Freedom of speech, freedom of your owns thoughts and actions, the right to happiness. In our society today, we have all these rights, but imagine if we did not. 1984, written by George Orwell, and V for Vendetta, directed by James McTeigue, both paint accurately scary descriptions about the government in the future and the dystopian society. 1984, written in 1949, was intended to be a portrayal of the future and V for Vendetta, made in 2005, shows Britain in power in 2038. Both of these pieces of literature were not far off from their description. As every single year passes by, our own society starts to reflect images from these books.
When the government has this much power over the people, the people rebel, but can they be a success or not? 1984, written by George Orwell, illustrates a perfect example of a dystopian government. The setting is in Oceania, Britain. The government is full of spies and secret police that carefully watch the common people for any mistake they might make that can harm the government in any way. As shown with Winston Smith, the protagonist of the novel and many other citizens in Oceania, the government manipulates these characters into their pawns. The government asserts their power over the people in many ways.
They have large telescreens in the people’s houses. The telescreens show the government what people are doing at all times. It can be dimmed down, but can never be turned off. Although Oceania is well off in money, the government rations food. The government’s philosophy is that if the people are given too much to eat, then they will learn to think for themselves and will see all the atrocities that the government commits and rebel. All the records of the past have been omitted and destroyed and created all over again to fit the government’s beliefs and to show that the government is always right.
Big Brother has its own secret police, the Thought Police. The thought police come at night to arrest you for having committed a thought crime, which is thinking anything against the government. When the thought police come for a person, they are taken away to the Ministry of Love, where they are tortured for the crimes they have committed. The use of torture includes electrical shock, starvation, being beaten up, being mercilessly questioned over and over again, and other means of physical, mental, and psychological torture. Knowing all this, Winston decides to get involved with a woman named Julia.
He is sexually attracted towards her and so is she. Having a relationship with someone or even just being friends with someone implies that you will be loyal to them and perhaps even more loyal to them than to Big Brother. That is one of the things that the government will not tolerate. The people’s loyalty lies only to the government and nowhere else. One day, Winston and Julia are caught and they find out that even before their relationship started, they had been under constant surveillance. This shows that the government really does manipulate the people as pawns into their game.
They had set a trap for Winston and Julia. This also shows the dystopian society that these people live in, where the government has so much power over the people. The people are helpless under the government and Big Brother controls their thoughts and actions. In the movie V for Vendetta, Guy Fawkes is the inspiration for the coming revolution that grips Britain. On November 5, 1605, Catholic conspirators, including Fawkes, were thought to be attempting to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London, England, which is known as the Gunpowder Plot. V, the protagonist, uses Fawkes’ story as the mold for his revolution.
Set in 2038, Britain is a totalitarian regime when V rises up. Shown as in a flashback, V is getting revenge for what the government has done to him. V was a victim in an experiment that the government was doing. The goal of the experiment was that since England had enemies, the government was testing drugs and other medicines on common people, including V, to see if people would survive if a nuclear war ever occurred. The government had been testing on the unwanted. Throughout the course of the movie, the kids in St. Mary’s die because of an infection.
The government had a pill and the power to stop it, but they chose not to because they wanted to instill fear in the people. This shows the government’s power on the people. The government then covers up the true facts and records by saying the deaths were an epidemic. On November 5th, on the anniversary of Fawkes, V decides to blow up the Parliament building. Blowing up the building is a symbol that the power is really with the people, and the government should be scared of the people, not the other way around. Winston Smith, the protagonist of 1984, is not attractive at all. He’s 39 ears old, fat, short, has red hair, and has a varicose ulcer that’s peeling away on his leg. Before even meeting Julia, he hates Big Brother. He often wishes to rebel, except he doesn’t think that he can take on Big Brother by himself. He thinks that if there’s hope of rebelling, it lies with the proles (the lowest group of people in society who are considered to be savages). Winston’s main goal is to establish a rebellion and to get rid of the totalitarian government for now and for future generations. Except, that he has no idea where to begin. Even if he did, there would be no guarantee at all of him carrying out a successful rebellion.
The Party members have no way of communicating with each other and under the watchful eye of Big Brother, they will never be able unite and rebel together because of the fear instilled in them. That is why the proles are the only hope because they do not have many rules to follow. To start off with, Winston has a weak characterization. He has no real power and relies on the government. Accomplishing his goal would not be an easy feat for him. He is one person against the power of many. Winston decides to join the Brotherhood, which is a secret organization that rebels against Big Brother.
