The Mind Killer - The role of fear in George Orwell's 1984

Topics: Nineteen Eighty-Four, Mind, Love Pages: 5 (1619 words) Published: May 30, 2014
The Mind Killer
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” — Frank Herbert, Dune. It is true; fear is a single force that can either strengthen or weaken a man. Fear has the potential to ruin oneself, leaving nothing left but the need to obey the fear itself. In the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, the government uses fear as a mechanism to control its citizens. The government uses fear to ensure obedience among all citizens, and in addition, prevents relationships from forming to guarantee that no one will have a greater “love” than that of the Party and of Big Brother. Furthermore, the government uses fear to break Winston’s and Julia’s love for each other, and determine their conformity to the Party and its value system. It is evident, that the role of fear helps emphasize the government's desire for uniformism, as it will help them fulfill their utopian vision.

To begin with, the Party maintains a network of faceless and emotionless constructs, in order to establish contact and relationships with the citizenry. The terror inspired by these buildings and the nature of their construction, is to block any citizen from considering another way of living. Winston, while considering the various Ministries, notes that the government makes absolutely no attempt to encourage independent thinking; in fact, they are designed to crush individuality,

The Ministry of Love was the really frightening [building]. There were no windows in it at all… it was a place impossible to enter except on official business, and then only by penetrating through a maze of barbed-wire entanglements, steel doors and hidden machine-gun nests. Even the streets leading up to its outer barriers where roomed by gorilla-faced guards in black uniforms, armed with joined trucheons (Orwell 6).

The world that the Party has created is one where citizens will only dare to think or act differently if they seek active revolution, to become martyrs, or both. Anyone who values self-preservations will stay quiet. The Ministry of Love, and its armoured barricade surrounding it, is used as a symbol to frighten individuals into what could happen to them if they do not stay quiet. The use of terror for conformity extends not only into actions, but to the human thought process as well. Fear is built in to the Party’s strategy by virtue of the fact that it is unpredictable and always accomplished without modern due process. This leaves the population not only certain of eventual punishment, but sure that this enforcement will realized,

It was always at night—the arrests invariably happened at night. The sudden jerk out of sleep, the rough hand shaking your shoulder, the lights glaring in your eyes, the ring of hard faces round the bed. In the vast majority of cases there was no trial, no report of the arrest. People simply disappeared, always during the night. Your name was removed from the registers, every record of everything you had ever done was wiped out, your one-time existence was denied and then forgotten. You were abolished, annihilated: VAPORIZED was the usual word (24).

Oceania’s social structure is based on the terror of an inevitable judgement being levelled, when ever one dares to contravene established guidelines in codes of conduct. The hope is not a reward for obedience but merely to avoid an unnamed punishment.

In addition to the insurance of obedience, the Party’s use of fear deliberately extends to interfere with human relationships as a means of enforcing conformity. The Party understands that humans can only have one ultimate loyalty, or love. In order to guarantee that this is directed toward the Party, fear of non-Party relationships is cultivated. Any establishment...
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