George Orwell highlights many themes in his dystopian literature that are concerning for the future of the world we live in. One of the largest concerns that he emphasizes is that all people are slowly losing their sense of individuality and identity because of a large influential body. In the case of 1984, this concern is present because of the influence of the government, Big Brother, on the people living in Oceana. The government continues to feed lies to the people using tools like propaganda and the thought police to keep a positive image of the country. As readers, we know that the government is hiding the actualization of the war by shredding documents and rewriting history. As a result of this, the citizens of Oceana are all forming into one body of the same person under some kind of hypnosis. It’s not until Winston, a member of the party, challenges the government’s claims that there seems to be some sort of revolution finally. However, his ideas are very dangerous and illegal which can and will get him arrested by the Thought Police.
In Orwell’s 1984, the citizens of Oceana don’t particularly embody a society full of unique individuals. It seems as If Oceana consists of lots of hypnotized people who just do their job every day without even thinking about their own individuality. Winston, who works for the party, was the first one to recognize something was wrong and to challenge the ideas of the government. In 1984, the government’s propaganda is such a serious issue because the people are entitled to know what the government is doing. Its one of the big reasons the thirteen colonies broke away from England. Since Orwell writes about his concerns for the future through his dystopian literature, he is calling us to challenge the ideas that are present today in our society. He wants us to ask the question “who I am I.” When we earn our identity we influence change. Throughout the story, even some of the characters start to figure out something is fishy about the government. This article expands on the question of “who am I?” In 1984, Obrien speaks about his consciousness off an identity that plays into the suspicions about the government. “I am conscious of my own identity. I was born, and I shall die. I have arms and legs. I occupy a particular point in space. No other solid object can occupy the same point simultaneously. In that sense, does Big Brother exist?” (pg 127)
Believe it or not, constant surveillance can have a wild effect on the brain In our world, you might see people covering up the camera to their computer or cell phone in fear of being monitored by the government, which they consider a large privacy issue. In 1984 they use machinery known as telescreens, used by the “Thought Police” which watch the people of Oceania making sure they aren’t committing thought crimes. Constant surveillance can be unhealthy for people. One of the points Orwell was trying to make is by losing control of what we know, we surrender our individuality because thoughts and memories play a majority of who we are as an individual and the government, which is why Winston pushed to understand the reality so he could find himself. This page talks more about constant surveillance and its effect on the brain. It’s scary how much indirect control unwarranted surveillance can have.”If the party could thrust its hand into the past and say of this or that event, It never happened- that, surely, was more terrifying than mere torture and death. Question- Is the alteration of the past a good thing? What happens if history repeats itself in negative fashion.” (pg 34) Although surveillance provides protection of people, it can also be a huge privacy violation. It poses the question what’s more important, privacy or protection?
Trusting the Government has been an issue in United States history ever since the Vietnam War. The United States was losing this war but had to release “fake news” to the citizens of the United States to keep them supporting the war effort and the government. When the government announced what was actually happening in the Vietnam War, the nation’s people would never hold trust for the government again. Similarly, in Oceana, Big Brother releases plenty of Propaganda with the message that they are in a War but the government is saving the people. This makes the people praise Big Brother for fighting for their nation. However, Orwell hints that the reality of the war is not what Big Brother claims it to be. As we know “fake news” is all around the world today and Orwell wants us to be careful to what we believe to be true. This website has more information on this topic.
Orwell hints to lots of issues and concerns he had for the future of the world, some of which we are already seeing signs of in recent history, the largest including the loss of individuality and identity, constant surveillance, and lack of trust in the government. Though most of Orwell’s dystopian works are fictional, they push for a repair of our society. He uses the exaggeration of a society, like Oceana in the novel, as a method of scaring people into reformation. It’s fascinating how Orwell incorporates his concerns through literature in a passive way. He could take it to the public or protest, however, he understands that everyone has their own point of view. He leaves his concerns to those who are willing to analyze them through dystopian literature.Tags: Judge Memorial Catholic High School