Living Under Control Essay

1253 words - 6 pages

A person can often be fascinated by the idea that the government may not always possess as much control as it appears to have. Dystopian novels from any time period have very similar themes. The novels of the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth and 1984 by George Orwell develop character individuality by using oppressive governments. These novels explore individual’s struggles for identity under a tightly managed government by looking at character attempts to be different, and how governments take action to resolve rebellion. In their novels, Roth and Orwell reflect the society they lived in by the way they resolved the plots. These two novels do well to represent perspectives of government and how characters find their voice when under the jurisdiction of an oppressive government.

As stated in the American Heritage Dictionary “A totalitarian government is a government where the political authority exercises absolute and centralized control over all aspects of life.” This means individuals are subject to the authority of the state and opposing political and cultural expression is suppressed. The government of Oceania in 1984 eliminates freedom through Newspeak and the Institution of Thoughtcrime. For the average people of Oceania it is unheard of to question the government or wonder about past events. It is a crime to express one’s personal thoughts and this is why in the novel Winston hides his diary because he has written that, “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two makes four. If this is granted, all else follows,” (Orwell 84). The party must keep his curiousity suppressed so it does not spar the curiousity of others. If his curiousity is discovered he could be sentenced to death or a minimum of life in a concentration camp. In Divergent, Tris is struggling against control from her faction and from the threats of the Erudites under Jeanine’s control. Tris feels threatened by Jeanine because she is a power-hungry government official who is attempting to take advantage of her position to fulfill her own corrupt desires as well as force unrealistic situations in to the responsibilities of other factions. Tris concludes that if Jeanine, “wants everyone to be pliable and easy to control,” (Roth 430) then she has the right to stand against the face of totalitarianism by working towards a practical solution.

Unless a citizen is content being submissive to unrealistic terms and conditions of everyday life, it would be natural to have an inner desire for freedom of individuality. As a person gets curious they become desperate to understand how and why the government exercises such power. While living under an oppressive government it is natural for person to test their boundaries by seeking to fulfill natural desires that are being limited by the law. In 1984 Winston makes rash acts of rebellion to test the limits of the power, such as having a forbidden love affair, joining the anti-Party brotherhood and...

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