Sunday, June 3, 2007

Part 1: Warnings

What warnings is the author trying to make? Where in the novel do these warnings come through?

Throughout 1984, George Orwell tries to get across many warnings about how governments can suppress individual freedoms.
One warning presented is the way government can prevent you from forming your own opinions. In 1984, the Party brainwashed "comrades" into believing things like "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength." (Book 1, pg. 16) These phrases were considered "doublethink" which demonstrates that the Party could convince you of things that couldn't possibly be true. Also, "Two Minutes Hate" contributed to the brainwashing of citizens into believing that rebels were enemies. Furthermore, "Thought Police" scared people into thinking what they were told to think, for fear of punishment. Finally, citizens who attempted to keep an ounce of actual truth left in Oceania were put in cells and tortured, but if released, were brainwashed into trying to willingly believe the Party's teachings; this too constricted them from having their own opinions.
Orwell presents the idea of government invading personal space or violating personal rights. Having "telescreens" forced government control into the homes of Oceania's citizens. The "telescreens" decided the exact time workers for the Party had to wake up, yelled at them to do their excercises, and had the ability to hear and see citizens' every move. This idea has been connected to phone tapping that occurs in our country today. According to the opionion of some, this phone tapping is exactly the sort of thing Orwell was trying to warn us about.
Although harder to notice, another warning peresented by Orwell was the idea of citizens being slowly brainwashed into believing whatever their government told them. I came across this idea during other postings. I found, and still find it, hard to believe that people could be so oblivious to such changes occurring. The gradual changes that the Party made to history and the small bits of power gained accumulated to the dystopia that Winston had to live in. In this way, the author tried to warn readers that such a situation could develop in our world, without us even notice it happening.

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