Nineteen-eighty-four is a dystopian novel written by George Orwell in 1949.
Basically, in this novel, George Orwell discusses how the world would be in future if we don’t pay enough attention or are not careful with our choices.The novel is set in Oceania, London. Oceania is a place which is controlled by Big Brother and its parties. The story is mainly focused on the character Winston Smith who oppresses the idea of how the party controls Oceania. Despite the strict and uncompromising rules, Winston dares to fall in love with a girl named Julia and commits a thoughtcrime – by writing down his cynical thoughts.One of the themes of the book is Reality Control.
This theme about how the Party takes control of everyone through a combination of surveillance, terror, and propaganda. Basically, the Party’s job is to punish anyone who may cause crime in future by torture, imprisonment, and vaporization. There are many telescreens all around Oceania, even in your bedrooms. They basically remind you that the Big Brother is watching you at all times and that if you commit any crime, they will know. The telescreen makes you want to live in fear and has no privacy. Another way the Party controls the minds of the people is by destroying historical evidence that contradicts what the Party wishes the people to believe: for instance when the Party reduces the chocolate ration, it also eliminates any information that would make it possible for anyone to verify that the chocolate ration had once been larger. Winston’s job is to rewrite any newspaper article or story into something that the Party wants or supports its policy.
The Party constantly changes its facts in order to support their policies. Books in the past that does not follow the policy or are written ‘falsely’ are destroyed or turned into Newspeak, a form of English designed by the Party to lack words that are considered unnecessary or dangerous, and which thereby prevents revolutionary thoughts.Here is a quotation from the book that demonstrates the theme; Reality Control. ”To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowingthem to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself—that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word “doublethink” involved the use of doublethink.
” (1984, Part 2, chapter 3)The official language of Oceania is called Newspeak. Any other language in the world gains new words and the language becomes even larger. However, for Newspeak, the words get lesser and lesser, by replacing the words that do not support the policy of the Party. Therefore, for example, because the word “good” presumes the opposite of “bad,” the word “bad” is unnecessary. Similarly, all degrees of “goodness” can be expressed simply by adding standard prefixes and suffixes to this one root word: ungood (bad) and plus good (very good) and double-plus-good (wonderful). In so doing, Newspeak not only eliminates “unnecessary” words, but it also promotes a narrowing of thought and, therefore, awareness. Hence this created an idea that when someone expresses less language, the mind speaks less, therefore, it eliminates useless thoughts. Newspeak is an example of how the Party controls the citizens of Oceania.
When George Orwell was writing this book, there was a war going on. Even in his earlier life, he experienced many wars and struggles. So he displays the truth about the world in his writing and the characters he made. According to CliffsNotes, of his own writing, Orwell has said that he writes because there is some kind of lie that he has to expose, some fact to which he wants to draw attention.
Orwell certainly does this in 1984, a novel fraught with a political purpose, meaning, and warning. There are, indeed, some similarities between Orwell’s 1984 and today. For example, in 1984 the Party uses telescreens and helicopters to monitor people and today, government (NSA) uses cell phones to track people around the world and government military use drones to spy on people if they do any illegal work. But is this a bad thing? Is today a horrible nightmare George Orwell describes in his book? I doubt it.
The world today is much more evolved and improving from all the wars and beginning to be more open-minded. However, we may never know when the tables will turn.