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1984 fact or fiction misc 12 00
Since the onset of the United States, Americans have always viewed the future in two ways; one, as the perfect society with a perfect government, or two, as a communistic hell where free will no longer exists and no one is happy. The novel 1984 by George Orwell is a combination of both theories. On the "bad" side, a communist state exists which is enforced with surveillance technology and loyal patriots. On the "good" side, however, everyone in the society who was born after the hostile takeover, which converted the once democratic government into a communist government, isn't angry about their life, nor do they wish to change any aspect of their life. For the few infidels who exist, it is a maddening existence, of constant work and brainwashing. George Orwell's novel was definitely different from the actual 1984, but how different were they?
1984 starts out with a so called "traitor to the party," Winston Smith, walking through the streets nervously observing the video cameras that are watching his every move. He makes his way into his apartment and produces a journal from his coat pocket. He thinks that even this simple act of attempting to keep track of time and history could get him vaporized. This scene portrays the strong grip the government has on its patrons. A person either obeys them, or is killed, or put into a forced labor camp. After Winston starts an illegal affair with a younger woman he gets careless and "the party" finds out that he has committed what they call "thought crimes". A thought crime is the intent to do something illegal but not actually doing it. In Winston's world a thought crime is just as severe as a physical crime. They arrest him and his girlfriend and torture them until they realize what they did was wrong and that they love "the party" and will never do anything to hurt it again.
Since the publication in 1949, Orwell’s novel has consistently trigured heated debates about whether or not our society has become like Oceania, how accurate Orwell’s predictions were, and which political parties’ philosophies most resemble Ingsoc. The political right and the political left have both used 1984 as the vasis for any number of attacks upon their counterparts. One should remember, however, that Orwell never tells us whether the Party’s genesis grew our of the right or the left. The Party name of Ingsoc bears no more resemblance to socialism than it does to facism. Even the old man in the bar cannot remember “whose fault” Ingsoc is. To tell you the truth, it really doesn’t matter. While both the right and left have hailde this novel as exposing extreme intentions of the other olitical part, the fact of the matter is that Orwell was a very smart man and recognized that dictatorship is dictatorship- regardless of what poliical creed the government espouses. Never once in the novel do we hear mention of the Party’s “uplifting the workers’ struggle” or “saving individual rights from desecration by the Huns.” There simply are no politics in Oceania. In today’s society, everything is politcs. Its all about who you know, and who can get you what you want. Today politicians in America are concerned about the struggles hard working Americans face each day. But critics feel that the central idea that Orwell tried to get across is the fact that Oceania can spring up from any society or government. Orwell places the capital right in the heart of the nations that most represent freedom and individual rights, the United States and Britain. From a historical context, Orwell looked at the ravages of World War II that had yet to be repaired, and he saw the great poers ready to do glovbla battle again. Orwell shows us that life in Oceania is dreary agony. The people have been reduced to a lower level of cicilization; they have become little more than urban savages. The war that is supposedly being fought with jEast Asia or Eurasia is mirrored by the war between individuals within the Party. The greatest pessimism expressed in 1984 is that war will be endless and that society will not recover its humanity. War in many ways has become the worlds biggest pastime. Newspapers, radios and televisions are constantly bombarded with stories of war and rampage from around the world. The world we live in resembles Orwell’s depiction of Oceania in many ways. We lack humanity and in many ways fell that violice is the only solution to oru problems.
Orwell is a socialist at heart, and he was a zealot for democracy in spirit. 1984 is a call for individualism and independence from a government’s structural control and social organization. There must be a check on unbridled power. One cannot count on the goodness of people. This quest for total power by "The Party" is an excellent dramatization of Lord Acton's famous apothegm, "power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." "The Party" seems like it won't stop until it controls the minds of everyone under it's power, and has complete physical and psychological surveillance on all people at all time. This is exemplified in the fact that the government can look back at you through your television, or telescreen as it is called in the book, and the governmet has set up telescreens almost anywhere you can go. While they don't have telescreens in unpopulated country sides, they have gone through the trouble to place hidden microphones disgused as flowers in those areas. and while there are real no laws, the thought police can spy on your thoughts at anytime, and can arrest and kill you on a whim. This policy is mythical. It is not really used for punishment, but to scare everyone else into being good citizens.
1984 offers us the proposisition that the government excludes each and every member of its society from one another. While the same has been said of our country, the best example of this condition is Russia’s choosing to oppress its pople by economic privitation, police intimidation, and surveilance. The worst criticism that can be made of our own government is its choosing not to do enough for its poor. This fundamental difference is however real and important. There are finite bounds on what a government can and cannot do. If this sounds like a tirade against the Soviet Union, it is meant to be; there are an estimated four million people in the Gulag Archipelago prison work camps. Many felt that rulers of Soviet Russia were doing what was best for its citizens, but history portrays a different story. Our own society, of course, is not without its faults, and it will probably never be perfect. But, foremost, 1984 was meant as a warning to all of us what life can be like if we cavalierly forget what civil and human rights are and what precious privileges they are.
Orwell was amazingly accurate in some of his predictions. His perceptions about global political ships and the emergence of permanent zones of war have proven to be all but too correct. He foresaw a nuclear arms buildup, grossly biolent movies, and the use of helicopters in warfare. On other issues, he was partly right and partly wrong. He envisioned the deification of political learders in the West, and he predicted that television would become the principal means of communication to mass audiences. He underestimated, however, its curbing effect upon audiences expossed to live footage of wars. Such footage has tended, increasingly, to make war less glorious. And Orwell completely micalculated his prediction that science would stagnate and technological advancement would stall.
Some of the more interesting creations in the novel include: the Two Minutes Hate, letters which can be checked off instead of written, and speakwrite (which has just been invented). Orwell’s use of acronyms and short-form names for complex ideas and devices, however, shows us how rapidly we have become to rely on new abbreviations for new concepts which we accept as
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