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Totalitarianism and Censorship in 1984 and Fahrenheit 451

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Introduction

1. "WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH" (Orwell, 1984 pg.17). The Dangers of Totalitarianism: A dystopian novel, "1984" written by George Orwell, attacks the idea of totalitarian communism (a political system in which one ruling party plans and controls the collective social action of a state) by painting a terrifying picture of a world in which personal freedom is nonexistent. Orwell criticizes totalitarianism of all types and brings up questions concerning social status of citizens and the role of politics in the society. Orwell's main goal was to warn of the serious danger totalitarianism poses to society. He goes to great lengths to demonstrate the terrifying degree of power and control a totalitarian regime can acquire and maintain. In such regimes, notions of personal rights and freedoms and individual thought are pulverized under the all-powerful hand of the government. Censorship; Mass media dictatorship and ant intellectualism: In Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury uses "artificial stimulus", such as television and radio, to provide the reader with a feeling of how isolated the public is and how their minds are being controlled by the government in the twenty-first century. He uses technology and drugs, to show the forcefulness of the government in his novel. One of the most important themes that occur in both novels is that of alienation and isolation, which is best shown through the main character of each novel. ...read more.

Middle

In 1984, the main character Winston is shown as one who does not quite fit in with the rest of his society. He has a continuous feeling in the back of his head that life as he knows it is not what it should be and begins writing in a journal about his thoughts, which is strictly illegal, "Winston saw that he had left the diary open on the table. 'DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER' was written all over it" (Orwell, page 20). The society that Winston lives in is governed by the Inner Party, and ultimately by a figure referred to as Big Brother. No members of the society are allowed to speak out, or even think out against the government. Every house, building, street, and public place has something called a telescreen, which constantly monitors the people and each of their actions, speech, and even expressions. If a person even appears to have a different thought than what they are mandated by Big Brother to have, this person will be arrested by the Thought Police and eventually vaporized. Orwell goes into great depth as to the advancement of the party's strategy against its enemies, "We do not merely destroy our enemies, we change them" (1984, 265). As the book progresses he becomes more aware of his individuality and eventually is unable to hide it and all the alienated characters come before some sort of hand of the government who is ready to rationalize the right and duty of the government to possess such control over its people. ...read more.

Conclusion

In scene after scene, Montag becomes emotionally alienated from his work, his wife, and the people he works with. As this alienation increases, he reaches out to books and to the people who value them. His escape from the city to the refuge of the book people offers hope. He has escaped the alienation of the mechanical society he left behind. Perhaps he will help establish a better one by remembering the words in the book he will commit to memory. The suggestion Bradbury makes is that by staying connected to books, which are a reflection of other people's thinking, we stay connected as human beings one to the other. Books, then, are an antidote to alienation. Apathy and Passivity By portraying many characters as passive figures who never even wonder about their lot in life, Fahrenheit 451 seems to imply that apathy is a very important element in the decline of Montag's society Censorship and independent thought are also important concepts in our society today. These two ideals are constantly at odds against each other. The balance of these two concepts often determines the success or failure of a society. Uncontrolled censorship in society never works to its advantage either. Modern Americans often think of inequality quite differently. They believe that the natural social order-the market place and the acquisitive talents of people operating in that marketplace-leads to undesirable inequalities, especially in economic power. The government the government should be powerful enough to restrain these natural tendencies and produce, by law, a greater degree of equality than society allows when left alone (Wilson 29). ...read more.

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