Alienation in 1984

Topics: Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell, Big Brother Pages: 5 (1853 words) Published: May 5, 2013
Alienation In 1984
In the novel 1984 by George Orwell there are many causes which lead to Winston Smith’s alienation. Winston lives in the dystopian society known as Oceania, which is controlled by the “Party” and a dictator named “Big Brother.” “Big Brother” watches over and controls the thoughts and actions of the citizens in Oceania. Winston feels oppressed by the control of the “Party”. The actions of the “Party” affect Winston and lead him to feel alienated. To alienate is to make someone feel indifferent. One way alienation is defined as is, “alienation, in social sciences, the state of feeling estranged or separated from one’s milieu, work, products of work, or self”. (Alienation Society) In 1984 it is very evident that the “Party” is one of the factors that could have led to Winston Smith’s alienation. In Oceania, all of the citizens are controlled and watched over by “Big Brother”. This total control has caused Winston to think differently of everyone. He feels that he is the only person in Oceania that thinks freely. Winston’s free thinking leads him to believe that he is different from the world around him. The ability to have freedom of thought caused him to feel indifferent and isolated from everyone. This has led to his alienation. According to Discover Your Mind alienation creates isolation and vice versa, “Alienation can produce isolation. The person's values have become different from the norm.” (Alienation discover-your-mind) and it also causes one’s views to be drastically change. Oceania is controlled by a totalitarian group called the “Party”. Totalitarianism is a form of government which seeks to take away freedom and forces individuals to live by the values of their government. The way they rule the people takes away all of their freedom. There are many crimes in place that keep everyone “equal”. The government was a great factor to his alienation. This is even true in real life, “Already, Fromm observes, contemporary forms of communism and of capitalism (or "managerial industrialism") appear to have begun the process of alienation, even without benefit of war.” (Deery) Alienation can start from many places and this shows the government is one of them. It can be seen that Winston’s life was a living hell, “Nineteen Eighty-Four has successfully recreated the idea of hell and endowed it with an immediacy and significance…” (Pittock) The “Party” made life miserable for him and the rest of Oceania. The actions of the “Party” set off a domino effect on Winston that led him towards his alienation. Winston’s rebelliousness creates a barrier between him and the rest of Oceania. He often committed thoughtcrimes which are rebellious thoughts that seen as illegal by the “Party”. “Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime is death” (Orwell) Winston committed these thoughtcrimes through a diary that he purchased. In his diary he wrote about his hate for Oceania and his other feelings. Even riskier, he once wrote down in his diary “Down with Big Brother” (Orwell) a thought which would get him sentenced to death. “The thought police would get him just the same. He had committed –would have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper-the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you.” (Orwell) The “Party” wants to completely dispose all freedom of thought. Anything related to free will is considered illegal. Winston’s isolation is apparent through his rebelliousness, because no other citizen of Oceania has the courage to commit such crimes. In a way, Winston’s actions cause his own alienation. Winston’s loneliness also leads to alienation. The very limited social interaction caused Winston to feel lonely. He feels that he has no one to talk...

Bibliography: "1984 by George Orwell. Orwell, George. 1984. Ed. Erich Fromm. New York: Harcourt, 1949.
"Alienation." Web. 01 Apr. 2012. .
"Alienation." Discover Your Mind. Web. 01 Apr. 2012. .
“Alienation (society)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica. Web. 01 Apr. 2012.
Deery, June. "George Orwell. Nineteen Eighty-Four." Utopian Studies 16.1 (2005): 122+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 1 Apr. 2012.
"Explanation of: 'Nineteen Eighty-Four ' by George Orwell." LitFinder Contemporary Collection. Detroit: Gale, 2010. LitFinder. Web. 10 May 2012.
Fitzpatrick, Kathleen. "An overview of 1984." Literature Resource Center. Detroit: Gale, 2012. Literature Resource Center. Web. 15 May 2012.
Pittock, Malcolm. "The hell of Nineteen Eighty-Four." Essays in Criticism 47.2 (1997): 143+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 15 May 2012.
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