“The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed” said Steve Biko (A South African activist) and he was right. This ties to many of the concepts revealed in George Orwell’s novel “1984”. In it, Orwell explains how totalitarianism can prove to be dangerous. George Orwell depicts a totalitarian dystopian world where freedom is outlawed and the only freedom that the citizens have is what the party allows them to have. Not only do you see the oppression of the people, you also see it through the lens of one of the “Outer Party” members, a man named Winston Smith. The citizens are constantly brain washed, they lack a sense of individualism. In “1984”, the Inner Party (The Party/Government/Big Brother) suppresses people’s thinking and drives freedom away by instilling the fear tactic.
The Party uses “strict laws”, propaganda, and constant surveillance to suppress and oppress the citizens so that they would not rebel. The official language of Oceania is Newspeak. The Party’s goal is to control the people. The function of Newspeak is to eliminate the english language so that it limits individual intelligence . The novel quotes, “If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought”. That is what the Party wants, if they control language then they have access to the mind. In this way Newspeak uses two different ways to suppress the people. One way is through Propaganda, most notably, the two propaganda slogan posters, “Big Brother is Watching You” and “ War is Peace/Freedom is slavery/Ignorance is Strength. Winston Smith gives a description of the “Big Brother” poster when he says, “The black-mustachioed face gazed down from every commanding corner” and “ It was one of the those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes followed you about when you move”.
In this way the Party reminds their citizens that the government is watching them at all times but at the same time saying that “Big Brother” is protecting them but that is not true. Not only does the Party have Newspeak to suppress winston and the rest, they also use a concept called. It’s called Doublethink. What Doublethink does is it destroys written history and truth, then rewrites history and truth. The scary part however, is what Winston Smith believes to be the Party’s motive when he says, “If a person’s perception of truth is accepted within, then a lie could become truth when he says, “And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed – if all records told the same tale – then the lie passed into history and became truth.
‘Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’ And yet the past, thought of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. ‘Reality control,’ they called it: in Newspeak, ‘doublethink.’”. A great example of Doublethink is the slogan of the Party, “ War is Peace/Freedom is slavery/Ignorance is Strength. What the party is saying is, “we can have war anytime, you have freedom because we gave it to you, and let us tell you what is right and wrong.
Since many of the generations of people in Oceania since the Revolution have past, the brainwashing and lies the party told became truth. Which is why the party has control. Because of Newspeak and Doublethink, the Party used the opportunity to follow up on their plan which is to control. The Party keeps power because since there is no written law, the Party can impose rules that they can change anytime. Because of this, Oceanian citizens are fearful that they might be arrested at any time by the Thought Police. The Party abolished all almost all forms of freedom. That includes individualism, clothing, entertainment, feelings, thoughts, beliefs, freedom of speech, You can’t love, you can’t marry who you want be with who you want, you can’t be self taught, sex is outlawed unless to create children “for Big Brother” as scene in this quote.
Almost every and anything is banned. Only what the Party allows provides is what you can do. That is when servalence comes to play. In Oceania, to have an opinion or a thought that is against the party or is not accepted by the Party or even the slightest movement that showed nervousness or something to hide, it is considered a Thought Crime. Winston himself is against the Party but he can’t say anything about it or show any strange movements, not talk in his sleep for if he did, someone who hear him and report him to the Thought Police or they themselves through telescreens or microphones hear or see him and will arrest him, torture and erased from history.
For example, Winston has to be careful what he says even around his work friends “And yet it was a fact that if Syme grasped, even for three seconds, the nature of his, Winston’s, secret opinions, he would betray him instantly to the Thought Police”. The Party uses telescreens (camra/T.V.), microphones, spies, “Big Brother” posters, promoting citizens tell and the Thought Police. The Party only allows the existence of children for the purpose of converting them into spies that will spy on their parents and report to the Thought Police if their parents start acting strange. Because of the extreme surveillance, the people of Oceania can’t live in peace because of fear of being wiped from history. Through the fear of totalitarian government control and experiencing some of it, Orwell created a novel with the purpose of bringing awareness that government control would mean losing freedom and submitting to oppression. Also the warning of privacy being medaled with and manipulation of history and truth.
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