Loss Of Humanity In 1984 Essay, Research Paper
Our humanity is every thing that makes us human; our emotions, dreams, sexuality, opinions and aspirations. If these were to be taken away, we would become adverse mutations of ourselves. That is what happens in George Orwell’s 1984. . In 1984, Orwell discusses the dilapidation of society under a totalitarian regime. The loss of humanity in this novel has horrendous effects on society. The media used to communicate the adversities are relationships and sexuality and how their distortion affects the entire emotional workings of society.
In 1984, Oceanian society is without emotion and any true relationships. There is no true emotional or spiritual connection between any two people. The party achieves that by destroying the basis of all human emotion and intimacy, which is love and marriage. Love is forbidden in Oceanian society, and marriages are meaningless when it comes to intimacy. As Orwell puts it, “But a real love affair was an almost thinkable event.” (Orwell, 1984, 71) Marriage is simply a protocol to purify pro-creation. The marriages had to be approved by the party, and “permission was always refused if the couple concerned gave the impression of being physically attracted to one another. The only recognized purpose of marriage was to beget children for the service of the Party.” (Orwell, 68-69) The Party manipulated what is meant to be a sacred institution of love between two people into a mere factory for production of embryo.
Along with love and marriage, the Party attempted the same with sex. “The Party was trying to kill the sex instinct, or, if it could not be killed, then distort it and dirty it.”(Orwell, 69) Sex became like marriage, a vessel for pro-creation. According to the Party, sex was not supposed to be pleasureful but rather a task to be done. Winston Smith’s wife Katherine phrased it as “our duty to the Party.” Orwell describes sex between Winston and Katherine as mechanical and platonic. “To embrace her was like embracing a jointed wooden image. And what was strange was that even when she was clasping him against her he had the feeling that she was simultaneously pushing him away with all her strength. The rigidity of her muscles managed to convey that impression.”(Orwell, 70) The use of words like rigid and wooden further conveys the sad state of sex in society. The inclusion of pleasure in sex is what makes it human, as we are the only species other than dolphin who perform intercourse for pleasure. This absence makes the citizens of Oceania inhuman and comparable to any vermin.
When Winston and Julia get together they try to escape from the platonic sex created by Orwell through the party, and try to achieve intimate sex. However, no matter how hard they try, they cannot achieve it because the essence of sex has been irreversibly distorted. On their first encounter Winston still feels platonic, as Orwell explains, But the truth was that he had felt no physical sensation, except that of mere contact. All he felt were incredulity and pride. He was glad that this was happening, but he had no physical desire.”(Orwell, 126) At this point sex is a political act between Winston and Julia. He feels proud that he rebelling against the party, that he having sex for pleasure, but the truth is that there is no pleasure. His desire for sex is only a desire for rebellion, “Scores of times she had done it: he wished it had been hundreds-thousands. Anything that hinted a corruption always filled him with a wild hope.”(Orwell, 131) Winston admits himself that his attraction for Julia increases if she has slept with more men. The true driving force behind this encounter was to desire to rebel against the party. Their entire relationship is based on rebellion, and is not love as they call it. This is a completely warped version of love and the closest Winston and Julia achieve.
As their relationship proceeds, Winston and Julia’s encounters become a routine procedure. They meet in Mr. Charrington’s room, have sex and then leave. The sex that Winston experiences is less platonic now, but he still motivated by the fact that he is doing something that is uncommon and illicit now, but was accepted before the revolution. Winston seems to be stuck in world of nostalgia trying to recover the past through children’s nursery rhymes, diaries, and conversation with old folks. The relationship with Julia and renting out Mr. Charrington’s room is just another attempt to revive the past that Winston is obsessed with. The past that Winston tries to recover is humanity that has been lost to the Party, however the damage is irreversible and Winston cannot escape from this dehumanised and desensitized society that Orwell creates.
As this society is desensitized and sexless, people are unable to form any intimate relationships with each other to truly be friends or more. Winston and Julia s relationship is based on rebellion, something they share; citizens of Oceania don t have any feelings to share except the Hate that is shoved down their throats. So like Winston and Julia, they don t have any true relationships. They don t really care for each other. So when Syme, Winston s co-worker disappears no one really cares, Syme had vanished. A morning came, and he was missing from work: a few thoughtless people commented on his absence. On the next day nobody mentioned him. (Orwell, 154) With nobody concerned, the state can easily make Syme disappear without any opposition, and do so with any individual. Orwell uses Syme s disappearance to emphasise the desensitized and dehumanized society.
The destruction of emotions and relationships in 1984 exacerbates the horrid effects of such of totalitarian society. The hidden motivations behind Winston and Julia s relationship of rebellion and its platonic nature, combined with the nature of disappearances in Oceanian society demonstrate the destruction of emotion and relationships. Sexuality is tightly intertwined with emotions and relationships, and by warping that, Orwell shows the widespread mutations of it on each other, all coming together to lead to a loss of the human essence in society.