The novel takes place in a theoretical and fictional totalitarian society. The story begins in London on April 4, 1984 after an atomic world war divides the world into three states. London is the capital of Oceania, run by INGSOC (English Socialism) or controllers called The Party, which is divided into two sections; The Inner Party, and The Outer Party which are the Rich and the Middle-Class. A third group called The Proles or The Proletariat is the poor, and considered animals by the party. The leader of the government is Big Brother. The novel is divided into three parts: In the first part he commits a thoughtcrime, in the second he falls in love and is deceived by a member of the Inner Party, and in the third he is incarcerated and rehabilitated by the Party.
1984 by George Orwell is a story of a man??™s struggle against a totalitarian government that controls the ideas and thoughts of its citizens by using advanced mind reading techniques. The novel is supposed to be prophetic, but is somewhat off in the date. Although some things described have come to pass others haven??™t. I believe Orwell??™s purpose for writing 1984 was to express his feelings of how governments could come to control anything and everything they wished. By using the image of a man who stood in shadow thus making him anonymous and unrecognizable, he let people know that they could not escape the eyes of Big Brother.
Orwell uses his imagination to describe future technology, like telescreens that would be used to control the people of the world. Today we are making things that Orwell described like the telescreens. He uses comparisons of the real world to the world of his story: the image of Emmanual Goldstein bares a remarkable likeness to Hitler, and the joining of countries to form an alliance for a common good, are similar to the United Nations or NATO.
A totalitarian society, although it provides control for the people, also that denies them freedom of expression. The fictional society in George Orwell??™s 1984 stands as a metaphor for a totalitarian society in which communication, personal beliefs, and individual loyalty to the government are all controlled. Current society in America is much more democratic. It contrasts with Orwell??™s society of 1984 because the individual determines all communication, personal beliefs and the people??™s loyalty to the government.
In the novel, Newspeak is a modified version of language that is forced upon the people in order to limit their expression. Syme and Winston, two middle-class workers in Oceania, discuss the concept of Newspeak. Syme reveals that he supports the system, demonstrating how he has been brainwashed by the Inner Party who enforces the system. ???It??™s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words… You haven??™t a real appreciation for Newspeak, Winston… Don??™t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought In the end we shall make thougtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.??? (p. 46)
One can detect from this quotation that the people of Oceania, as a group, have been brainwashed by the Inner Party. Syme, for one, understands the purpose of it, and he still complies with the system because he has been trained to do so. The concept of Newspeak is designed to control personal beliefs of the citizens by limiting their form of expression. But when the governing system is not followed, Thought Police are used to prevent thoughts that oppose the nation. ???How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time.??? (p. 6) There is no doubt that – through both Newspeak and Thought Police – the system of government in 1984 has adequately prevented the people from thinking against it. At the end of the story, after Winston is accused by the Thought Police of thoughtcrime and is tortured, he finally conforms to the general thoughts of Oceania. “He had finally won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.??? (p. 245) This quote indicates that the Inner Party has done everything that was necessary to preserve Winston??™s loyalty to the nation. He has now been ???fixed??? to support it and love its leader.
The story of 1984 reflects a society that sharply contrasts with America today. While Orwell??™s objective was primarily written to exaggerate the Totalitarian/Communist and other conditions of society surrounding him at the time, 1984 presents an important guide to life for modern Americans. Just as a major objective of learning American History is to ensure that we do not repeat our mistakes, 1984 can give warnings to both government systems and individuals regarding how society should not be controlled. The vigorous control system presented in the book, stands as a model by which no American would want to live.
George Orwell is the pen name of Eric Arthur Blair, a British writer with a political conscience. He was born in India but educated in England at Eton College. He served the Indian Imperial Police in Burma from 1922 to 1927. In ill health, he returned to Europe to live in poverty as a struggling writer. Orwell joined the Republican Forces in the Spanish Civil War, and wrote a chilling account of this experience. He went on to write many books, mostly autobiographical, and achieved success as a brilliant writer.