Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984) is a masterpiece created by George Orwell. In his novel, the author uses the concept of utopia – a perfect place to live, an excellent society, a place without suffering. In 1984, Orwell shows a technologically advanced world where the terror is used to manipulate people who do not accept the political doctrine. Trying to educate the readers about the results of some political philosophies, he introduces a dystopia. It is a place where people cannot control their lives or do whatever they want, where they live in repression and fear. Orwell suggests the possibility of utopia and very clearly describes the price people should pay to live in a perfect society.
George Orwell wrote the book after the World War II. He wanted to warn his readers, to be confident that the world described in his novel would never come, even though some details were present in the society in Orwell’s time. The author lived in a period where a strict political regime was a reality in many countries, including Soviet Union, Spain, Germany, Italy. The government controlled the citizens’ lives and restricted their freedom. The society of 1984 mirrored the political situation in the countries around him, showing how the government kept an iron fist on its residents. Orwell’s Oceania is a scary society reminding the Stalin’s Soviet Union or Hitler’s Germany. (1) The author’s aim is to show the readers how totalitarianism can negatively affect the human spirit.
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Totalitarian society uses a number of techniques to control the citizens, each one is an essential theme in a book. Among them the psychological manipulation, control of the information, ideas and language, physical supervision. The government tries to restrict the independent thoughts by using the giant telescreens. The citizens constantly hear the stream of propaganda and their behavior is always monitored. Wherever they go, they are reminded that “Big brother is watching you.” (2) The Party also ruins the family structure, brainwashing the children’s minds and making them spy and report on their parents. Besides manipulating the minds, the government also physically controls the citizens. Party members are forced to have the morning exercises and then work at different agencies exhausting people. Those who don’t accept such regime, become the greatest enemies and are punished by tortures.
The government supervises and manages every source of information. The newspapers, magazines and different articles are always rewritten to meet the needs of the Party. Moreover, people are prohibited to write down their thoughts, memories and dreams, to take photographs and keep letters. In result, people cannot remember the important moments for them, and it becomes easy to manipulate their minds. With the help of screens and hidden microphones, citizens can be monitored all the time. Orwell reveals that technology that was always perceived as the development in the right direction, can also be the evil if used not properly.
One of the Orwell’s most significant messages in a book is that language is very important to people. It is essential for formulating ideas and expressing them. The author suggests that if the language was controlled by a political agency, then such agency could make it possible to ruin the rebellious thoughts as there would be no words to think not acceptably. The idea of a language as a controlling force was later used by many writers and critics in their works.
George Orwell is a great world builder and an amazing writer. He presents all elements of the dystopian world in detail and his use of language makes the story more powerful, evoking emotional and intellectual responses from readers. Orwell despised the political leaders and what they did to people in their countries. Big Brother is surely Stalin or Hitler, or both, a real and frightening leader. The author makes a Big Brother so recognizable with one main goal – to show people how totalitarianism can ruin the human essence. 1984 is a compelling story, a must-read for everyone.