Sunday, May 1, 2011

1984 by George Orwell

The novel 1984 by George Orwell takes place in the year 1984 in a fictional place called Oceania. The novel is written so that Oceania is supposed to be a futuristic state where the government has complete control of its citizens lives. This government is referred to as the Party. The leader of the Party is Oceania's dictator called Big Brother. The protagonist in the novel is Winston Smith. Smith work in the Ministry of Truth where it is his job to change events of the past as the Party sees fit. Smith hates the party and the complete control it has over society. So, he begins to secretly and illegally write in a diary to record his thoughts against the Party in. Smith risks quite a lot by writing in a diary. If he gets caught by the Though Police, he will most likely be killed.
At Smith's work, he meets Julia. They begin their love affair when she gives him a note saying that she loves him. If they are caught having this affair the consequences are severe, relationships between Party members is strictly enforced against. Julia and Smith try to be sneaky by renting a room above a shop owned by a man named Mr. Charringtion where they believe it will be safe to meet each other.

Soon after, a man by the name of O'Brien gives Smith his address so that he and Julia can come visit him. Smith is very intrigued by this, O'Brien is a high up member in the Party and very rich. Smith has always suspected that O'Brien is secretly against the Party and may be a member of the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood is the party that works secretly to try and overthrow Big Brother. When Julia and Smith go to O'Brien's he makes them members of the Brotherhood. Once they leave, Julia and Smith go to their rented room where the Thought Police come rushing into their room. It turns out that Mr. Charrington is a worker for the Thought Police and O'Brien was just setting them up to commit a crime against the Party.
Julia and Smith are both arrested and taken to the Ministry of Love. At the Ministry of Love, O'Brien is the man who wants to take charge of "fixing" Smith so he is acceptable for society. Smith is tortured and brainwashed by O'Brien. The final step of Smith's torture was facing his worst fear. O'Brien put Smith's head in a box full of rats. O'Brien was going to let the rats eat Smith's face until Smith begged for his life and wished that it was Julia facing this fate instead of him. O'Brien released Smith at this point because he got what he had wanted. Smith had betrayed Julia. Smith no longer had feelings for Julia and was released into society to live as a brainwashed man until the Thought Police will put him to death. Smith was successfully brainwashed into accepting Big Brother.

1) The power the government in 1984 has over its people is overwhelming. People are not even allowed to think freely in this society. The Party even alters history to conform to its ideas. Do you think that a society this controlling could ever come about today or in the future?

2) Smith tries to rebel against the Party by writing in a diary even though he knows it is illegal and could be executed for it. He also tries to join the rebellion group called the Brotherhood who works to overthrow the leader of the government. If you were in a society that had complete control over its people would you be brave enough to rebel even if it meant possible death?


Megan L.11-12 said...

As bad as this sounds, societies like that are almost in existence today. If you take China, for example, the government alters websites, history books, and news casts in order to persuade the citizens of China into thinking a certain way. While the people of China are not brain washed and think the same way, China has a similar control of Big Brother on its' people.

Natalie S Mods 5-6 said...

I see where you are coming from and I agree with you. The conditions may not be as strict as they are in the novel but they could easily progress into that. China is a country where the government has gone to great lengths to censor its people like the Party had in the novel.

Matt P. 13-14 said...

Regarding question two, I think that the first challenge would be realizing that things were unfair. The Party sets up a system of deception so efficient that it fools almost everyone. If I was able to see this, I think that I would feel that it would be my duty to try to do something to fight against it in the name of freedom. I would try my best to help others to see as well so that one day, even if I were killed, the public may gain back their freedom.

Natalie S Mods 5-6 said...

I agree with you completely. It would be quite the hurdle to see that I was being so censored and restricted by the government. It is hard to question what society believes is normal. I also think that if I were able to see how terrible society was that I would do everything I could to change it even if it did mean death. Things will change if people are willing to sacrifice. It is also easier for others to step up when they see that others are willing to do whatever it takes to get back their freedom.

Kyle P. 13-14 said...

1. I think it's very possible for this kind of society to come about in the future because all of our information comes from the media and the internet if the government gain complete control of both of those they could control what we think.