1984 is a novel that explores the injustices faced by Oceania people

Different governments use distinct tactics to gain and maintain control of their subjects. 1984 is a book about the injustices that people in Oceania face. The ruling party wants communism by exploiting people in all facets of their lives. Thought, association, and anonymity are all hindered in order to undermine some sort of resistance. Orwell provides a thorough view of how totalitarianism operates, focusing its energies on corruption. The gathering of critical knowledge about potential opposition is also heavily engaged in. Despite the fact that the novel was published in 1949, it describes a technologically sophisticated future world. The party relies on technology to conduct almost all of its injustices. The author paints the image of vulnerable people who live at the mercy of their leaders. Evidently, the political stalemate in the novel is unique in that it communicates the existence of such regimes in the modern society. Also, it is evident that technology is being used today in various ways as it was in 1984.
George Orwell’s 1984 is a 1949 novel whose activities occur in an airstrip based in Oceania. The setup is unique in that Oceania is not just an ordinary place that is suitable for human activities. For example, it is characterized by perpetual war, public manipulation, as well as an omnipresent government surveillance. Orwell brings forth the lives of Oceania residents who have no option, rather than being led by a dictatorship government known as English Socialism. On a broader perspective, the novel portrays how the elite people in the society have power over the less privileged. The author paints the elite inner party as an unethical team that seeks its interests through its leader the Big Brother. Thus, Orwell’s central theme in the novel is totalitarianism, as the government makes continuous efforts to sustain and increase its power at the expense of the ordinary people.
Orwell’s 1984 creates an in-depth analysis of a totalitarian political environment and its effects on the ordinary people. Precisely, he highlights the dangers of such a form of government since its only concern is only acquiring and retaining power. Orwell’s content serves the purpose of warning his readers on the dangers associated with totalitarian leadership. Totalitarian governments rely on oppression and intimidation to remain in power. The author also expounds on how technology is utilized by the government to observe all the activities taking place in Oceania (Orwell, 2003). Thus, it is evident that people’s rights and freedoms are interfered with to benefit the government. The author exposes the widespread cruelties embraced by communist states seeking to empower communism after demolishing individuality. In such a setup, individual development is a big challenge since the governance machinery takes control of every aspect. In this case, 1984 continues to highlight the various forms of oppression that residents of Oceania cannot avoid in their daily lives.
Forms of Totalitarianism
Psychological Manipulation
The party embraces psychological manipulation to subdue its subjects. The primary idea is to overwhelm the peoples’ mental capacity for independent thought. Precisely, the inner party has more freedom compared to the lower-class people who cannot enjoy their privacy. The political elite also has adequate information on what is happening on the ground. On a broader perspective, the government has giant telescreens installed in every citizen’s room. These telescreens serve the purpose of twisting the government’s failures to paint them as triumphant successes. In this case, the party covers its failures lying to the people that they are led by a legit governance (Geyer & Fitzpatrick, 2009). Psychologically, the people of Oceania believe that everything is alright, without knowing the treachery being played on them.
The element of manipulation if well-portrayed by big signs telling the people that they are under the constant watch of big brother. As such, the people cannot engage in any activities that are against the party’s will and regulations. The reason for this aspect is since one is being watched, they have to comply with the set guidelines (Petersen, 2001). The telescreens used to show the authority’s right performances are the same ones watching the residents’ activities. In this case, the people have their freedoms and privacy curtailed, thereby granting the party a chance to engage in unethical practices. Psychological manipulation occurs when the government interferes with the family structure. For instance, children are inducted into the Junior Spies Organization. They get brainwashed and at the same time encouraged to spy on their parents to note any signs of disloyalty to the inner party. Evidently, the government knows that the right way to acquire information is by involving children due to their innocence (Ricks & Overdrive Inc., 2017). Based on all these issues, Orwell succeeds in painting the image of a society where the political system is in control of everything. This aspect gives it the opportunity to engage in its heinous activities without fear of resistance.
Fighting Individualism
Totalitarian leaders focus on creating societies where individual strength has no place. Orwell elaborates this issue based on how the party addresses sex. The party suppresses sex, thereby forcing the people to abstain without their consent. The party’s agenda at this point is to destabilize political loyalties since they are capable of affecting loyalty. Since family and sex, initiate private loyalties, the party controls it by all possible means. This aspect is arrived at by brainwashing the people that sex is a despicable activity that is also unpleasurable. With this understanding, most people abstain from it, hence portraying the party’s influence on their reasoning (Orwell, 2003). The effect of this approach is evident in Winston’s character. His varicose ulcer is a clear indication of the leadership’s sexual repression. As a result, sexual repression is seen as the party’s potent mechanism of control and power over the Oceania population. In this case, it is evident that the party understands the weak points through which humans can be manipulated.
