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1984 Orwell

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Introduction

1984 is a dystopian novel about the society of the future. Writing in 1948, he images Britain forty years in the future as a totalitarian dictatorship which combines elements of both Communism and Fascism in a powerful, omniscient police-state, based on terror. The story takes place in a totalitarian state called Oceania. The world has been divided up by Oceania and two other states, Eastasia and Eurasia. The post-war world is governed by power groups alternatively at war with one another. After the revolution, the establishment has been replaced by a dictatorship, whose leader is BB. In his features and look, BB clearly recalls Stalin, and the fact that his face is depicted everywhere is a denunciation of the cult of personality, typical in all dictatorships. Trying to control the thoughts of every citizen, the authorities rewrite history, changing events. The hero, Winston Smith, is an intellectual and rebels against this world and begins to dream of destroying the system. The description of London, capital of Oceania, in the first chapter of the book, is similar to wartime London. The environment recalls bomb-damaged London in 1948. The influence of WW2 is clearly evident; it is a nightmare that still haunts the population. Personal freedom is restricted because Oceania is in a permanent state of war and everyone is potentially a traitor. ...read more.

Middle

So the Ministry of Truth only tells lies, the Ministry of Peace is concerned with war and the language is contracted, taking out all creativity from its use, much as it happens today with mobile phones. The three irrational slogans of the Party are particularly meaningful because they reveal the ideals the party is based on, thought control and reversal of concepts. Orwell is concerned with the function of political language and shows that in Oceania words are so corrupted that they now mean their opposite. This implies that once language is controlled anything that the Party doesn't approve is impossible. Thus reality is distorted and these distortions alter the human perception of the truth. This is similarly the danger hidden in mass media, whose power pervades modern society. Mass media control communication and impose a global view on all aspects of everyday life. That is why the control of mass media is important for the political party in power, because through mass media they can create consensus and alters thought so that everybody comes to think and desire what the Party wants them to think and desire. Therefore communication becomes manipulation and creates fear, as the dominant faces of BB in posters seem to say. BB IS WATCHING YOU means that everybody is controlled and can't escape. ...read more.

Conclusion

He had a pessimistic view of the masses, because he believed they could be easily manipulated through language. BB's dictatorship controlled thought, invaded personal privacy through microphones and tele-screens and broke down all attempts at resisting by brain-washing people. Moreover the strategies of the Party control not only the present and the future but also the past, by re-writing history. Winston's job in the Ministry of Truth is to alter historical records to eliminate all memories of past events and adapt them to party policy when they are inconsistent with party doctrine. Orwell's assumption is that a totalitarian state controls the thought of citizens through language to limit the dangers of independent thought. This is still true today because mass media are potentially dangerous, as they break down individuality and independent ideas by crushing imagination with conformity. 1984 is a picture of how the political system can suppress individuality and make man inhuman. Through science fiction he depicts a future world in such a realistic way as to make it very credible. The main character's will and body are broken into total submission, leaving no hope in the future of freedom, non-conformism and use of individual reason. Orwell's final conclusion of 1984's nightmarish plot is that totalitarian powers destroy human nature and men are hopelessly overwhelmed by oppressive political forces. ...read more.

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