The Power of Fear Essay examples

Submitted By atamasim
Words: 1815
Pages: 8

The Power of Fear Fear is a powerful thing. It can physically and mentally suppress a person, even when the desire to escape the fear is massive. Fear feeds off threat of pain and danger; off the uncertainty of what may lie ahead. But what is fear [19a]? Many see fear as the emotion a person feels when they recognize danger, but it is so much more. Fear is power [19]. If someone fears you, you may control them with a threat or persuade them with a suggestion or even order them with your eyes [4a]. This is precisely what the government in George Orwell's novel 1984 does in order to control their citizens. The 1984 government, The Party, is totalitarian, which translates to complete governmental control. Because leading Party members can do whatever they please, surveillance and severe punishments for law breakers are widespread. Not only does the government directly survey its people, but indirectly through the use of loyal citizens who report disloyal comrades. The Party's constant surveillance makes its citizens fear the government and each other. This fear leaves them feeling unsafe wherever they go as well as make them unable to trust one another at the risk of being vaporized. This society run by fear not only shows the dismal side of totalitarianism with its people being restricted, but also reveals a lack of progression [16]. Orwell uses 1984 as an opposition of using fear to govern as it does not only suppress individuals' ideas, freedom, and spirit, but because it suppresses the entire society from progressing. With everyone too afraid to go against their own government in fear of being harmed, no ideas other than those in charge may shape their society. People seldom watch what they say when their government values freedom of speech. The characters in 1984, however, are not so lucky. Constant surveillance by the Party forces the citizens of Oceania to restrict themselves. One of these methods of surveillance are the telescreens placed in each room, designed for continual, widespread watch. These telescreens are so severely monitored, even the most minuscule expression of disapproval towards the Party could get negative attention. For instance, while Winston is stretching during a Party enforced exercise routine in front of the telescreens, his mind wanders off, only to be jerked back by the commanding bark of the instructor: “6079 Smith W! Yes, you! Bend lower, please!” (34). Even amid the mundane practice of stretching, Party members like the instructor have their eyes on citizens like Winston to ensure they are doing exactly as the Party wishes. The malevolence in this is found in Winston's reaction to the attention: as “A sudden hot sweat” comes over him, he immediately warns himself to “Never show dismay! Never show resentment!” (34). The physical, fearful reaction he has to this tells the reader the Party is not looking for fit citizens, but for something else: compliance and obedience [10]. Furthermore, this fear shows how the Party has the power over Winston to control his actions through threat of harm. Telescreens and Party members are not the only eyes the government has on its people. Ancillary surveillance comes from regular citizens. Everyone in Oceania knows when someone shows disloyalty towards the Party, it is policy to report the traitor in order to protect the government. In order to create truly loyal citizens who will turn in anyone, regardless of who they are, the Party must have malleable minds to impress their ideas upon. In other words, children [20]. Get 'em while they are young, right? Children are corralled into a brainwashing organization called the Junior Spies, spending prime developing years being told the Ministries, the Party, and Big Brother are good. These children learn about the “glory” of their government, and how it is their duty as members of the society to help protect it. No one is off limits, not even family members. Just look at Parsons; picked up for thought crime,