19848 misc 12 00

In 1949, the world was a substantially different place than it is today. Thirty-five years
from now, in the year 2035, one can only imagine what changes will have taken place in
society. Thirty-five years ago, in 1949, George Orwell’s vision of the world as it would
be in 1984 was horrific. Orwell describes his vision in his book Nineteen Eighty-four.
“Nineteen Eighty-four depicts the horrors of a well-established totalitarian regime of
whatever type with great power and skill and force of imagination.”
The definition of totalitarianism is a system of government in which one political
party aims at total control over the lives of people, as by employing a powerful secret
police, restricting meetings and assemblies, and censoring publications. Orwell’s Nineteen
Eighty-four portrays a well-established totalitarian regime even from the beginning of the
book. “The thing that he[Winston] was about to do was to open a diary. This was not
illegal (nothing was illegal, since there were no longer any laws), but if detected it was
reasonably certain that it would be punished by death, or at least by twenty-five years in a
forced labor camp.(9)” This shows how the totalitarian government tried to obtain
complete control over the lives of people. The people are not afraid of defying law, they
are afraid of their own government’s secret police. These people are also afraid to meet
with a member of the opposite sex. They would be targeted by the secret police for
punishment for such an offense. “But the physical difficulty of[Winston and Julia] meeting
was enormous. It was trying to make a move at chess when you are already mated.
Whichever way you turned, the telescreen faced you.(92)” Winston was afraid of being
seen talking to Julia. He could hardly imagine a place with no telescreens or hidden
microphones for them to talk. The party controlled their lives.
Furthermore, another critic, Alfred Kasin, describes the book as “an extraordinary
experience...overwhelming in its keenness and prophetic power.” Orwell’s Nineteen
Eighty-four depicts keenness in such a way that not many other books do. Nineteen
Eighty-four is a cleverly written book that always keeps you wondering what will happen
next. When the event does happen, however, it is never what you had expected to
happen. Orwell’s vision also had prophetic power. Orwell must have made people who
read his book before 1984 ponder the future. Some people who read his book before
1984 might have even been scared of what was to come. It also has prophetic power
because Orwell somewhat predicted the future. In some countries at the present time,
people are being controlled by their governments. Not necessarily by totalitarianism, but
Orwell was on the right track.
Kasin also comments that “I hardly know which to praise more - Orwell’s insight
into the fate of man under totalitarianism, or his compassion for him.” The fate of man
under totalitarianism is that man will not be capable of independent thought outside of the
party. Man will also have little or no freedom to carry out normal activities as he did
before the revolution. Winston Smith was an immense enemy of the party. “His[Winston]
pen had slid voluptuously over the smooth paper, printing in large neat capitals- DOWN
WITH BIG BROTHER DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER...over and over again, filling half
a page.(19)” After the special police had apprehended Winston, they put him through
vigorous interrogation and physical torture. Eventually, they were able to change
Winston. not just on the outside, but on the inside as well. When Winston was released by
the party he was turned into a party supporting man that has no more independent thought
that doesn’t concern the party. “Then almost without pause he[Winston] wrote beneath it:
TWO AND TWO MAKE FIVE.(228)” Winston did this only because it was the wishes
of the party. He was completely changed.
In conclusion, Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four depicts a well-established
totalitarianism regime. Nineteen Eighty-four is a clever, keen story that has much
prophetic power. Orwell recognized the fate of man under totalitarianism years before it
even happened. A government should not be allowed to control the thoughts of its