Thet Paing ZawMr. DeMartiniEnglish 1222 December 2017Power”Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past” (Orwell 44).
Since most people are not able to study the past in great detail, we rely on others’ accounts written as literary pieces and learn from them. We learn from the mistakes of our past to improve our actions of the present. Therefore, by changing the past we can affect both the present and future.
In the novel 1984, by George Orwell, he portrays the absolute control of Big Brother over the citizens of Oceania. When the party takes over and establishes totalitarianism, their most important job is to break down self-confidence, humanity in people and take away their individuality and freedom of thought. The party uses a variety of techniques to maintain their power and control their members. They use telescreen, children spies, newspeak and doublethink to become the sole authority. In Oceania, the party members are always under the danger of being watched through telescreens.
“There was no place where you could be more certain that the telescreens were watched continuously” (Orwell 107). The telescreen is used by the party to monitor party members’ movements, facial expressions and conversions as a means of instilling fear. The party demands undivided loyalty from its citizen on all the actions for Oceania. For the party, loyalty means accepting everything without any questions or hesitations. Additionally, the telescreen cannot be turned off which gives us more detail into its purpose.
It also serves as a deterrent of committing crimes or rebellion knowing that Big Brother is always watching. Also the party uses manipulative propaganda that is constantly steamed out from the telescreens to convince the citizens into making assumptions that the party is improving their lifestyle. As a result, it leads the party members to unconsciously believe the reports from the telescreen and eventually subjugate themselves to Big Brother as their savior without any resistance. Furthermore, the announcement on the telescreen always uses large and increasing numbers, altered by the Ministry of Truth, to show increasing quality of life. Through constant repetition of manipulated information, the party members started to believe that their improved lifestyle only existed under the control and management of the Big Brother Party. Not only party members are surveillanced by the telescreen, there is always the danger of being watched by fellow citizens.
“The children, on the other hand, were systematically turned against their parents and taught to spy on them and report their deviation…” (Orwell 133). Not only is fear instilled on the citizens, but it also prevents them from living a free and healthy life. The citizens are constantly worried about being watched and being heard even in their own houses.
The party uses a very effective way of manipulating people: taking in children when they are young and impressionable, and using propaganda, to turn them into their own, junior spies. The party instills junior spies with fanatic patriotism to convince the children to work for the Party. Since the children are not smart enough to understand, it is significantly easy to control them through a simple rewards system. Once the children have been taught to accept the party, they will no longer be loyal to anyone else.
The party uses junior spies to further extend the surveillance forces. In a family, children know their parents better than others thus they will be able to notice any subtle differences in behavior. They are required to report to thought police if any citizens are suspected of committing thought crimes, including family members. For their actions, they are rewarded with acknowledgement.
The party will honor them as a hero for selflessly helping protect Oceania. These recognitions from the party motivate children to inform more about people including their parents and neighbors to thought police. An example in 1984 is Parsons’ children. We can see how Parsons’ is put into Ministry of Love because her daughter tells the patrols about her father when she hears him saying “Down with Big Brother” in his sleep. It is ultimate horror, destruction of humanity and love to have your own children betraying you. Thought police are everywhere throughout Oceania monitoring all the telescreens and hunting down all the people who commit crime or appear to be disloyal.
No matter where people go, they are being watched. Any thoughts of rebellion or indication of lacking patriotism are considered as a thought crime and the punishment for such crime is vaporization, meaning the person will be eliminated from the world and history completely. Since emotional responses are often built from thoughts, the party hopes to control all the thoughts people have. But language is intricately related to thought.
The use of language can be a major threat to the party because it provides meaning to and stimulates thoughts. The choice of words and meanings offer and empowers individuals’ thinking, which the party considers as a potential threat. “Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words to which to express.” (Orwell 56). The reduction of the range of thought is step in the party’s main goal of reducing the human race to an unintelligent population where people are trained to blindly obey their leaders. Since the people are created to completely obey orders they have no individual freedoms. Additionally, the party uses doublethink, a process whereby individual are expected to deliberately tell lies while genuinely believing in them. This process allows the party members to deceive themselves and at the same time remain convinced of the contradictory statements.
For instance in 1984, while announcing, the party changes the enemy of war from Eurasia to East Asia instantaneously without a pause and all the party members accept this without any questions. Party members are used to doublethink and must master it because any doubt toward the party can result in vaporization. By forcing doublethink, it allows the party to manipulate everything including history. War in 1984 has become a useful tool to control proles. Poverty enables the party to make the proles incapable of thinking beyond survival.
Furthermore, wars are also constant threats for prole population. Their expectation of lives is lower because they are always at risk of death through war. Survival becomes the primary goal for proles thus eliminating any suspicions towards the party. They are physically and mentally worn by their lives so that they are in no position to further sacrifice for rebellion. Additionally, the party allows them to have as much entertainment as they want such as gambling, alcohol and pornography, ensuring that the proles are kept amused. In conclusion, 1984 portrays a dystopian society that has lost individuality and humanity through the take over of totalitarian powers. The citizens of Oceania are physically alive, but emotionally they are crushed by the party.
Our humanity, freedom, emotions, and ability to think and recognize truths are what separate us from animals. 1984 is a warning for us to uphold our humanity and to make sure we are living in a free society no matter what. We must overcome totalitarianism through unity and openness. We cannot let what happens in 1984 happen to our lives and our generation.Work CitedOrwell, George. 1984.
Signet Classics, 2016.