Physical Control
Totalitarian leadership utilizes the physical control aspect to control its subjects accordingly. As if psychological manipulation is not enough, people who showcase signs of resistance or disloyalty are subjected to frequent arrests. For example, Winston realizes that a slight facial twitch can easily result in arrest. In this case, one’s nervous system can result in their arrest, as they deal with the oppression subjected to them on a daily basis (Ricks & Overdrive Inc., 2017). For example, even after Winston and Julia question the party’s leadership in secrecy, they end up being arrested. This aspect leads to their torture, after which Winston is sent to room 101 that is filled with rats. As such, it is evident that people are subjected to all sorts of fears for them to quit resisting the party’s leadership. On a different note, the party forces Oceania people to participate in mass morning exercises referred to as physical jerks. This practice creates the impression of a totalitarian political system that is in total control of the people’s activities and reasoning. Also, the people are subjected to long working hours in government agencies with a primary aim of exhausting them (Dieterle, 2003). With this high rate of exhaustion, the people are unable to unite to fight for their rights. To be precise, these oppressions make it difficult for them to ever think of redeeming themselves from totalitarianism.
The people who succeed in defying the party’s orders are punished through a brutal and systematic torture. This treatment leads Winston to recognize physical pain as the most powerful thing on earth. His conclusion is based on his experiences at the party’s torture chambers. Winston goes ahead to note that no moral conviction or emotional loyalty can overcome physical pain (Petersen, 2001). His sentiments are a clear indication of the party’s expertise in applying physical torture. This totalitarian concept enables the party to remain in control since all the loopholes capable of initiating resistance are adequately covered.
Control of Both History and Information
Among the party’s totalitarian concepts is the use of information control measures. Orwell highlights the party’s control of information, especially the sources. For instance, the content of newspapers is rewritten to create a positive image of the political system. The histories of the town are also changed to show the people that they live a perfect society. Also, the party hinders all followers from keeping records of their past experiences. This aspect makes it difficult for them to realize the injustices and oppression they have to endure without any possible way out. This approach also forces the people to believe the altered information presented to them by the government since everything is positive (Orwell, 2003). Orwell’s narration highlights a party that concentrates on controlling the present since it is the only way through which its ill-motivated practices remain unnoticed. Managing the present makes it easy to manipulate the past information. This concept helps the party to justify its present actions, thereby causing the people of Oceania victims of circumstance.
The censorship aspect is utilized by the Ministry of Truth to protect the truth of its operations from reaching Oceania residents. The ministry facilitates the party’s totalitarianism spirit by modifying photographs. Public archives are also transformed to eliminate any content capable of maligning the party’s image (Ricks & Overdrive Inc., 2017). The telescreens are also used to exaggerate figures of various productions to portray a fast-growing economy. On the contrary, Oceania is a region characterized by lots of challenges, especially lack of employment and unequal resource distribution. Other historical totalitarian regimes are famous for oppressing their people and also covering up their harmful practices. Orwell uncovers all the social and economic injustices that Oceania cannot escape. For example, Winston is instructed to eliminate a specific reference of a person who was removed from Oceania’s history by the party. This practice proves that the party is very keen to eradicate any traces of evidence that uncover past injustices. Winston proceeds and makes the required editing to include a party member who is associated with high heroism (Geyer & Fitzpatrick, 2009). The bottom line is that Orwell had a perfect knowledge of how oppressive governments work. One evident problem is that as more cover-ups continue taking place, the society gets indulged in more profound issues. The high control of areas where the opposition can arise gives the party clear paths through which its agenda can be enforced.
Despite Orwell having written the novel in 1949, he had clear insights into the use of technology in Oceania. The party utilizes technological devices such as hidden microphones and telescreens across the city. Thus, the party understands the significance of technology, especially in the collection and distribution of information. Since there were no computers in 1984, the party utilized the telescreens to monitor the activities of its people. Only totalitarian governments employ these mechanisms to keep their subjects subdued. The party also used complicated devices to create a large-scale management of both sources of information and economic production systems (Orwell, 2003). Moreover, technology-oriented fearsome machinery is sought to inflict fear and torture on all perceived enemies. In this case, 1984 reveals that although technology is a beneficial development, it can also be used by totalitarian governments to oppress their people.
The arrest of Winston as mentioned earlier instills fear in him. This outcome emanates from the fact that his secrets are unearthed by the telescreens around him. Just like many others, he lives in fear since any defiance can take him back to torture. In writing 1984, Orwell must have had clear visions of the future society, especially in the use of technology. The use of technology in Orwell’s novel depicts various developments in the modern society. Today, governments use closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs) to monitor people’s activities. Most employers use the same concept to track their employees’ movements in their facilities. The same case applies to monitoring of communication through computers and other technological devices. Thus, technology stands out as a controversial concept that keeps on interfering with people’s privacy (Dieterle, 2003). To be precise, 1984 showcases a high advancement of technology beyond the author’s time. This advancement enhances the party’s control of its people. Evidently, among all the totalitarian concepts used by the party, technology stands out as the strongest. Based on the experiences of Winston, technological torture systems have the capability of transforming people’s ideas regarding the party.
