Ever since the dawn of human civilization man has struggled for both f
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Ever since the dawn of human civilization, man has struggled for both freedom and
a fair and just government. In this day and age, most people are free to live their own
lives under a democratically based government. Whereas this is the governmental trend
today, this is not and has not always been the case. Brutal and restrictive governments
have plagued the earth for many centuries but perhaps none as brutal and psychologically
controlling as the Party depicted in the novel 1984. In George Orwell's 1984, the
governing Party possesses an incredibly powerful grasp over its people such that it has the
malevolent ability to mold the facts of the past, with the objective of destroying the
individual lives of citizens such as Winston through its use of constant surveillance and
subtle mind control, causing Winston to long for a life during times passed.
In order to create an image that makes the Party and Big Brother appear as the
omnipotent body of all things beneficial to Oceania, the Party drastically and blatantly
alters the historical facts and past information given to its people. One particular instance
where the Party obviously lies in order to glorify one of its own negative decisions is
when Winston notices " . . . demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising the chocolate
ration to twenty grams a week " (Orwell 51). This does not sit well with Winston as he
recalls that " . . . only yesterday . . . it had been announced that the ration was to be
reduced to twenty grams a week " (Orwell 51). Using such propaganda, the Party is able
to convince its people, with the exception of Winston and Julia, that the Party can do no
wrong and does nothing but better their lives. In this subtle way " . . . the Party
completely controls the past . . . on the historical level of facts and figures " (Smith 311).
Aside from its goals to twist the truth, through surveillance and subtle mind
control, the Party's main focus is to strip the individuality and human nature away from
people such as Winston in order to further conform them to fit the Party mold. Although
he does not want to be a conformist to the Party and its ideals, Winston must and is
forced to act how the Party feels one should act. From early on, whenever in front of
one of the many telescreens housed within most all of Oceania's buildings, " [h]e set his
features into the expression of quiet optimism," which he knew was " . . . advisable to
wear when facing the telescreen " (Orwell 8). The Party obviously has Winston by a short
leash, forcing him to suppress and cover up any feelings he has in order to satisfy those
on the other end of the screen. Even later, while alone in the upstairs room in
Charrington's store, after having sifted through Goldstein's book along with Julia, the
incredible surveillance capabilities of the Party and its Thought Police surface as a picture
on the wall that " . . . had fallen to the floor, uncovering the telescreen behind it," once
again proving that no one in this society is capable of conducting an independent life
beyond the confinements of the Party (Orwell 182). Thus loudly conveying that the
Party's " . . . single aim is the total destruction of the individual identity " (Schorer 301).
Because of the constrictive grip the Party has over Winston, he is compelled to
long for a life in the past before the Party and Big Brother came to power; a time when
one could be himself rather than a product of his own government. Winston knows,
despite all the lies, that humans once had rights and decent lives and places to live in.
Despite this feeling, he does not view his life as a tragedy. Because " [t]ragedy, he
perceived, belonged to an ancient time, to a time when there were still privacy, love, and
friendship, and when the members of a family stood by one another without needing to
know the reason " (Orwell 52). Obviously lacking a family atmosphere, Winston seems to
long for an "average" life with a wife and children where he can be himself without having
to worry about being persecuted for his thoughts or feelings. The cold and depressing
surroundings of Oceania cause Winston to lead a " . . . lonely and never private life . . .
submerged in a
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Fiction, Literature, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Mass surveillance, British films, Historical revisionism, Telescreen, Big Brother, Ingsoc, George Orwell, Winston, Surveillance
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