1984 Paper Essay, Research Paper
Dan MeachenLack of Humanity Humanity includes a person’s range of emotions, the actions that result from them, and a person’s identity. If the government can control the humanity of its people, then the government is in complete control of its people. In George Orwell’s 1984, the government maintains a complete control of its population through its manipulation of people’s humanity. The Inner Party (often referred to simply as the Party), the governing force in Oceania, hopes that by removing people’s humanity, it can control each and everyone. The Party only controls the civilians because the citizens allow the Party to do so. The people of Oceania know no other way of life. They grew up with no emotions, no freedom, and no identity. If the people knew that they could make a difference, they might have rebelled against the Party. The only problem is that these people live in oblivion. Every history book has been altered to say that the Party existed when the first human beings walked the earth. The citizens do not realize that there have been better circumstances; therefore, they think they live in the best time of history. In essence, people are unaware of their plight, and they know no better. George Orwell’s 1984 shows how a human being can be stripped of its emotions, its freedom, and its identity if that human being allows a society like Oceania to rule him; therefore, no one should ever allow it to happen. The Party controls people’s emotions by instilling basic codes of morality. It is insinuated that one should not feel emotions; and, if one does feel them, then one is a criminal. Therefore, the people of Oceania disregard their emotions. All the citizens of Oceania have been emotionally crippled, therefore, they are incapable of having, expressing, or understanding their feelings. In Oceania emotional love is a treacherous crime. Marriages are based on hate. The state wants sex to be only as procreation and nothing else. The Party even tries to remove the total sex act by artificial insemination. The goal of the state is power, and the Party’s power is maintained by supporting an anarchy of sedation. Since emotional responses are often the foundation for thought, the state hopes that by controlling all feelings, it will control all thought. The party believes that once a person starts thinking for himself, he will rebel; and, the Party cannot allow rebellion. Even the language in Oceania is passionless. Known as Newspeak, this language means exactly what it says with no adjectives, no adverbs, and most of all no feeling behind the words. The old language, appropriately called Oldspeak is compared to Newspeak as, ” [Oldspek] with all its vagueness and its useless shades of meaning Do you know that Newspeak is the only language in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller every year? Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?” (Syme, Pg.46) While reducing the range of thought is part of the aim of the Party, the big picture includes reducing the human race to an unintelligent, trained like a dog, population. Like dogs who are trained to obey their masters’ orders, the citizens of Oceania are also trained to follow the Party’s orders. Since the people of Oceania follow so many orders, they have no freedom. All actions are bound by the police force. The Inner Party maintains its power through the Thought Police, which is bound by no laws. In Oceania anything can be a crime; it only has implied laws that might or might not be enforced at any time. The Thought Police monitor the Outer Party members of Oceania with a telesceen installed in every house, the telescreen. Much like the television, the telescreen broadcasts pictures and sound. The only difference is that the telescreen also has a camera, which watches your every move night and day and can never be turned off. In principle, a Party member has no extra time and is never alone, except in bed. It is assumed that when he is not working, eating, or sleeping, he would take part in some kind of public recreation. To do anything that suggested solitude, even to go for a walk by himself, has always been slightly dangerous. People are not allowed to be alone, and are not allowed to make friends with anybody. They are not free to socialize with whomever they please. Everything they do has to be regulated and controlled. People are not allowed to be spontaneous and just get up and take a road trip. When Winston goes to visit the Proles, his one fear is, “The patrols might stop you if you happened to run into them. May I see your papers, comrade? What are you doing here? What time did you leave from work? Is this your usual way home?”(Winston, Pg.71) There is no rule against walking home an unusual route, but Winston doesn’t want the Thought Police to hear about his journey to the Proles. The Thought Police are larger than life. Everybody fears them, because they know that there is no way to get around them.
The populace of Oceania loses their identity as soon as they are born. Winston Smith, an Outer Party member, attempts to regain his lost identity by rebelling against the Party. He tries in vain to join the infamous Brotherhood, the underground association against the Inner Party and its nonexistent leader, Big Brother. When Winston is captured, he is forced to reform with physical and psychological torture. In the process of reforming, Winston loses his identity to the Party again, and when he is finally released, he joins the unquestioning, mindless population of Oceania. The perfect citizen of Oceania is an imbecile that has been brainwashed exclusively with Party slogans, and is capable of believing everything the Party says. O’Brien said it best, “We may be obliged to give him a new identity. His face, his movements, the shape of his hands, the color of his hair-even his voice would be different.” (O’Brien, Pg. 143) Somebody could switch identities like that, and no one would notice. A result of the brainwashing is that people do not understand material goods. There is no variation in lifestyles. The citizens are even numbered. Each person has its own specific number, much like a prisoner. The reason they use numbers in prison is to hinder people from individualism, fearing that they might get an idea to try and escape. This is the reason the citizens have numbers in 1984. George Orwell did it on purpose to show how the society of Oceania is much like a prison. Everybody has a number, does the same activities, eats the same food, wears the same uniform, and has the same type of daily life. Nobody is distinctly different from another. Everyone is stuck being the same. Ultimately, the Party cannot allow variations of their power to exist. To relinquish control of any part of an individual is to relinquish all control over the individual. The brutality of the Party leads to absolute devotion or absolute rebellion. The object of Oceania is a society of apathetic people who will serve without question or thought. The society destroys humanity. When the Party takes away their subjects’ emotions, freedom and identity, the people are at loss to do anything. They do not know how to get their humanity back. The citizens are only physically alive. Our humanity is what makes us human. The fact that we have emotions, freedom and identity separates us from the animals. When Winston fights for his humanity and loses, he is changed into something less than human. 1984 is a warning to us to uphold our humanity and also to make sure that we live in a sound society. We cannot let what happens in 1984 happen to us.