“1984″ Essay, Research Paper
DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER, the omnipresent leader of Ingsoc, or
English socialism, and the force that has society in a vice of fear and ignorance. It is in
George Orwells grim dystopia 1984 that these circumstances exist. It was written in 1949
as a warning to where society could be headed. George Orwell was an English writer that
had just witnessed the horrors or World War II and the power of a strong central leader
that nearly took over the whole of Europe, Hitler. All of these factors form Orwells’
writing that is 1984.
This book is a warning that if the world stayed on its current track, the world of
Big Brother would not be as unlikely as it seemed. The book is a satirical dystopia that
warns of the dangers of totalitarian governments like those of Russia or China. The book is
still relevant today because of how easily we could slip into the ways of Ingsoc,
Newspeak for English Socialism, the system of government in 1984.
George Orwell’s main contentions are that this world portrayed in book was not
only possible but quick to come about. Orwell’s belief of such a drastic change in such a
short time could be related to the times he would have just witnessed in real life. Hitler
and the Nazi party rose to power in the short time between World War I and World War
II. The Party rose to power and instituted there government in a matter of one or two
generations. George Orwell wrote this book in 1949 and we find Winston in April of
1984, Orwell believed that we were on such a wrong course that the likes of Ingsoc could
rise in 35 years.
Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World, had a different view of how to keep
society in bondage. In his book, he uses drugs and sex to keep the masses in submission as
opposed to the repression of sex to keep people in a frenziable rage found in 1984. The
quality the two books share is the use of drugs to keep society in a stupor for easier
control. In Huxley’s book they use a perfectly manufactured drug that makes everything
seem great and Orwell uses cheap, oily Victory Gin to keep the people numbed. The two
books paint ugly pictures of a controlled society but Orwell’s is more realistic due to its
The only problem I had with the book is that the second half drags too much. Early
on, Orwell makes it very clear that the Party cannot be taken down, so when Winston
receives the book from O’Brien it is obvious that he is part of the thought police. The book
should have not been gone into so deeply because it is not important to the story and is
very uninteresting. It could be that Orwell writes so well that it was hard not to know what
was going to happen in the second half of the book.
The story itself was very well written and served well as the warning it was meant
to be. I only wish that Orwell would have given even a little bit of hope for mankind.
Winston coming to love Big Brother left you disappointed that the human spirit didn’t win
out over conformity and oppresion. I suppose that had Winston died with contempt would
have given hope that we would be able to get out of such a situation if necessary and
therefore chipping away at the validity of Orwell’s warning.
I am not to sure whether message is that the establishment is too strong and it’s no
use fighting or to fight the good fight no matter what the odds. In Winston’s case, he made
no difference whatsoever and died loving Big Brother like everybody else. Julia, Winston,
Parsons, Syme and the poet all died and made not a shred of difference because the party
had absolute power so I can only assume that Orwell issued this warning so it would never
get that bad but what if it did. This book confused me because it went against the belief
that one man can make a difference. Winston had the conviction but was unable to even
make a dent in the party’s stronghold on society. The book sent mixed messages about the
power of one person and I am not sure if I like that.
1984 is a great book but the inability of good to overcome evil bothers me. I have
always believed that the only constant thing is change and the strength of Ingsoc seems
impossible to change. The power of the party almost makes seem unrealistic that it could
really happen but with a closer look it really doesn’t. Power seems to snowball in that
once it starts it is really had to stop so a society like that of this book is not unrealistic. The
second half drags but it is effective with the surprise of the telescreen in Charrington’s
shop. The book is very good but doesn’t sit right with me because it makes a single
persons conviction insignificant against a larger power.
1984 by George Orwell is an unsettling book that raises a lot of questions and
concerns about power. The flow of the book, although slow at times, is effective and
makes an impression on the reader. The writing style is detailed but concise and covers a
lot of ground relating to political power and society. The quality that makes it relevant
even though 1984 has come and gone is that we are always at the risk of letting a society
like the one in 1984 sneak up on us.