Mechanisms of Control
In George Orwell's 1984, the strategies used by Oceania's "Party" to achieve total control over the population are similar to the ones emplaced by Joseph Stalin during his reign. Indeed, the tactics used by Oceania's "Party" truly depicts the brutal totalitarian society of Stalin's Russia. In making a connection between Stalin's Russia and Big Brothers' Oceania, each party implements a psychological and physical manipulation over society by controlling the information and the language with the help of technology.
In fact, many features of Orwell's imaginary super-state Oceania are ironic translations from Stalin's Russia. In Oceania, the "Party" mainly uses technology as the chief ingredient to implement a psychological manipulation over society by controlling the information they receive. An example of this is the big screen television set up in every person's home, and the poster all over the city. The giant "telescreen" in every citizen's room blasts a constant stream of propaganda designed to make the failures and short successes of the Party appear to be glorious. In Winston Smith's apartment, this "instrument" is always on spouting propaganda and constantly brain washing the peoples' mind. In actual fact, "It could [only be] dimmed
there [is] no way of shutting it off". In doing this, the "Party" is in complete control over the citizens' mind, blasting Salazar 2 what they want each individual to think (p.6). They psychologically stimulate each individuals mind, limiting their ability to think and have a mind of their own. In a similar way, Stalin's created "The Poster" and The Pravda (the Russian newspaper controlled by the government during Joseph Stalin's regime) to twist and manipulate the minds of people into believing that what they were saying was absolutely right and truth. Using this power, Stalin and his regime would get people to do anything for them. (Basgen, Soviet History- website)
The creation of gigantic posters is one of the most psychological manipulating tactics used in Oceania and Russia with the enhancement and help of technology. In Oceania, one could find "A colored poster
with the face of a man
[Whose] eyes fallowed you about when you moved". The caption in the poster says that "Big Brother Is Watching You" (p.5). In placing poster like these all over Oceania, people are constrained and restricted to their actions. They are in a constant battle all the time debating whether their actions are right or wrong in the eyes of "Big Brother". For example, when Winston sits down to write in his dairy, he writes "in sheer panic, only perfectly aware of what he was setting down" (p.11). In this instance, Winston is afraid of the act of writing in a dairy, but he decides to do so in sheer panic. This results as the effect of Oceania's "Party" psychological manipulation of the mind. Every time a person decides to do something, they will have a sheer image of the poster and the caption "Big Brother Is Watching You" in the back of their heads. Hence, this action limits the person capability to act freely and express their inner sentiments. (Jeffrey p.220-225)
Alike, "The Poster" was the most prominent form of psychological manipulation during Stalin's reign. Until World War I the poster had avoided social themes. However, as Stalin's Russia rose to war and as a world power, the posters took a turn to be commercial and cultural, an attempt to develop an expanding market and advertise various entertainments. The posters of World War II took on a new task: to mobilize the population in support of the war effort. Stalin's Posters featured themes of mobilizing the armed forces, reconstructing the economy, as...
Cited: Basgen Brian. Soviet History.
Brooks, Jeffrey. Thank You Comrade Stalin! Princeton University Press. Princeton, New
Orwell, George. 1984. Signet Classics, New York, New York. July 1950
Russia Under Stalin. May 2002.
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