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Posted on April 2nd, 2012, by

 

1984 by Jorge Orwell is dystopian novel which describes utilitarian society. The novel was written during the time when the world was under the threat of different kinds of totalitarism. In some countries communism became the ruling regime and other countries turned to even worse variants trying to oppose it. The author does not name the real place and real regime which became the source for his novel but the readers may recognize certain contemporary political regimes.

In his book Orwell presents a sad picture where all the country is controlled by one person and Inner party created by him. In the novel the world is split into three groupings, which are Eastasia, Eurasia, and Oceania. The story is set in Oceania which occupies the territory of the Great Britain and Europe. The place where the story is set is not accidental. The author wanted to attract public attention to the problem of totalitarian regimes which became especially evident during that time.  In his novel Orwell sets important historical parallels which aim to attract public attention to the problem. Unconditioned and illogical love of people to Big Brother can be paralleled to Celtic Nationalism or British Isrealism. The author wants to warn people that political ideals may be a very uncertain and may have negative consequences for the society.

Winston Smith, the protagonist of the story makes an attempt to confront totalitarian society and the ruling Party, which became the symbol of totalitarian power. Totalitarian regime became ruling regime in the 20th century and the Party took control over all spheres of life. The author describes sad and absurd situations which demonstrate the dominance and total control of the Party and Big Brother. If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say this or that even, it never happenedthat, surely, was more terrifying than mere torture and death (Orwell, 24).

Orwell intentionally exaggerates the situation in order to tell people about the threat of totalitarism. He describes terrible world where not only actions, but also the thoughts of people were controlled by the Party. Orwell shows that in totalitarian society the life of people is not valuable and people may easily become destroyed by the system: People simply disappeared, always during the night. Your name was removed from the registers, every record of everything you had ever done was wiped out, and your one-time existence was denied and then forgotten. You were abolished, annihilated: vaporized was the usual word” (Orwell 69) The party which came to power as a carrier of the interests of ordinary people gradually become the dominant force of the state and became one controlling power which used people for its own interest regardless of their interest and desires. Big Brother became the omnipresent and omnipotent head of the country. He became an object of fear and worship and people became totally controlled by his power. “It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourselfanything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime (Orwell 124). In his novel the author recreated an exaggerated picture of the result of totalitarian rule.

Winston, the protagonist of the novel works in the Ministry of Truth. This ministry changes history according to the wish and needs of the ruling party. He who controls the past, controls the future became the main slogan of the ruling regime (Orwell, 114). Winston and other members of the Ministry work on the correction of the information about the past. The information is changed when it becomes necessary to show people something different from what they got used to know about certain events or personality. And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposedif all records told the same talethen the lie passed into history and became truth. Who controls the past’ ran the Party slogan, controls the future: who controls the present controls the past’ (Orwell 132). Regime and Big Brother control the mind of people to such extend that even the people who work in the ministry and change historical data start believing in the false information they produce. Only separate individuals, such as Winston question themselves about the appropriate nature of such an approach.

The novel was written in 1949 and communist regime flourished in the territory of the USSR and some other countries during that time. People who possessed information about the true nature of this regime could find a lot of parallels with the novel. Things which Orwell described like a part of fiction novel in his 1981 partially existed in the territory of the USSR during the time when the novel was written. Spying on people, change of real data in order to present necessary information to the public, multiple arrests and political murders were ordinary things which really existed in the territory of the USSR. Orwell perfectly realized the scope of the totalitarian threat created by the Communism He also realized that fighting communist other countries went under the threat to turn to totalitarism as well. This situation is very vividly illustrated in the book because Orwell mentions that totalitarism came to power in Ocean under the threat of external attack. The members of the Party used the external threat as a way to take control over country. This policy later became the instrument to control people and make the obedient.   The novel parallels anti-communist hysteria which existed in Orwell’s society. The novel is written during the active phase of the cold war when not only Communist regime became a serious threat to the world, but also a fight with this regime might have become the source of new totalitarian rule.

In his novel 1984 Orwell makes his readers think about important issues and illuminates important social vices.  The novel becomes Orwell’s way to warn people and attract attention to the treat created by the threat created by any totalitarian regime. During the time when the novel was written people became totally obsessed by the idea of external threat created by communism. In his novel Orwell illustrates how fear of external threat may become the may to manipulate people and may result in totalitarian regime.

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