February 26, 2014
George Orwell 1984 novel demonstrates a dystopia futuristic world call Oceania where the government seeks total control of its citizen by using power, manipulation of the memory and the past and by putting fear into their citizen. Orwell achieved his goals but showing us the value system of the protagonist versus the antagonist The value system of Winston and the other characters in 1984 is that they all want to rebel while others wants to maintain the statuesque and would do anything to keep others away from the truth. Winston is one of many that are fighting oppression in Oceania where the party scrutinize human’s actions with the ever watchful eyes of Big Brother. One thing that Winston values is freedom (individuality) but cannot get freedom because the concept of freedom cannot exist which is why their official language is newspeak- goals is to make language to be less expressive than the mind would be easily controlled. He wants to be free from the Party but in 1984, the Party maintains control over the citizens through the use of telescreen that transmit constant streams of propaganda while observing citizens, mandatory organized of propaganda events such as two minutes hate, hate week and by putting fear of the thought police and retribution of thought crime in all. Winston tries to commit a crime and that’s why he starts to write in his diary- which is considered a thought crime. He believes that in Oceania, those who do not submit to the party suffer the wrath of the thought police. He had seen how young minds can indoctrinated in the Party through organization such as the Spies and the Youth League, which encourage children to report anyone, even their parents to the Party. This control over the children in Oceania takes about a mass degree of psychological control the party holds over its people and provides an allegory to totalitarian organization of the twenty century such as the Hitler Youth- Which was Hitler beliefs that the future of Nazi Germany was its children. Freedom is an ideal that holds characters such as Winston to a higher standard. Someone who considers themselves free, or thinks freely can no longer fall dumbly into rank. He is a slave to this ideal and that relates to “Freedom is slavery”. Another thing that Winston values is the past/ truth. Winston wants to live in a world far different from Oceania. He wants to know the truth. In other to obtain the truth, he went to the antique shop and saw a picture of St. Clement church and the paperweight. The church and the paperweight both symbolize the past. The paperweight shows beauty and it “seemed to possess of belonging to an age quite different from the present one [the past]”. Winston, the protagonist knows that and even said it was “queer” and “The party members wouldn’t have something like that in their possession.” By surrounding Oceania with propaganda, the Party doctrine and contradict “facts” leaving the people with no past and their memory aren’t even reliable so as a result, Winston took it in attempt to connect to the past. 1984 is all about rebellion which is another value of Winston. Winston starts a diary from rebellion thought. He then becomes concerned with grand-scales, organized resistance to the party’s rule and joins the Brotherhood. By writing in his diary, he knows that he is committing thought crime. Therefore that makes him a criminal and knows that somehow he’s going to get caught. Winton feels alone in his act of rebellion and his attitude towards the Party but holds out hope that O’Brien shares his view; leaving O’Brien to be a symbol of rebellion to him. Another character that is very essential in 1984 is Big Brother. Big Brother wants total control over the citizens. The slogan “Big Brother is watching you (12)” is everywhere in the country. It creates fear of obliterated privacy among the citizen by alerting them that they are watched at all times but, at the same time, the slogan also emphasizes Big Brother’s power to tell the citizens that they are very safe and protected. It makes the citizen to believe that nothing is going to go wrong and if Big brother on their side, everything will be okay. Like the Horse from Animal said “Napoleon is always right” and without their leader, they will have a corrupt life. Another thing that Big Brother also values is the telescreen. In order to control their citizen, they use the telescreen as a tool which is very accessible to the thought police. With the telescreen, The Party can monitor the people every moves and their everyday lives. In the protagonist’s room, “the telescreen [was in the living room and in an unusual position]. Instead of being placed, as was normal, in the end wall, where it could command the whole room, it was in the longer wall, opposite the window (pg. 4).” This shows that the telescreen is an everyday uses but to Winston’s surprise when he entered the antique shop, he noticed that there was no telescreen or was there? I believe that in that case, the old man was the telescreen. He was monitoring Winston without him knowing it. The last value of Big Brother is manipulation of the memory and the past. The Party seeks to control everything in Oceania; Past, present, and future. As a way of attaining that goal, it controls the citizen’s mind/ memory. For example, one minute Oceania is at war with laboring country and the next minute its victory. Everything that happens in Oceania has to glorify the party. In Oceania, the people hardly know when thing was made anymore because they are not allow to write stuff down. Instead, when they see “anything large and impressive, if it was reasonably new in appearance, was automatically claimed as having been built since the revolution, where anything that was obviously of earlier date was ascribed to some dim period called the Middle age (pg. 98).” The reason why is this is because without memory, the people cannot know the past. “One could not learn history from architecture any more than one could learn it from books (pg.98).” Without memory, the party is able to control history such as “statues, inscription, memorial stone, the names of streets- anything that might throw light upon the past had been systematically altered (pg. 98).” By controlling the past, the Party also controls the people, by forbidding citizen to keep written records of their lives and mandates that any photographs or documents be destroyed through “Memory hole” In 1984, George Orwell warns of the terrifying dangers that man may create for himself in his quest for a utopian society. His parallel to totalitarian regimes of the early 20th such as Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union and the degree of control over the maintained of their citizen. The end shows us how easily they can let the mind be control and you end up submitting knowing that “never again will you be capable of love, friendship, or joy of living (pg. 210)”. Orwell sent us a message of the danger of a totalitarianism authority. It affects us the reader and gives us knowledge of what could happen when the government looks for a utopia society .