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A Book Review of George Orwell's 1984

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Living in a society

with limited freedom of expression is not, in any case, enjoyable. A Totalitarian

society is a good example of such a society, because although it provides control

for the people, it can deny them a great deal of freedom to express themselves.

The fictional society in George Orwell's 1984 also stands as a metaphor for

a Totalitarian society. Communication, personal beliefs, and individual loyalty

to the government are all controlled by the inner party which governs the people

of Oceania in order to keep them from rebelling. Current society in America

is much more democratic. It contrasts with Orwell's society of 1984 because

communication, personal beliefs and the people's loyalty to the government

are all determined by the individual.

In order to keep the people of Oceania

in conformity with the desires of the governing Inner Party, the Inner Party

controls several aspects of the people's lives. Communication, for one, is

controlled for the benefit of the nation. Newspeak is a modified version of

language that is enforced upon the people in order to limit their expression.

Syme and Winston, two middle-class workers in Oceania, discuss the concept

of Newspeak. Syme reveals that he supports the system, demonstrating how he

has been brainwashed by the Inner Party who enforces the system.

"It's a

beautiful thing, the destruction of words... You haven't a real appreciation

for Newspeak, Winston... Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to

narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thougtcrime literally

impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. (p. 46)"

One can detect from this quotation that the people of Oceania, as a group,

have been brainwashed by the Inner Party to use only Newspeak. Syme, for one,

understands the purpose of it, and he still complies with the system because

he has been trained to do so. The concept of Newspeak is designed to control

personal beliefs of the citizens by limiting their form of expression as Syme

explains. But when the governing system is not followed, Thought Police are

used to prevent thoughts that oppose the nation. "How often, or on what system,

the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was

even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. (p. 6)" There

is no doubt that - through both Newspeak and Thought Police - the system of

government in 1984 has adequately prevented the people from thinking against

it. When all this surveillance is placed on the people, they learn to comply

with their country and eventually begin to value it automatically. At the

end of the story, aft

er Winston is accused by the Thought Police of thoughtcrime

and is tortured, he finally conforms to the general thoughts of Oceania. "He

had finally won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother. (p. 245)"

This quote indicates that the inner party has done everything that was necessary

to preserve Winston's loyalty to the nation. Even Winston, who at one time

was against his government, has now been "fixed" to support it and love his

leader. The government of Oceania has gone to great lengths to change Winston's

mind, and as always, they have gotten what they desire.

America in 1997 is

much different from Orwell's 1984 because, for one, freedom of expression is

a dominating factor



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