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George Orwell: The Fight Against Totalitarianism

897 words - 4 pages

Winston Smith, the protagonist of Nineteen Eighty-Four and one of the last free men in Oceania wants nothing more than to remember history before Big Brother. Big Brother tries to control the public and how they view the truth with numerous surveillance techniques. Big Brother maximized the control the political ruling class had over the residents of Airstrip One by utilizing the creation of Newspeak, a variety of propaganda, and constant surveillance of citizens by the use of telescreens and the thought police.
Many believe that Orwell came up with the political ideas surrounding his book Nineteen Eighty-Four. It was written in a time were politics were influenced by World War One and the decade after. In The Road to Wigan Pier, Orwell wrote, “The horrors of the Russian Revolution were still fresh in everyone’s minds.” I don’t think Orwell was necessarily giving us a detailed picture of how the future will look, or how political communication will be conducted. In D. J. Taylor’s 2004 biography of George Orwell he observed that, “the appeal – and the resonance – of Nineteen Eighty-Four to many of its original readers stemmed from the fact that it depicted a world that, by and large, they already knew.” This quote reinforces my idea that Orwell did not prophesize the future but forces us to think about how our past actions control our future. O’Briens statement "Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past." Is Orwell stating about what he and many others experienced as a teenager living through the horrors of the First World War. In my mind this only reinforces the notion that Nineteen Eighty-Four was written around the structure of the Russian Revolution feeding the predictions Orwell makes about Newspeak, propaganda, and surveillance.
In his 1948 book, George Orwell, “predicts” the future of political communication. One of the main themes that jumped out was the shortening of their language or “Newspeak”. One powerful scene that illustrates the future of their language is when Winston and Syme are having lunch. While lunching Syme is working on the newest edition of the Newspeak dictionary, “It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words, you haven’t a real appreciation of Newspeak, Winston. Even when you write it you’re still thinking in Oldspeak. I’ve read some of those pieces that you write in the Times occasionally. They’re good enough, but they’re translations. In your heart you’d prefer to stick to Oldspeak, with all its vagueness and its useless shades of meaning. You don’t grasp the beauty of the...

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