September 4, 2012
A. George Orwell's 1984 is a parody meant to expose the injustices of the time in which it was written and reveal the dangers of not confronting and correcting them.
II. Historical climate: many governments violating human rights; attempting to control the ideas of the people
A. WW II
B. Stalin- “Stalin ruled with an iron fist, and was famous for his midnight purges: he would round up hundreds of citizens at a time and murder them en masse in deserted areas, much as Oceania citizens are ‘vaporized’ “ (“ Historical Context: 1984” 1 of 2). C. Franco- “Orwell himself fought against Franco in the Spanish civil War in the mid-1930s, supporting the socialist left” (“Historical Context: 1984” 1 of 2). D. Mao Tse-Tung-“1948/49: Mao Tse-tung battles Chiang Kai-Shek and his nationalist forces, finally defeating them in 1949 and establishing a totalitarian communist regime” (“1984” 243). E. Communism
F. McCarthy- “The paranoia that characterized the McCarthy era was similar to the paranoia in 1984, as people were pressured to betray their friends and co-workers in order to save themselves” (“Historical Context: 1984” 2 of 2).
III. Orwell exaggerates the governments of the time by establishing a totalitarian government in 1984. A. Describes four ministries that are oxymoronic by definition and deceptive even in name to mock and expose what governments of the time were doing 1. Ministry of truth – lies “which concerned itself with news, entertainment, education, and the fine arts” (Orwell 4). 2. Ministry of peace – war “which concerned itself with war” (Orwell 4). 3. Ministry of love - maintains law and order “which maintained law and order” (Orwell 4). 4. Ministry of plenty - everyone is poor “which was responsible for economic affairs” (Orwell 4). IV. Containment, Controlling Thought & Censorship
A. Ministry of truth
B. Constant monitoring
a. Two-way TVs
b. “It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in a any public place or within range of a telescreen” (Orwell 62). B. Thought crimes, Censorship, Thought Police
a. “Thought crime does not entail death: thought crime is death” (Orwell 28). C. Doublethink: unending series of victories over our memories D. “War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength” (Orwell 4).
V. Controlling History to Control the Present and Future
A. Big brother
a. “Who controls the past controls the future, who controls the present controls the past” (Orwell 34). E. Almost minute-by-minute the past is brought up to date, so every prediction the Party makes can be shown to be fact. F. Stalin did this
A. Brainwashing and torture by the ministry of love to convince Winston (who opposes the party) that four is five. “How many fingers, Winston…Four! Stop it, stop it! How can you go on? Four! Four! ...Five! Five! Five!” (Orwell 250). B. "Whatever the Party holds to be true is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party."
VII. Death of Individuality
A. Newspeak - gets rid of individuality by limiting the range of thought by limiting word choices. a. "You think, I dare say, that our chief job is inventing new words. But not a bit of it! We're destroying words- scores of them" (Davis 4 of 5). VIII. An End to Resistance
A. Orwell ends the book with Winston ultimately succumbing to the Party and becomes a believer in Big Brother – to prove the dangers of a totalitarian society or a government-controlled population B. “Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. Bit was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother” (Orwell 298). IX. Conclusion
A. The book is a bleak picture of government and its ability and desire to control human nature, but it also inspires people to be active, thoughtful and make positive changes that impact the future.