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1984 review


''In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make the claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense. And what was terrifying was not that they would kill you for thinking otherwise, but that they might be right. For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that force of gravity works? or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is uncontrollable - what then?''

Portrays a terrifying vision of life in the future when a totalitarian government, considered a "Negative Utopia," watches over all citizens and directs all activities, becoming more powerful as time goes by.

1984 by George Orwell

Big brother is watching you. George Orwell's powerful Nineteen-Eighty-Four retains it's poignant message and resonance from 1949. Quite simply, this literary piece was visionary and ahead of its time. Still relevant even today as we edge closer to a World of CCTV surveillance, satellites and robotic state. The aspect concerning 1984 is that the relentless vision is slowly becoming a reality. What is freedom? Is it good or evil? What is equality and authority? When does the Government and state take that right away from the people? Can the past be changed, controlled, and can we be conditioned? The answer is yes.

Oceania, the Country from 1984, where our main protagonist Winston hails from. This is a totalitarianism society where the party has full control over everything. Thoughts, language, War, and human behaviour are all under the thumb of the party. This is the full extent via power and control, that INGSOC has. Newspeak is the official language to maximise efficiency and tasks, which is slowly reducing words to limit emotions. The past is altered and controlled so that the future and present are secured, belonging to the Party.
The Youth of the Party are taught to report any crimes committed, even their own family. This is because the Party has altered, or rather upgraded, depending on how you perceive this, the idea and concept of family and replaced it with a love and system which belongs primarily to the party and big brother. Big brother is everywhere. BIG BROTHER IS YOUR FAMILY. YOUR LOYALTY AND LOVE FOR BIG BROTHER IS ALL YOU KNOW. His dominating face is engrained into the members of the Party. Every telescreen guarantees that everyone is being watched and surveyed. Thought-crime is carefully monitored by the secretive thought Police.

So we have the pyramid hierarchy system of Oceania: Big Brother, the Inner Party (2% of the population), Outer Party, and the Proles (85% of the population). The proles are the uneducated mass of the population, the lowest class who cannot write, or read. They talk about simple things like football and the lottery, they have a limited life span...They believe they have freedom in their limited superficial thoughts, but because of this, the Party always controls, manipulates and dominates them with propaganda, and rocket attacks, which they blame on a foreign enemy. Eastasia and Eurasia are the supposed enemies of Oceania, War is constant. The party changes the enemies and allies, when it deems necessary. They control records and erase facts and data so that people or Wars never existed, and our replaced systematically with new facts and data. These become ingrained within this society, so that the old facts and data were never there. This is how the Party controls the past, and the people, by having complete control over what is true. The Party to a certain extent denies external reality.

Winston has his memories, and rebels against the Party after seeing and remembering many facts and changes the Party makes. He ventures onto a love affair with a girl he meets called Julia, and feels frightening emotions and awakenings he never felt before.
They meet at a shop, owned by Mr Charrington, whom is the enigmatic owner...Who let's Winston and Julia stay in a room above the shop. They make love there and use this room as a sort of sanctuary. All is not as it seems.
Winston also meets O'Brien, who is a member of the Inner Party, while Winston belongs to the Outer Party. Winston sparks a fascination and truth in a look with O'Brien and decides he is an ally. Many few him as an antagonist via 1984 yet I do not believe it is that straight forward. He could be considered a teacher who is totally dedicated and loyal to the party.
I've mentioned about Big Brother, now I must say about the hated Goldstein, who is the enemy of the Party. He is supposedly a defender of independent thought and logic. Every member of the Party is taught to hate Goldstein, they are indoctrinated to hate him on sight, when seen on telescreens via the Hate sessions/rallies. This gives the masses something to focus their energy upon, a clearly defined eternal enemy.

1984 deals with opposites and absolutes in relation to the Party. They have the Ministry of Peace, Ministry of Plenty, Ministry of Love, and the Ministry of Truth. All of which, deal with the complete opposite. War is peace, Plenty deals with starvation and rationing, Love deals with hate and torture, while Truth deals with lies and propaganda. This all comes across in Newspeak as doublethink which is the representation via doublespeak where two truths are both realised at the same time. A certain duality to proceedings.

1984 is bleak, relentless, resolute and uncompromising, Winston loses his rebellious streak, and his doubt. His soul is remoulded into part of the state itself. His hate for Big Brother is replaced with an unrelenting love for Big Brother. He is a vital member of the Party. The heresies of heresies is common sense, everything the Party says is true, regardless of logic and reason. Big brother has won. The looming face and eyes are the only truth and shadow known... And that is the nightmare and reality the Party has made. George Orwell has succeeded in showing us, the reader, a World in which we have evolved into something terrifying, something extreme, and existence consisting of no free thought or distracting emotion of our own... It teaches us control and discipline can be taken to a whole new level.
War always repeating to keep the hate alive, facts always changing, and the Government ruling over us in the form of this or penetrating, powerful face. Your only family is Big Brother and the state. George Orwell is simply saying we need change, but the right sort of reactionary change against modernity and against freedom from authority.

''Freedom is the freedom to say that two and two make four. If this is granted, all else follows.'' (Or is it?)

Added by Lexi
10 years ago on 17 January 2011 19:07