Totalitarianism In Orwell's Mind Essay

1291 words - 5 pages

The Party desires to control every aspect of Winston Smith’s life; his work, ideologies, attitude, thoughts, appearance, everything. The Thought Police, Big Brother, and Ingsoc are embodiments of everything that author George Orwell hates in government. 1984, a book written by Orwell, depicts a society called Oceania, in which unwary citizens are obedient to the Party, a totalitarian regime. Totalitarianism is defined as a political system in which a centralized government does not tolerate any form of political dissent and seeks to control many, if not all, aspects of public and private life. Another one of George Orwell’s books, Animal Farm, is an allegory about the Soviet Union, and in it farm animals subscribe to a belief system, akin to Marxism, called Animalism. Eventually the Pigs take over the farm, with one of them, Napoleon, as their leader. They rule the farm with an iron fist, utilizing the fact that the other farm animals are far less intelligent than them. “Harrison Bergeron”, a short story created by author Kurt Vonnegut, is about the United States in the 2080s, where people are equal due to devices that handicap their strengths. The dynamic, god-like character, Harrison Bergeron, is able to break free from his handicaps, but in the end is killed by an executive within the US Government. The authors of these novels and stories, George Orwell specifically, display their distaste for totalitarianism through the fictional governments that they create, the ways in which they depict these governments to be the villains, and their characters’ desire for a better life.
In 1984, George Orwell created a complex, fascistic government with a hunger for power and control, and this type of governing is shown in other literary texts. In the latter half of 1984, Winston Smith, the protagonist of the novel, receives a book that details on the society and government of Oceania. One passage states:
“In Oceania there is no law. Thoughts and actions which, when detected, mean certain death are not formally forbidden, and the endless purges, arrests, tortures, imprisonments, and vaporizations are not inflicted as punishment for crimes which have not been actually committed, but are merely the wiping-out of persons who might perhaps commit a crime at some time in the future. A Party member is required to have not only the right opinions, but the right instincts” (Orwell 1984 211).
This excerpt basically states that anyone who dissents from the ideas of Ingsoc, the political belief system in Oceania, are tortured and killed, enforcing the Party’s totalitarian will. This creates a form of legitimacy in the Oceanian government, because everyone views the government to have a right to exist; everyone who thinks otherwise is dead. Another way to create legitimacy is via appearance, such as the pigs in Animal Farm. Squealer is a charismatic and deceiving pig on the farm, and constantly lies to the animals on the farm to keep the pigs in...

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