reality, ultimately forcing Winston to believe that 2+2=5.


Source: EzineArticles
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