1984: Nineteen Eighty-four and Modern Society Essay

Submitted By Joey-Seibel
Words: 825
Pages: 4

In our modern society, one must be aware of government threats to our privacy and freedoms. George Orwell presents a very real fear of extreme government control. His character Winston Smith chooses to rebel against the government, but ultimately comes up short. In 1984 Orwell’s theme is that oppressive governments are a very real threat to freedom, not only in his world but in real life too. Big Brother’s surveillance makes people fear for their lives. The constant paranoia of being watched causes a deterioration of society. Many posters throughout the city have the slogan, “Big Brother is watching you,” plastered on them. The citizens of Oceania become paranoid and untrusting because they know they are being watched at all times. A person’s house is supposed to be a private place, but people in this society are stripped of that luxury by telescreens that monitor their every move. Winston describes his society as a place where it is, “terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within the range of a telescreen.” This causes some serious mental problems with the citizens, because they have no way of expressing their true feelings. The abusive government in 1984 not only divides sections of society, but also tears apart individual families. Winston believes that, “by mean of such organizations as the Spies (the children) were systematically turned into ungovernable little savages,”. In this backwards society, it seems the power is out of place; the kids have more control over their parents. The ruling class in 1984 uses excessive surveillance to keep the citizens in check. The government in 1984 uses brainwashing throughout the book to keep the citizens oppressed. When words are repeated throughout a book, they tend to carry a greater meaning to the characters. Orwell repeatedly uses phrases such as the “Victory Mansions” and “Victory Gin” to make the citizens believe they live in a prosperous society. This is a technique that many oppressive leaders, such as Adolf Hitler and Mao Zedong, have used throughout history to brainwash the people of their nation. The government shows complete control over the citizens and can manipulate them to believe insane things. After being tortured and held prisoner, Winston finally realizes that “2+2=5” is in fact true. O’Brien makes Winston question everything, and he can no longer tell what the truth is or what Big Brother says is the truth. To make brainwashing easier the party begins altering people’s minds at a young age. Big brother has trained children to mistrust everyone and shout “Traitor!” and “Thought Criminal!” if they see their parents doing anything suspicious. This not only brainwashes children and their parents, but also has a larger effect on society by creating a mistrusting nature. The oppressive government in 1984 uses brainwashing to mold the citizens to their liking. The government in 1984 attempts to halt the progress of society and limit its knowledge in many ways. The Party attempts to create a feeling among the people that it is omnipotent, making the population rely on it even more. If Big