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Influences On George Orwell: Who Is Watching Whom?

1523 words - 7 pages

George Orwell once said, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” Orwell understood that telling the truth was an anomaly. He lived in a world full of lies and hatred. Consequently, George Orwell wanted to show people the real dangers of a totalitarian government, and he wrote two political novels that warn people of those dangers. These novels are still respected today, as some believe the world is turning into the “Orwellian” society he created in his most famous book, 1984. Although George Orwell wanted to tell the truth, he lacked a father figure, lived during the Russian Revolution, and had strong political biases that also influenced the writing of 1984, which ultimately influenced the political advocates of his time.
George Orwell developed a habit of spending time alone because he was unpopular at school and his father was never home. Orwell, therefore, strongly disliked him (British Writers 275). The main character in 1984, Winston Smith, also had no father figure in his life. In this way, Orwell and Winston share the common characteristic of the desire to have deeper connections with others. In 1984, the government despises intimate relationships. Marriage has been restricted to reproducing to make more party members. All marriages must be approved so that two people, who actually love each other, cannot get married. At the same time, Winston is searching for a deeper bond, so he breaks the rules and sneaks off with a woman to spend more time with her. This goes against all of the party’s laws that keep people, like Winston, from having the relationships that he yearns for. Winston goes on to say, “…you could not have pure love or pure lust nowadays. No emotion was pure, because everything was mixed up with fear and hatred” (Orwell, 1984, 126). With this in mind, Winston’s quest for a true relationship mimics that of Orwell’s early childhood. Both are on an insatiable pursuit for true love. But what Orwell wanted more than to have a relationship was to be understood. Writing for Orwell was a means of escaping his life of failure. (Orwell, “Why I Write”). He realized that writing and making up stories was easy for him, but Orwell did not want to write primarily to tell a story. He wanted to give his opinions in an aesthetic manner. Although he had no friends to talk to, he could always write in his diary. It was in his diary that he wrote about his feelings and created a world where he felt he was accepted and understood. Like Orwell, Winston sought to be understood. Orwell reflects in the novel by stating, “Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood. O’Brien had tortured him to the edge of lunacy, and in a little while, it was certain, he would send him to his death. It made no difference. In some sense that went deeper than friendship, they were intimates” (Orwell, 1984, 252). Winston found the connection he was looking for in the man who was torturing him....

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