1984 was written and published to provide readers with a picture of a state having a government that did not respect people`s rights. The conflicts were not only found between the governments and the people but also between the citizens too. It is because there were people who felt that they were above the law for the government did not take actions against them. Politicians who took advantage of the people because they believed to be right made the rift between the government and the citizens broader. Themes such as propaganda, the harsh rule of law, among others in the book are a reflection of how people were mistreated. The content of this paper will address how the book elaborates ways in which suppression of people`s freedom was done.
1984 by George Orwell is among the many books that showcase the history of people. The account is depicted to be faced with different challenges as people undergo various situations. The era portrayed in the book is during the period that people were denied their rights by the government. The book contains multiple themes that prove that the governing body did not care about its citizens. Also, it was during an era where citizens from many nations around the world especially the European countries complained of their governments failing to uphold social values. The governments were driven by the agenda of maintaining people`s silence. Constitutions did not matter during this crucial era as governments did not follow the laws. The officials holding government positions and politicians as well lacked integrity. They did not represent the needs of the people for they were driven by their motives. They only wanted to enrich themselves. They cooperated with the government in ensuring that people did not get what they deserved. Political instability was a common phenomenon in the nineteenth century due to the disagreements between the citizens and the governments.
The lack of an opposition party or people to ensure the government played its role is an unusual element that is portrayed in the book. Lack of individuals opposing the party facilitated the suppression of freedom. No single person in the book is free because the people in the book are showcased as individuals without liberty (Fox, 17). They are always brainwashed by the politicians in power so that they can follow the government. They never objected the decisions of the politicians. Also, people work for the party without question or sense of fairness. They execute their orders without pay like machines. The politicians took control of the citizens so that there would be no questions asked when the government made policies. In 1984, suppression of the people`s minds is a standard feature as propagandas were rampant. Fear lived in fear of questioning the politicians due to the propaganda they received.
False information was used to control how people perceived the laws and policies made for them. Publicity was the most effective weapon applied by the party in Oceania. It is because propagandas gave people a false impression of things. Citizens always thought that the party told them was the truth and they had no right or need to doubt. Their reasoning abilities were impaired with the use of two types of propaganda. The politicians used to twist the truth by creating double think propagandas or applying false information designed to instill fear in the citizens. Lies are perceived to control people`s thinking as thy shift people`s attention from crucial things in life to unimportant things. When people received misinformation, they focused on the wrong details thus failed to recognize the issues affecting them. This technique proved to be useful for the party. For instance, people did not question the party`s slogan. "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength" was the slogan of the party. Though being contradictory, people never thought of discussing its meaning. They were comfortable with what the politicians told them.
The governing portrayed by the book is an insensitive institution, yet the people loved it due to the party which ruled them. It is an incredible picture of the current regimes across all nations. The goal of the slogan was meant to make the people believe that they already had what they needed. People knew that peace was only achieved through war and violence. Also, they were meant to think that being slaves was a favor because they already had freedom by not knowing things which affected them. Making people ignorant is not a way of making them free as the book suggests. The politicians convinced the citizens that they could only strengthen themselves by being in the dark.
The slogan of the party changed the truth of the matter in that they thought the interests of the government were in line with their wants (Hammond, 41). It is because people had a perception that having desires that were different from those of the government would make them unhappy and bring suffering to their lives. No one was rebellious to the government because they were for the idea that the government controlled the nation in the best way possible. The level of surveillance used by the government was in contrary to the people`s rights. It was unethical and inappropriate to apply the slogan. Big brother is watching" this made people follow the instructions without questions because they knew that they were being viewed. The slogan was implemented in all places. Thus the whole nation was forced to follow the laws enacted by the government. The citizens knew that the part`s way of governing the country was the only option that could be applied hence could not ask for a change regardless of the situations they went through in their workplaces, hospitals and other places.
The book suggests how people used to follow the laws yet they were not sure of their actual existence for they only believed they existed as the party told them. Besides, the slogan of the big brother gave the people a false impression that the party was concerned with the safety. The people believed that the government protected them by watching them hence nothing could go wrong because it was watching. It was a lie that the people in Oceana were safe because Big brother was watching because they were always in danger. The actual purpose of the big brother was to instill fear in people to follow what the government told them to do. The big brother slogan was crucial as it helped the government dictate laws that were made to the people. The rules limited the freedom of the people. They were not allowed to party, have dates, to love each other, and to obey the curfews. All citizens strictly followed the rules. On the other hand, the laws were not in written form because there was no constitution or governmental bodies required to enforce them. The party was solely responsible for ensuring that the people followed the laws.
The people lived in the uncertainty of what would happen to them if they broke the laws. This made them obey them as they feared what could happen to them in cases where anyone had disobeyed the government. No rule denied a thought crime yet people thought of it. "And yet it was a fact that if Syme grasped, even for three seconds, the nature of his, Winston`s, secret opinions, he would betray him instantly to the thought police" (Orwell, 30). Due to the lack of written laws, the party had the power to adjust the rules anytime, and in any way, they wanted to do it. People had to cope with the strictness of the laws thus were to be flexible when interpreting them to avoid committing crimes.
The party`s control over the citizens is questionable due to the extreme that it was willing to minimize people`s freedom. The use of "Newspeak" law is a form of gesture that signifies the extreme strategies of the party. The party used to eliminate certain words used by people and replacing them with other. For instance, "wonderful and "fantastic" were replaced by "good." There were different levels of good such as "plus good" and "plus plus good." The removal of words from a language made people have limited thoughts. The citizens failed to critically think as they were even given the words to use when talking (Books, 36).
Linguistically, it was a bad idea because the people could not develop words with better meaning as the party did everything for them. They had no words of their own for they had to follow the laws. This made people work like machines as the surveillance made it possible for the government to monitor their actions. Their feelings, facial expressions were not private as the government was able to see what they were doing in the streets. Children had the responsibility of monitoring their parents which is a violation of human rights. "The children, on the other hand, were systematically turned against their parents and taught to spy on them and report their deviations" (Orwell, 76). People could not express their thoughts on any contrary ideas of the party because the party was in control of the language, the laws, and everything the people thought they had.
In conclusion, 1984 was a piece of literature that shows how governments misused their powers to control the people. It was taken to extreme measures when the party in the book uses language, and thoughts as tools which could be applied to managing people. It was unfortunate that incorrect facial expression could render a sentence to an individual. It is inappropriate to use, propaganda, surveillance, physical control, strict laws, psychological control or a phrase to determine one`s life.
Books, Worth. Summary and Analysis of 1984: Based on the Book by George Orwell. Open Road Media, 2017.
Fox, Richard. "Book Discussion: 1984, by George Orwell." (2016).
Hammond, John. A George Orwell companion: a guide to the novels, documentaries, and essays. Springer, 2016.
Orwell, George. "Nineteen Eighty-Four. 1949." The Complete Novels 7 (1990).
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