Controlled Society In 1984 Essay, Research Paper
Fear, confusion and intimidation are not just feelings. If they are used in the right way they can be used for control and power. A dictator in a totalitarian regime will use these emotions to control his people. The world that Winston Smith lives in has no personal rights, poor living conditions, and everything is controlled by hatred, even the people’s history and language. The language Newspeak is being implemented by the government to limit the possibility of political rebellion by eliminating all words relating to it. The history is changed in a effort to confuse the population into believing the governments version . In 1984, fear, confusion and intimidation are used to control the society and to ensure that the totalitarian regime can maintain its power.
In the novel, the world is broken into three different super-countries: Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia. Eurasia was formed when Russia took control of Europe. Oceania was created when the U.S absorbed the British empire and Eastasia is a amalgamation of the remaining nations. These countries are in a constant state of war with one another fighting a perpetual border war. One country is always allied to another, while at war with the third, then switched allies. There is never a winner. It is a fact of life that enables the powers to keep the people ignorant of life in other places. This keeps the world stable and allows the governments to control their people through fear.
Winston thinks about Oceania’s relationship to the other countries in the world, Eurasia and Eastasia. According to history, Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia and in alliance with Eastasia, but Winston vaguely remembers, even though the records have been changed. This is an intentional act of Confusion by the totalitarian state.
In the story Winston purchases a diary at a second hand store in the proletarian district. He begins to write his thoughts in the diary about the films he watched the night before, which he realizes is an act of rebellion against the party. Winston thinks about his lust and hatred for the dark haired girl who works in the Fiction Department at the Ministry of Truth, then looks down and realizes that he has written DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER over and over again in his diary. He has committed a
thought crime and he now fears that he will be taken away by the Thought Police. The Thought Police take on the same roles as normal police except they charge people committing thought crimes instead of normal crimes. The Thought Police are used to frighten people which prevents them from committing thought crimes. Big Brother uses fear to maintain control in society.
Another fear of Winston’s is the Parsons family. The father of the family is a fat obnoxious, dull party member who is a neighbour of Winston’s and works at the ministry of truth. He has a dull wife and a group of suspicious, ill mannered children. One day at the Parsons apartment, Mrs. Parsons needs help with the plumbing while her husband is away. At the apartment Winston is tormented by the fervent children, who, as junior spies, accuse him of thoughtcrime.
In the novel, the history of the world is destroyed, or altered by the government in order to make them look good, and give them credit for all of the major accomplishments which have occurred in the past. Winston knows this because he works for the government and his job is to change the history to benefit the government. For example Winston remembers that no one had heard of Big Brother, the leader of the party, before 1960, but stories about him now appear in the histories going back to the 30’s. As such, the government is looked upon as having given the people all that they have, which makes it unlikely that there would ever be a revolt. This is an act of confusion that the government uses to make the people think that what they have done in the past has been successful and what they want to do now will also be successful.
In 1984 , Orwell shows what can occur if a government chooses to abuse their power, and alter history. The invasion of personal privacy is another way in which the government maintains its control over the people in 1984. Telescreens which are installed in all rooms are interactive television screens that allow the thought police to monitor the actions of citizens 24 hours a day. This ensures that they will not do anything which could threaten the government’s power. This is intimidating for the people and also untrustworthy. High pitched whistles coming from the telescreen signals that office workers must wake. This is another example of how the telescreens are used to intimidate the workers.
At one point in the novel, Winston lays suffering at the hands of O’Brien. Here it seems that he is being displayed as the suffering figure of the Redeemer on the great symbol of the Christian faith , the Cross. It is felt that through his suffering he will release his burden and conflict and bring him nearer to a knowledge of God., who in this novel would be Big Brother. Fear definitely plays a role here in the amount of suffering that Winston must endure. (The Portable Jung, pg.586)
In room 101, O’Brien straps Winston to a chair, clamping his head so that he cannot move. He tells Winston that room 101 contains “the worst thing in the world”. He reminds Winston of his worst nightmare, the dream of being in a dark place with something terrible on the other side of the wall. It was rats, he says, on the other side of the wall. Winstons’s mother and sister were both eaten by rats. O’Brien picks up a cage full of enormous, hungry, squirming, clawing rats. O’Brien straps the cage over Winston’s face like a mask. He says that when he presses a lever, the door will slide up and the rats will eat Winston’s face. With the writhing, starving rats just inches from his face, Winston cracks, he screams that he wants O’Brien to do it to Julia, not to him. He has betrayed his deepest conviction which is to love Julia over anything and to suffer for her benefit if needed. Satisfied, O’Brien removes the cage. The purpose of torturing Winston was to brainwash him into believing in the totalitarian regime and that they are good for the country. This proves that through fear you can control people to get what you want out of them.
Fear, confusion and intimidation are powerful emotions that can control a person. The purpose of using fear, confusion and intimidation to control the people, enables the government to permanately sustain this absolute power over them. Through the forceful use of these emotions, people are diminished of their humanity, dignity, respect, self confidence and self esteem. We therefore can see a society of people who are severely depressed with no joy of life whatsoever, due to their great lack of freedom. People subjected to this form of treatment are nothing more than animals in a cage, when the Party’s only goal is absolute endless and limitless power through control of people’s minds.