1984 by George Orwell | Teen Ink

1984 by George Orwell

August 26, 2009
By cheywan♥♥ DIAMOND, Fritch, Texas
cheywan♥♥ DIAMOND, Fritch, Texas
50 articles 9 photos 24 comments

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One of the books I read this summer is 1984 by George Orwell. The theme of this book is power by control. It is about a totalitarian government. Totalitarian means that the government has total control over the citizens. The government refers to itself as Big Brother. There are three ways that the government attains power: by controlling knowledge, controlling actions, and controlling the mind.

The government controls knowledge by rewriting every past document in their favor. In Chapter 4 pg. 40, Winston rewrites a magazine article that refers to things that the government doesn't want remembered. Without evidence of what they once knew, citizens are more susceptible to believing whatever the government tells them. Also, once a day they have “two minutes hate” in which they are to express all their anger towards the enemy of the government. Big Brother uses this so that the citizens' anger towards the government itself is let out. Also, people are not allowed to have personal documents such as diaries, photographs and books in order to control them from saving any information. In Chapter 1, pg. 12, Winston has to hide in a small hole in the wall so he won't be seen writing in his journal. By controlling all documented information, the government can manipulate the past and the present.

Although Big Brother controls their knowledge, that isn't enough. They also control them physically. Continually the citizens are being watched by monitors in their homes and everywhere else they go. Also there are signs posted in every blank wall that say, “Big Brother is watching you ” On the first page of the first chapter it says, “On each landing, the poster with the enormous face gazed from the wall. It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes seem to follow you about when you move.” Citizens have to always watch what they say and do for fear of being arrested and tortured. Even slight facial twitches can get them arrested. At early ages the children are taught to report their parents to the police if they think that they aren't doing right, so even in the privacy of their homes they have to watch themselves. Not only the children and monitors watch them, but any person that they come across could be a member of a secret society called the “thought police”. These people are hired by the government to monitor the thoughts and actions of people they think are threats.

Controlling knowledge and actions all contributes to how they control the citizens psychologically. Big Brother controls everything: their food, money, clothes, job, and well being. Over time they feel that they can't live without Big Brother. Throughout the novel citizens are conditioned to speak only words of praise about big brother. Several times Winston encounters citizens who are yelling about how wonderful Big Brother is. Not only that, they keep them tired all the time through long work hours, daily exercises, and lack of sleep. The very name of the government is inviting. Big brothers are someone to look up to and depend on. No one wants to hate their big brother. By using this name the government gives a false subliminal message of protection.

The government in 1984 by George Orwell has complete control over its citizens, causing them to totally depend upon them. Big Brother controls their knowledge, actions and minds by manipulating every aspect of society, therefore giving them absolute power.

Orwell, George.1984.New york: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.,1977.


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