V for Vendetta and 1984 Essay

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“The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now” (56). What is the power of an idea? It implies the existence of thought and awareness, both of which are anathemas to a totalitarian regime. Totalitarian governments function by maintaining tight controls on a vast array of goods, services and information. Often, truth and transparency fall victim to the desire to retain power. Ideas form the basis of plans and plans give rise to actions. Once an idea falls into the hands of a person, it is akin to a loaded gun. Ideas are intangible and therefore, difficult to destroy. The suppression of ideas is a long and difficult process that can be achieved through years of quiet manipulation and subliminal mind control. Preventing certain behaviour can be accomplished through government rules and regulations but this will not be enough to hold a nation totally captive. In the film V for Vendetta, as well as the novel 1984 written by George Orwell, the totalitarian governments aim to restrict most, if not all, aspects of society with a myriad of rules and regulations. Big Brother targeted thoughts and the words used to formulate those thoughts, so as to deprive people of any frame of reference within which to express dissent. 1984 and V for Vendetta are examples of repressive regimes but the government in 1984 proves itself to be more adept at curbing and suppressing reformist ideology before it began. The government in 1984 understood the power of ideas. Ideas form the basis of plans and plans give rise to actions. The Norsefire regime targeted physical opposition, and thus, failed to extinguish dangerous and threatening ideas at the source, leading to its downfall. In the novel 1984, Big Brother prohibited religion and all its symbols in an effort to consolidate and maintain the Party’s authority. In Oceania, the practice of any religion was strictly forbidden. If there were no supreme deity who ruled the universe, then the government’s rule would be seen as paramount and unfettered. In fact, a poet named Ampleforth was jailed for accidentally “allowing the word ‘God’ to remain at the end of a line” of one of his works (242). Implicit in religion and the belief in a deity is the fact that there exists a higher power and therefore mankind is not in complete control of its destiny. The Party’s governance was based on total dominance that was achieved and perpetuated through the elimination of religion and all other external forces or powers that were capable of providing hope or interceding on behalf of the people. In the Party’s opinion, “God is power” (276). Unlike 1984, the government in V for Vendetta promoted religion as a force to promulgate unity and conformity. The state strategically plastered posters emblazoned with the slogan “Strength Through Unity, Unity Through Faith” throughout Britain as a means of promoting religion and the faith it supposedly engenders. Britain used faith to prop up the government and its intricate security apparatus. Individuality was disparaged and everyone was obliged to think and act uniformly, particularly in the name of religion. Conformity was crucial and any and all deviations from the norm had to be eradicated. Religion is about introspection and soul searching. When religion exists, it paves the way for analysis and curiosity. Deitrich, out of sheer interest, secretly held on to a copy of the Quran, which could facilitate the spread of non-conformist ideology when read. Additionally, Evey Hammond, while in the midst of rebelling against the state, found hope and encouragement in the existence of a higher power and even said “God is in the rain.” If God were in the rain, like Evey said, Chancellor Sutler could not reign supreme. While religion did exist, it was of a corrupt nature. The government was rather careless in that it failed to present a flawless and exemplary model of religion to the public. The...
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