1984 And The Left Hand Of Darkness
Essay, Research Paper
The two books Nineteen Eighty-Four and The Left Hand of Darkness help to define humanity and truth. Humanity is the condition, quality or fact of being human collectively. The definition of truth is things as they are, things as they have been, and things as they are to come. Truth cannot change because it does not reflect a personal perspective. These books illustrate how humans relate towards themselves, friends, enemies and humanity as a whole.
Truth allows humans to stand-alone. When they find truth they are able to be one against the whole. “Being in a minority even a minority of one did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.”(Pg.171, Nineteen Eighty-Four) This fact allows Winston to fight against the party. Truth is a powerful weapon that can defeat all odds. “One voice speaking truth is greater force than fleets and armies, given time.” (Pg. 27, The Left Hand of Darkness) Genly Ai knew that eventually the people of Winter would accept the truth, however it would only take time.
Truth cannot be changed by man but can only be distorted. This fact is illustrated in both books. “The shortcomings are in the messenger, not the message.” (Pg. 106, The Left Hand of Darkness) Genly Ai knew that sometimes when the responsibility of the truth is on one person it could get distorted. The truth can also get distorted when the people holding the power are in charge of keeping the truth. “Everything faded into mist. The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth.” (Pg. 62, Nineteen Eighty-Four) When truth is distorted one loses the freedom to decide if one wants to support truth or untruth.
When people’s friendships go untested they believe a friend would do anything for them, but when the trials come the trials end in betrayal. Winston believes he will stay true to Julia no matter what happens. “If I could save Julia by doubting my own pain, would I do it? Yes, I would.” (Pg. 184, Nineteen Eighty-Four) After Winston betrays everyone except Julia, he still believes he can withstand his torture and not betray Julia. “You have whimpered for mercy, you have betrayed everybody and everything. Can you think of a single degradation that has not happened to you? Winston had stopped weeping, though tears were still oozing out of his eyes. He looked up at O’Brien ‘I have not betrayed Julia,’ he said.” (Pg. 217, Nineteen Eighty-Four) Yet when the trial comes and his worst fear is realized, he betrays her in the end. “Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! I don’t care what you do to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the bones. Not me! Julia! Not me!” (Pg. 227, Nineteen Eighty-Four) In the Left Hand of Darkness, Estraven steals food and supplies for Genly Ai and himself even though he knew stealing was so despised. “Stealing is a vile crime on Winter; indeed the only man more despised then the thief is the suicide.” (Pg. 205, The Left Hand of Darkness) Estraven betrays Genly Ai because he left him alone after their long journey by purposely allowing himself to be shot. “‘He could have stopped. He saw the guards. He ran right into the guns.’(Genly Ai) The young physician said nothing for a while. ‘You’re not saying that he killed himself?’ ‘Perhaps-’ ‘That is a bitter thing to say of a friend.’” (Pg. 286, The Left Hand of Darkness)
A friend fills many roles from tormenter to lover, but serves the main purpose of helping a person survive. In the book Nineteen Eighty-Four, Winston has only one friend left after the interrogation and makes this comment about O’Brien. “He was the tormenter, he was the protector, he was the inquisitor, he was the friend.” (Pg. 193, Nineteen Eighty-Four) Being a friend allows O’Brien to fill many roles in Winston’s life. Genly Ai questions friendship on Winter because the people were able to change from friend to lover each month. Winter causes him to have to redefine his previous knowledge of friendship. “A friend, what is a friend, in a world where any friend can be a lover at a new phase of the moon?” (Pg. 213, The Left Hand of Darkness) Genly Ai and Estraven are friends that help each other to get through hard times. “Estraven and I had simply arrived at the point where we share whatever we had that was worth sharing.” (Pg. 247, The Left Hand of Darkness) Not only do they share food and supplies but they also share each other’s exile. “I thought myself in exile. You for my sake… I for yours.” (Pg. 202, The Left Hand of Darkness) By sharing you are able to understand each other better. These books show that friends are there to help fill your life either with food and supplies or questions and protection.
These books show that the death sentence is not a necessary way to punish one?s enemies. Life on Winter is hard to live. “And I really don’t see how anyone could put much stock in victory or glory after he had spent a winter on Winter, and seen the force of the ice.” (Pg. 97, The Left Hand of Darkness) Because life is not easy, it is punishment enough to live on Winter. There is no need to sentence someone to death. “The death-sentence is rare in Karhide. Life on Winter is hard to live and people there generally leave death to nature or to anger, not to law.” (Pg. 41, The Left Hand of Darkness) The same principal is shown in the book Nineteen Eighty-Four; the Thought Police did not want to kill its enemies but rather to change them. “We do not merely destroy our enemies; we change them.” (Pg. 201, Nineteen Eighty-Four)
The final part of humanity is the longing to belong or to be part of the whole. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, Julia wants to be part of a group that hates the party. This is the reason why she chooses to start seeing Winston. “‘You are very young,’ he said (Winston).’You are ten or fifteen years younger then I am. What could you see to attract you in a man like me?’” “It was something in your face. I thought I’d take a chance. I’m good at spotting people who don’t belong. As soon as I saw you I knew you were against them.” (Pg. 126, Nineteen Eighty-Four) Julia clings to Winston because he is part of the same group as she is. Just like Julia, Genly Ai wants to be part of the whole. “More and more often I longed for anonymity, for sameness. I craved to be like everyone else.” (Pg. 8, The Left Hand of Darkness) When one is part of the whole there is a feeling of relief that comes knowing you are not fighting alone and that you can take the part of the follower. “They formed a whole, I among them; each felt it, and it was a refuge and true comfort in the night.” (Pg. 173, The Left Hand of Darkness) An even greater relief can come to some people when they are part of a group because they have a name and a position to fulfill either as a leader or a follower. “I was named, known, recognized; I existed. It was an intense relief. I followed my leader gladly.” (Pg. 112, The Left Hand of Darkness)
Being part of a group can bring hardships and lack of thinking. When one is part of a large group it can take away his individual rights. “Private wills are not legal: a dying man leaves his fortune to the state.” (His group) (Pg. 117, The Left Hand of Darkness) Being part of a group requires one to give allegiance or love to his country, which can cause him to have to hate another country. “What is love of one’s country; is it hate of one’s uncountry? Then it’s not a good thing.” (Pg. 212, The Left Hand of Darkness) Therefore, by loving one?s country, a person brings hardships to himself. Patriotism can also cause fear in those who do not support their country. Fear is what creates enemies. “…When I say patriotism. I mean fear. The fear of the other.” (Pg. 19, The Left Hand of Darkness) Thus fear can also cause hardships in one?s life by creating more enemies to battle. Because Winston is a part of his country by force, he eventually is brain washed by O’Brien and changes his hate for Big Brother to love for him. “Down with Big Brother!” (Pg. 18, Nineteen Eighty-Four) “He loved Big Brother.” (Pg. 236, Nineteen Eighty-Four) He loses his freedom for he feels that freedom is the ability to die hating Big Brother. “To die hating them, that was freedom.” (Pg. 223, Nineteen Eighty-Four) Winston is brain washed and as a result he loses the freedom to make his own decisions about whom he will hate and whom he will love.
These books show that though the relationships between humans might be different, the principals are the same. These principals include the fact that humans will stand-alone when they have the truth on their side because truth cannot be changed. Secondly, when friendships are tried, they will break because of one’s love of him self. Moreover, the death sentence is not a necessary way to punish one’s enemies. Lastly, being part of a group can be helpful because an individual belongs, yet harmful because of blind loyalty. The relationships people build with others are a reflection of their beliefs of truth and humanity.