Nearly every aspect of the society in 1984 by George Orwell was controlled by The Government. The citizens of Oceania were physically controlled and confined to eating and drinking only certain things, living in designated areas, and participating in regulated activities. As physical control was relatively easy to establish using force, The Government also had full mental control over the people. This was accomplished through the regulation of media, music, poetry, and literature; but most importantly through written records such as newspapers, history books, and historical images. Written records composed by anyone other than The Government did not exist (or were extremely hard to find), leaving the population with only one source of flawed information. The people had only one constant mindset that they were accustomed to. Everything they had ever learnt and every piece of information they had ever possessed (starting at a young age through picture books and children’s poems) came from The Government. Not only did The Government control what the people thought, but they also controlled how much they were able to think. Through the Newspeak language, the Inner Party was able to control the array of thought altogether. The Government was ultimately able to control the entire human mind through language and written records.
The Inner Party desired full control over the people mentally. To achieve this type of control, they were able to substantially lower the people’s range of thought. This was accomplished through the shortage of usable words using the Newspeak language. “Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten” (Orwell 55). If the people had fewer words to use when speaking, they were not fully able to express themselves. Language directly affects thoughts as it is primarily used when thinking; if there is an absence of language, there is an absence of thought, and if there is an absence of thought, there is an absence of expression and individuality. The diminishing of the range of thought was one of the leading factors in controlling the people mentally yet it was not the only one.
Historical documents were very important and they played a major role in the lives of the people. If The Government announced that the standard of living was better than before , and there were no written documents to dispute their claim, it meant that it was true. If no historical records of a certain time period existed, it meant that the time period had not existed, and no one questioned it. “Beyond the late ’fifties everything faded. When there were no external records that you could refer to, even the outline of your own life lost its sharpness” (Orwell 34). Through the absence of historical information during a certain period of time, the Inner Party was able to virtually erase the memories of the people. "The truth about stories is that that's all we are" (Thomas King), and if there were no stories, there was nothing.
The fact that the people had little to no memory of anything before the revolution meant that the Party was able to fabricate lies based on the revolution and anything before it. “He who controls the past, ran the party slogan, controls the future: who controls the present controls the past” (Orwell 37). It was a widely known and accepted fact that before the revolution, the living conditions were substantially worse. “There was the most terrible oppression, injustice, poverty – worse than anything we can imagine” (Orwell 93); and that subsequently, The Party greatly improved everything. The Party was the one who saved the people from poverty…