Power of Politics in 1984 The novel 1984, by George Orwell is based on the city of Oceania’s government. The power of the government is shown through theory of “big brother” that is constantly watching its citizens. Big brother abuses its political powers by manipulating and controlling the citizens. Many experts have criticized the novel by providing their stance on the novel and how it relates to other historical focal points that have similarities to the totalitarian society established in 1984.
Main characters Winston and Julia seem to be the only ones in Oceania who are aware of he corrupt government while other citizens are blind. In 1984, Oceania is centered around a totalitarian regime, where the political system is focused on gaining and maintaining power among the citizens through complete control and surveillance. The government in 1984 is run by a group of individuals knowns as the party. The party manipulates and regulates their citizens through a system of propaganda. The concept of propaganda is first introduced within the first chapter of the novel, where it reads “Big brother is watching you”(Orwell 2).
The phrase refers to the surveillance of Big Brother with cameras and people who re listening at all times, in the totalitarian society. Everyone in the society is under the surveillance of the party, which reminds them of an endless catchphrase “Big Brother is watching You”, This shows a dictator’s mindset of a Big Brother. Generally, the idea conveys a line of propaganda, meaning citizens have to follow what the dictatorial government wants them to do, and if they do not, Big Brother because of the constant of surveillance over the citizens.
Expert Charles Elkins mentions in his criticism of the novel that “Big brother is watching you has seared our political consciousness and become a part of political discourse nd reality” Elkins is referring to how the authorities alter their citizens mind into having perceptions of falseness into believing it is reality. The dystopian society where the novel takes place stands as a metaphor for a totalitarian regime, due to the control that the inner party has over the communities communication, personal beliefs, and individual loyalty.
In the totalitarian society members are constantly reminded what is expected from them from their superiors. This is frequently seen around Oceania for example, the novel states “From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its hite face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party:WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH”(Orwell ). The quote shows how the inner party ensures that their slogans are embedded in the minds of the members of the society by posting posters all around Oceania.
The party uses the strategy of placing constant reminders of their slogans everywhere as a method of how a totalitarian power seeks to exert influence over its society. Expert Malcolm Pittock writes in his article in regard to 1984 that “In 1984 Orwell depicts a society which, strictly speaking can ever exist because its rulers have the kind of powers traditionally attributed to demons”. Pittock believes this because of the closed immobility of the society in which the society ultimately depends on its higher authority for certain resources that them as individuals can not personally have access to.
This goes to show how Oceania is classified as a totalitarian society. Though the party forces all of the members of Oceania to conform, main character, Winston disagrees with Big Brother and believes that life was better before big brother, because of this he takes it upon himself to rebel against the inner party. Winston’s hate for the party is shown when Orwell writes “The hate that one felt was an abstract undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.. erided heretic on the screen sole guardian of truth and sanity in a world of lies(Orwell 16).
Winston’s hatred comes from his knowledge of the past in which he believes was a better life than the one involving big brother. Winston plans on his rebellion to be long term rather than short term. “To the future or the past to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do.. from the age of big brother rom the age of doublethink”(Orwell). It can be detected from this quotation that winston knows that there will not be a change in the political system in his lifetime.
Due to this he hopes for long-term rebellion in order to eventually overthrow the party. He knows that he alone can not do this alone so he hopes that the proles become conscious and aware of their own strength and join his rebellion. Although winston has a companion, Julia who rebels along side him, she rebels without a cause and has no care about what the government is doing. Julia and winston have wish for different outcomes, Winston opes for change while Julia is careless as to whether the rebellion follows through or if it does not.
Literary expert Thomas Horran writes in his article “each projected political fiction is plotted around.. an orthodox who either believes in the existing political system of has submitted to it without hope of deliverance. ” This quotation directly relates to the character Julia because of her lackadaisical attitude towards the outcome of the rebellion. The idea of freedom is directly explored throughout the novel, exploring the dystopian society’s concept of freedom is a major component.
Governmental control ystems extinguish freedoms of the public, but mainly the rights of the members of “the Party. For example, the Party hinders all people of Oceania from receiving the fair amount of household items, like shoelaces and pots and pans. Living without the bare necessities of life is only asking for a poverty ridden society. Not only do personal needs need to be met but also needs of love. However, members of Oceania were taught that loving is against the inner party rules and that the only reason for marriage is to produce more members for the party;”a real love affair is almost an unthinkable event” (Orwell 9).
A world without love is a world filled with hate; crime is high and anger is spread throughout. The government in Oceania has the control and compliance of everyone because the control that they have over the society’s mind. The mind is the most important part to any being and having control over the mind is solely having complete control over the person. Literary expert Charles Elkins writes that “Orwell’s Inner Party takes rebellion to its logical conclusion in its punishment of thoughtcrime”. This reveals how the party’s mind control even extends to the thoughts of their citizens.
In 1984, Oceania is centered around a totalitarian regime, where the political system is focused on gaining and maintaining power among the citizens through complete control and surveillance. Oceania’s government completely contrasts with that of America today. The objective of 1984 was to shine light on the conditions of a totalitarian society. The novel 1984 can be used as an example as to how government systems should not be ran and as a way to display how individuals should not be treated. The political system presented in the novels serves as a model of how no American should want or have to live.