Hardly any information is given about the Brotherhood, except that Emmanuel Goldstein is part of it. Goldstein is the biggest traitor to the party and the biggest hero to the revolution. He is considered a traitor because he went against the Party’s teachings and had the nerve to question and fight them back. Before Winston and Julia are caught, he tells her that they’re dead people. Julia doesn’t understand him and says that they’re very much alive. But what Winston really meant was that Julia’s and his fate was sealed even before they began to secretly rebel.
They were doomed to be caught and be vaporized (disappeared from society so it is like they never existed). That is Winston’s biggest flaw and one of his biggest obstacles. He knows that from the beginning that they will be caught because he believes that they have no real power and that all the power lies in the hands of the government. Knowing what the consequences will be, he goes ahead and commits a crime. Another one of Winston’s obstacles is his fear of rats. His fear will come into play later on in the novel. After he’s caught and taken to the Ministry of Love, he gives in to the physical torture that’s ensued upon him.
His biggest weakness and second biggest obstacle is Julia. They had promised each other that they would never betray each other. Winston loves Julia and owes all loyalty to her, a common theme of the novel. Except to accomplish his goal, he would have had to never loved her at all. Loving her made him even weaker and more susceptible to being manipulated by the government. Tired of being starved, of the questioning over and over again, and the electric shocks, he’s given in to everything except that he has not betrayed Julia, until Room 101.
Everyone knows about Room 101; people would rather die and have their families die than to go to Room 101. Room 101 varies with people. It’s a person’s worst fear in the world and Winston’s worst fear is rats. Given the possibility that the rats will tear and eat away at his face, Winston cracks under the pressure and says “Do it to Julia, not to me, do it to her. Rip her face apart. ” In V for Vendetta, V is characterized as a vengeful character. He wants to get revenge for what was done to him at the detention center and he also wants to bring the government down. His goal is to get people to revolt with him.
On November 5th, he goes on TV and promises that 1 year from that day (also November 5th) that he blow up the Parliament building, which is a huge blow to the government’s power. November 5th shall never be forgotten. V wears a Guy Fawkes mask throughout the entire film, so it is not as easy for the police to identify him because thousands of other rebels wear the masks, inspired by V’s ideas. One of V’s obstacles is Evey Hammond, who turns out to be his love interest. Evey tells him that he’s a monster and that he should look at what he’s doing. Troubled by Evey’s accusations, V leaves the choice of blowing up the building to Evey.
The police catch up to V and shoot him and V dies, but do his ideas die? Winston never accomplishes his goal but the government accomplished their goal, which was to make Winston a puppet of Big Brother. Winston won the victory over himself, which was to love Big Brother. He became so enthralled by Big Brother and was very easily manipulated into believing all of the Party’s teachings. Winston is not a hero. When Winston learned to love Big Brother, he became a common person again, because it showed that he has no power of controlling how he thinks and feels and rather the government had the power to control his innermost actions.
He did not accomplish what he had set out to do, but rather Winston is the example that shows the government’s power over the people and exactly what the government is capable of doing. He didn’t make an impact on society because the society never knew what happened to him, except for Julia. For him to have made an impact, the people had to have known what he had done, but they never find out what had happened. No one is affected by the torture Winston had gone through. For Winston to be a success, he would have had to never fallen in love with Julia. Falling in love made him weak and loyal to her, which the government could not stand.
Had he been completely alone, perhaps he could have accomplished his goal, because he owed his loyalty to no one and it would have not been as easy to break down Winston. V does accomplish his goal. He may have died, but Evey did not let his ideas die. She bestows roses upon his body and puts him on the train that has a bomb on it, which then blows up the building. V dies, but his revolution didn’t. For his revolution to be a success, it was important that he died. By dying, he made a bigger impact on society, because it was like he was a martyr for the people.
He gave up his life, but never did he give up rebelling. He may have died, but he was a legacy for the people. 1984 and V for Vendetta are two pieces of literature that can never be forgotten, even if you wish to. Their powerful words and images capture the reader’s mind because of the startling, realistic view it portrays. Giving so much power to the government only weakens the people to the point as to where the people do not even have power over themselves, which is a frightening thought. Remember, remember the Fifth of November, remember, remember that Big Brother is always watching you.