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Nineteen Eighty-four and Psychological Manipulation

By Bettsy07 Jan 04, 2014 994 Words

The Party's Psychological Manipulation

Throughout the novel "1984" written by George Orwell, the party is able to maintain power over the citizens through psychological manipulation. The party's strategies were very effective in keeping them in power. In the novel we see them deploy surveillance, doublethink, and newspeak as tactics to manipulate the population and eliminate the freedom to think for themselves.

The first example of psychological manipulation in the novel is surveillance. Surveillance is crucial for the party, in order to control the masses. The party uses many different ideas to keep an eye on the citizens. The main types of Surveillance used are the telescreens, thought police, hidden microphones and the junior spies. The telescreens were a great way to manage the citizens' minds. By installing telescreens everywhere it changed the mind set of the people. No longer could a citizen feel like they were alone and able to think against the party. The party controlled them even in their free time by telecreens, as citizens even feared nervous twitches being picked up and acted upon by the party. "It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself – anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide" (65). This quotation from Winston shows how the party used telescreens to control the minds of their people into being scared and fearing being caught for the slightest bit of thoughtcrime. Another form of surveillance used to manipulate citizens was the junior spies. The party turned people's adoration and pity for kids into fear and hatred. "The children, on the other hand, were systematically turned against their parents and taught to spy on them and report their deviations. The family had become in effect an extension of the Thought Police" (27). This quotation is proof of the party manipulating the population. The party transfers their blame for watching everyone onto the kids. The party still gets the surveillance they require, and are also still loved by most of the citizens, while the children takes some of the blame for spying on people. The surveillance deployed by the party was an effective method of trying to control everyones psychological perspectives. It kept everyone trying to act as a perfect party member while most importantly not changing people's opinions of Big Brother.

Another form of psychological manipulation the party uses is doublethink. Doublethink is the act of ordinary people simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct. The government is able to use this in order to prevent the population from questioning facts or statements the government releases even when they believe it's false. An example of this is the newspaper "The Times". The government changes the past, but the citizens, because of doublethink, do not question it. "A number of The Times which might, because of changes in political alignment, or mistaken prophecies uttered by Big Brother, have been rewritten a dozen times still stood on the files bearing its original date, and no other copy existed to contradict it. Books, also, were recalled and rewritten again and again, and were invariably reissued without any admission that any alteration had been made. Even the written instructions which Winston received, and which he invariably got rid of as soon as he had dealt with them, never stated or implied that an act of forgery was to be committed: always the reference was to slips, errors, misprints, or misquotations which it was necessary to put right in the interests of accuracy" (48). This significant quotation proves that the editing of newspapers is fundamental in manipulating the citizens through doublespeak. "And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed – if all records told the same tale – then the lie passed into history and became truth [...] Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting" (68). Since the party could lie without being questioned, and could get citizens to believe 2 + 2 = 5 or any other illogical idea, doublethink was an extremely effective method of psychological manipulation that the government used to maintain power.

The final example of psychological manipulation in the novel is the language of Newspeak. This unlike any other language continually decreases the number of words each year. "It's a beautiful thing, the Destruction of words. Of course the great wastage is in the verbs and adjectives, but there are hundreds of nouns that can be got rid of as well. It isn't only the synonyms; there are also the antonyms. After all, what justification is there for a word, which is simply the opposite of some other word? A word contains its opposite in itself" (81). The advantage of Newspeak for the government is eliminating words that could be used in thoughtcrime. The party can control every civilians mind by choosing only a few selective words that they can say. "Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten" (82). This quotation from Syme shows the strategy of the party. It shows how they are altering peoples minds in order to eliminate thoughtcrime. Newspeak is just one more example of the party using psychological manipulation to control their people.

The party uses methods of psychological manipulation to maintain power over Oceania. The citizens are exposed to surveillance, doublethink and Newspeak as part of Big Brothers attempt to stay leader. All of the party's strategies to control the populations minds has lead to a change in the people: because of the psychological manipulation, the people can no longer think for themselves.

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