By the end of Winston’s predicaments, he is released as a changed man who does not dislike the party. Orwell uses his character to highlight the power of technology in a society. Every form of technology being used by the party is a blessing in disguise since it serves numerous functions. As 1984, progresses, Orwell presents a society that lacks proper legal regulations on the use of video surveillance systems. The lack of appropriate legal frameworks makes life unbearable for the people since they cannot in any way enjoy their privacy. By using technology as a core element of the novel, the author also portrays how people fear being watched (Ricks & Overdrive Inc., 2017). The fear of surveillance systems forced many of them to comply with the government’s unfair and oppressive demands. Technology is thus a powerful tool that inflicts harm on people, to the point of developing a love for the party. For example, the author’s portrayal of Winston after torture is that of a person who cannot dare question the party’s actions. In this case, the party’s success in brainwashing the people’s ideologies is highly enhanced by technological systems (Geyer & Fitzpatrick, 2009. Despite its presence, technology serves the interests of the inner party instead of benefitting all people regardless of class and political affiliation.
Language as Mind Control Tool
Language is highly targeted by the party as a tool that signifies one’s thoughts and interests. Due to this reason, Winston gets arrested after speaking against the party’s leadership practices. In 1984, Orwell created the impression that language is a significant element that represents the people’s thoughts. It is because of this aspect that the authorities invest heavily in recording devices. In this case, controlling the language and mind’s functionality stands out as the best approach capable of eliminating defiance among the subjects. Communication is well-controlled because people cannot speak freely for fear of being arrested and tortured (Ricks & Overdrive Inc., 2017). This focus enabled the party to curb the possibility of developing either rebellious or disobedient thought. Precisely, language plays essential roles of enhancing the thought process. As such, altering language leaves the people vulnerable to a system that only capitalizes on benefiting itself. The language aspect of totalitarianism is well-portrayed in the Newspeak’s operations. The party initiated the Newspeak language with the intention of replacing English. It also continues to refine and perfect the Newspeak to deliver content that enhances its reign in power. This aspect is arrived at by manipulating the people’s thinking capacity since they are not used to the new language (Dieterle, 2003). Therefore, the party is presented by the author as a system that is committed to interfering with societal privileges.
Language remains to be a crucial factor that people should enjoy without any hindrances. However, the totalitarian approach used by the party leaves the people hopeless since they have to learn new languages. The strength of the party emanates from its ability to control every activity that the society engages in (Petersen, 2001). The creation of a new language weakens the defiant people who were used to English. Orwell proves that totalitarian leadership can force governments to engage in practices that are harmful without second thoughts. Interfering with language is one idea of destabilizing the local community since it loses its uniting factors.
The party utilizes the doublethink concept to instill contradictory opinions on the people. While some have contrary views, the content the party feeds them is positive. This idea alters the society’s capacity to hold individual thoughts, thereby influencing them to believe in their ideologies (Orwell, 2003). Party representatives use language to manipulate their followers’ thinking and loyalty. Its constant streaming of propaganda ends up convincing the people that its actions have no faults. The leadership’s tricks act as a trap that holds the people hostage permanently. For instance, the hate week rally showcases the party’s shift in diplomatic allegiance. The speaker calls the country’s enemy their new ally, while at the same time referring to the former ally as an enemy. The people accept what their leaders say, merely because they lack independent thoughts.
The control of mind functionality helps the party reduce the possibility of resistance. This ideology paves the way for political propaganda to mislead the people, even in instances where they are subjected to unnecessary suffering. Controlling the people’s daily lives creates a platform where the government enforces its power through unjust means. The totalitarian approach used by the party grants it more control, while at the same time, allowing it to increase its grip on the society’s way of life (Geyer & Fitzpatrick, 2009). The Oceania depicts a vulnerable society that cannot escape the wrath of the leading party. In this case, Orwell’s content introduces a leadership system that is concerned with protecting its dirty image through all possible means.
Orwell’s 1984 expounds on the totalitarian leadership targeted towards the Oceania population. The author notes the use of oppression by the political elite to achieve more power. The inner party which assumes governance is led by greedy individuals who manipulate the residents in various ways. For example, technology is used through telescreens to monitor and listen to the people’s conversations. As such, the people of Oceania lack their privacy and freedom. Both physical movements and individualism are curtailed to hinder the development of resistance to the government. Defiant people face different forms of torture after which they change their opinions regarding the party. Precisely, all the injustices employed by the party cause harm to the society since the society is unable to defend itself.
Dieterle, C. (2003). George Orwell's 1984 and its implications on the political system of the GDR.
Geyer, M., & Fitzpatrick, S. (2009). Beyond totalitarianism: Stalinism and Nazism compared. New York, N.Y: Cambridge University Press.
Orwell, G. (2003). 1984, George Orwell. New York: Spark Pub.
Petersen, J. K. (2001). Understanding surveillance technologies: Spy devices, their origins & applications. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Ricks, T. E., & Overdrive Inc. (2017). Churchill and Orwell. S.I.: Penguin Publishing Group.

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