The Life of Winston Smith

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In the book, 1984, George Orwell describes the life of Winston Smith, a resident of Oceania. In Oceania, all the citizens are ruled by fear, brainwashed by slogans, and constantly watched by telescreens that bark orders. Oceania’s citizens have no civil rights. Society is broken up into three different social classes: the Inner Party (the rich); the Party (the middle class); and the Proles (the poor). The Government controls everyone and everything. To even have a thought of questioning the principles of the Inner Party would be a crime. (Orwell). Unlike those fictional Oceanians, we Americans have rights that are guaranteed to us in the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution is basically the supreme law of the land. It has been successfully amended only twenty-seven times since it was drafted in 1787. The first ten of these amendments are known as the Bill of Rights, which gives us important individual liberties (Wilson p. 23). By examining the rights guaranteed to American citizens in Amendments One, Four, and Eight, and by contrasting the lack of civil rights for Oceanian citizens in Orwell’s 1984, the importance of such rights to society become clear. The First Amendment in the Bill of Rights safeguards freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and the right to petition the government (Wilson p 25). These safeguards keep government from interfering in our personal lives. Freedom of religion means that, as Americans, we have the right to choose a religion which best suits out preferences. Our government is not allowed to establish a state religion. We can worship God, or not worship, if we so choose. In Orwell’s Oceania, God was not acknowledged. As Americans, we are free to speak and voice our opinions, even when we are critical of government and our elected leaders. Few constraints are put on our freedom of speech, although the Supreme Court has ruled that we do not have the right, for example, to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater,...
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