In society today, the horrific truth is that numerous people are hungry for power, and desire to be in a position that is exceedingly high above the rest. This is the general ideology of the Party, the supreme and ruling government in the legendary narrative 1984, written by George Orwell. 1984 is a dystopian, science fiction novel that is set during the year 1984 in the superstate of Oceania. In a malevolent world of continuous warfare, relentless government scrutiny, and constant human manipulation, the story revolves around a man named Winston Smith, a citizen of Oceania who lives in Airstrip One, a futuristic and dystopian Great Britain. Winston sees the tyrannical reign that the Party has over Oceania, mostly because of the lies that he helps feed the people, through his job of altering and “fixing” past records at the Ministry of Truth. In the novel, Winston grows tired of the Party’s dictatorship, and dreams of a revolution that will overthrow the government that he covertly detests. 1984 is an illustrious tale that has remained a relevant read to everyone, because of the excellent and eye-opening ideas found beneath its context. Orwell’s use of the theme of manipulation, universal role of characters, and impressive symbolism covers how this book is truly a classic piece of literature.
The theme of manipulation in 1984 plays an important role throughout the novel in order to convey the narrative, and ultimately proves why it is a great and relevant work of literature. To begin, one of the many ways that manipulation is employed in the novel is through “Newspeak”, the official language of Oceania. The idea of manipulation through words and linguistics is disclosed in Syme’s explanation of the language:
It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. Of course the great wastage is in the verbs and adjectives, but there are hundreds of nouns that can be got rid of as well. It isn’t only the synonyms; there are also the antonyms. After all, what justification is there for a word which is simply the opposite of some other word? A word contains its opposite in itself. (Orwell 134)
Syme, a co-worker of the protagonist Winston Smith, displays his adoration of the ongoing establishment of the language of Newspeak. Syme subtly reveals to the readers how this implementation of a new and different language can lead to the Party’s absolute control over the citizens of Oceania. Through the deterioration of language, the thoughts of people become limited, and their individual opinions restrained. This occurs because the thoughts and judgments of individuals rely on language to communicate the distinctive ideas that they hold. The reduced vocabulary in Newspeak allows the Party to easily control the minds of the members of the state. Moreover, the theme of manipulation is also present in the merciless torture of the citizens of Oceania, in the Ministry of Love. O’Brien clearly manipulates Winston by using his deepest fear to bend him into the...