1984 - George Orwell Essay

This essay has a total of 1318 words and 5 pages.

1984 - George Orwell


Throughout the evolution of man, power and control have been idealized. When power is
attained by manipulative dictators, citizens may initially view them as a means to satisfy
their need for structure and direction. An author's grim prophecy of mankind in a
totalitarian society is depicted in George Orwell's, 1984. Citizens in Oceania are
governed by the Party Big Brother, which succeeds in controlling their actions and minds.
The concept of oppression is taken to a new level, until there is no sense of humanity
within the society.

Natural instincts and emotions do not exist for the citizens in Oceania, as they are
conditioned since birth to be working bodies, lacking mercy and compassion. "By careful
early conditioning, by games and cold water, by the rubbish that was dinned into them at
school and in the Spies and the Youth League, by lectures, parades, songs, slogans and
martial music, the natural feeling had been driven out of them." (Orwell, p.71) The main
repetitive means of conditioning were the Party slogans which citizens must adhere to; War
is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength. War is linked with peace and
security, rather than horror and grief. Freedom is viewed as being an individual,
therefore more susceptible to torture. The individual is defeated and therefore enslaved
to the government rather than being apart of the government. In result, there is no
freedom of thought, expression, language, religion, etc. Ignorance is bliss since there is
no need to criticize the government and therefore, fewer confrontations.

The proles (proletariats) in the novel are allowed and appreciate primitive emotions. Sex,
scent, expression, and the true sense of freedom embody this in the novel. It is ironic
that they reserve a sense of humanity, yet are considered inhumane. Eighty five per cent
of Oceania's population is proles, and they are unaware of their potential power. "If
there is hope, it lies in the proles. Until they become conscious they will never rebel,
and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious." (Orwell, p.52) Although
it could lead to a counter-revolution, they are content in the purity of their lives, and
see no need for power since they have not yet been exposed to the oppression in Oceania.
"The lower strata of the middle class - the small tradespeople, shopkeepers, and retired
tradesmen generally, the handicraftsmen and peasants - all these sink gradually into the
proletariat, partly because their diminutive capital does not suffice for the scale on
which modern industry is carried on…" (Feuer) This contrasts the bourgeoisie (i.e. Big
Brother, the inner party) who are driven by power, are considered socially superior, and
are the ones responsible for the struggle between the classes within their regime. They
successfully change the upper class (outer Party members) to fit their image, and it is
only a matter of time before they attempt to convert the proles. The inner party dictates
to the upper class that speaking to the proles is considered social deviation, therefore
these two realms are impermeable.

One way of implementing the structure is to keep all physical objects in society comprised
of the Party configuration. Their market, their attire, and products are screened, and
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