The Repressive Governments of Zamiatin's We and Orwell's 1984

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The Repressive Governments of Zamiatin's We and Orwell's 1984

By | October 1999
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The Repressive Governments of Zamiatin's We and Orwell's 1984

Benjamin Bulloch

Outline: Thesis: Both Zamiatin's We and Orwell's 1984 have governments that repress actions and thoughts through the use of physical and psychological force.

I. Intro.
II. We's Government's Use of Psychological Force
A. Number system
B. Sexual Registration
III. 1984's Governments Use of Psychological Force
A. Newspeak
B. Doublethink
IV. Both Government's Use of Physical Force
A. Torture of Winston
B. Operation On Fancy
V. Conclusion

Throughout time, people have wondered what happens when government gains complete control not only over people's actions, but over the thoughts that precede them. Is it even possible to gain such omnipotence over human nature that human beings will renounce all individuality? If such a society could exist, would human nature truly be conquered, or just subdued sufficiently that the will of the few could be contorted into the will of the general population? The British author Eric Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, and the Russian born Eugene Zamiatin both attempt to address these questions in their respective books 1984 and We.

These novels depict, ". . . mechanized societies whose citizens are deprived of freedom through physical and psychological conditioning." (Bloom 17) The amazing thing about these civilizations is that the majority of the citizenry, at least publicly, applauds the government's totalitarian actions. Both Zamiatin's We and Orwell's 1984 have governments that repress thought and action through the use of physical and physiological force.

One of the most visible ways the government of the United State is able to control the thought and actions of its citizens is by the use and abuse of a system by which each member of society receives a number at birth...

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