War, torture, and constant fear, all of these are key elements in the distopia George Orwell creates in the novel, 1984. In this book, Orwell creates a society which is based solely on hate and controlled by those who seek only power. Orwell, however, is not the only author to ponder the possibility of an extreme, futuristic society. In particular, The Giver, by Louis Lowry relates a great deal to the themes found in 1984. Unlike 1984, Lowry's novel focuses on the idea of a utopia as opposed to Orwell's distopia. What is the most interesting is how though the fundamental idea of the novels are opposites, the methods by which each society is maintained are surprisingly similar. When one analyses The Giver versus 1984, it becomes clear that while the societies are meant to be opposites, one perfect and one flawed, the Party and Community are in practice more similar than not, due to the methods used to keep the societies functioning.
The key difference between the 1984 society and The Giver society is that one is meant to represent a utopia and the other a distopia. What draws a distinction between the two are the principles guiding the restrictions that must be put into place in order for each society to operate. In The Giver, the aim of the strict controls is to protect citizens. The authority of the Community created restraints to reach an ideal society, void of all negativity. For example, memories are kept from the citizens as a protective measure so no one has to ever experience any type suffering. As said by Jonas concerning citizens of the Community, "They have never known pain."(110). Similarly, love must also be kept from the average person to prevent any type of emotional distress. The Party of 1984, however, has very different motives. They do not restrict Party members for the greater good but in the words of O'Brien, "The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others...Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness; only power, pure power."(217).This demonstrates how the restrictions put into place by the Party exist simply to make certain the government is never resisted. Memories are not ousted because they cause pain but because they would give the citizens background on which to form opinions that oppose the Party's objective. Love also is abolished, not for the citizen's good but because the emotion would provide a non-Party source to which citizens could direct their energy. Through turning family on family, ending male-female relationships, and suppressing the sex instinct, the Party is assuring its citizens complete devotion. The Party is even able to twist sex into an unpleasurable act referred to as "duty to the Party" which makes sex for procreation an act that further demonstrates Party loyalty. In short, the differing morals that inspire the actions of each government are meant to make the distinction between whether each is a positively or negatively oriented society. In reality, however, the comparable methods that are put into place to keep each society running make the 1984 and The Giver societies quite similar.
The 1984 Party is a pain and hatred based society, which results in a distopia. To prevent a revolt that throws such a government from power, a set of strict constraints are mandatory. Love is one of the key concepts that must be controlled. This is accomplished in two primary ways: weakening family bonds and preventing prosperous relationships between men and women. First, the Party government in 1984 weakens family love by teaching children at young age to be more loyal to the Party than their parent through the Junior Spy League. The organization teaches children to be on constant watch for disloyalty among their parents. In the following quote, Winston explains the effect such a system has on the family unit, "Most children nowadays were horrible...they were turned into ungovernable little savages...It was almost normal for people over...
Bibliography: 1984 and the Giver
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