How Power Is Excercised in George Orwelll's 1984

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George Orwell was the pseudonym for Eric Arthur Blair, and he was famous for his personnel vendetta against totalitarian regimes and in particular the Stalinist brand of communism. In his novel, 1984, Orwell has produced a brilliant social critique on totalitarianism and a future dystopia, that has made the world pause and think about our past, present and future, as the situation of 1984 always remains menacingly possible. The story is set in a futuristic 1984 London, where a common man Winston Smith has turned against the totalitarian government. Orwell has portrayed the concepts of power, marginalization, and resistance through physical, psychological, sexual and political control. The way that Winston Smith, the central character, has been created is purely to delve particular emotions from the reader, as he struggles against the totalitarian rule of Ingsoc. The reader is encouraged through Winston to adopt negative thoughts on communist rule and the themes of the dangers of totalitarianism, psychological manipulation and physical control are explored through Winston's journey. Through Winston's resistance and ultimate downfall, the reader is able to fully appreciate O'Briens reasoning, "Power is not a means, it is an end."

The psychological control continually exercised by Ingsoc is essential so that the minority oligarchy can retain power. Orwell demonstrates the importance of surveillance to achieve this goal. The main tool of this is the telescreen, a screen in every room that while constantly displaying party propaganda, it can at any time, transmit the view and sounds of that particular room. This kind of surveillance keeps members in constant fear as they can always be monitored at any time. The telescreen combined with the thought police is the ultimate tool for destroying individual thought, as anything as small as a twitch in the face can give one away: "The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself-anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide." In fact, it is so powerful, that an individual's own nervous system becomes his or her enemy. Orwell also uses the Freudian functions of Repression and sublimation in Ingsoc's mental control over party members. The Two-Minutes hate has been created by the party to encourage members to channel feelings and urges against a common enemy, thus creating a suitable outlet for any unconventional thoughts or desires. Also, Winston, as he becomes more against the party starts to remember things of his childhood his mind no longer represses, as he refuses to accept the party's meaning.

The control of the outer party is essential for the Inner party to retain power, and the systematic thought conditioning that occurs from birth is the key to this. From a very young age, the children become the model citizens of Oceania, with the support of the anti-sex league, the youth league and the spies. This infrastructure encourages the child to seek out enemies of Big brother whilst cementing their position in society, often whilst betraying their own blood; "It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children." The Parson's children, who live next door to Winston constantly accuse him of being a thought-criminal and a traitor, and they are absolutely right. The party has created a form of surveillance that was broken the strong bonds of the family unit and it is true that the there is "no loyalty, except the loyalty of big brother, and no love, except the love for big brother." The systematic control of thought by the party ensures the new generation is completely loyal.

The menacing surveillance that inhabitants of Oceania live under is an allusion to the panopticon idea of Michel Foucault. The panopticon was a prison device which provided the constant daze of one guard over the entire prison. The prisoners...
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