Utopian Societies in Literature
There are quite a few similarities between Terry Gilliam’s film, Brazil, and George Orwell’s novel, 1984. The protagonists in each story have very similar personalities, thoughts, and actions. Along with the connection between the main characters, the perspective governments in each story are extremely similar and, in general, the plot and overall feel of the stories are similar. While the novel 1984, and the movie Brazil compare greatly, so do they both compare with the film version of 1984, starring John Hurt. The two movies have a great deal in common; certain scenes seem to be interchangeable between the two films.
Part I: The Protagonists
The plots of these two stories are extremely comparable, and it is easy to see why. Both tales have a protagonist that doesn’t really fit the role of a hero, and each hero ends up failing after it is all said and done. Winston Smith and Sam Lowry are essentially antiheroes who both work for fascist governments, and the paths that these two antiheroes take leads them to similar ends. In fact, the great similarities between the two plots lead to great similarities between the two heroes.
The comparisons between Sam Lowry (Brazil) and Winston Smith (1984) are evident throughout both works. Their lives, in general, are quite similar. Winston Smith lives in a tiny, run-down apartment, as does Sam Lowry. The only difference is that Sam doesn’t have Big Brother watching over him, but the level of fascism between the two pieces isn’t that different.
Along with both characters living in pathetic little flats, they both hold boring, middle-management type jobs for their respective governments. Winston Smith works in the Ministry of Truth, which controls the news, and Lowry works at the Ministry of Information in the Department of Records. The Department of Records basically makes sure that all records of any kind are properly filed and taken care of. They both find their jobs monotonous for the most part, but they both love them as well.
“Winston’s greatest pleasure in life was in his work. Most of it was a
tedious routine, but included in it there were also jobs so difficult and intricate that you could lose yourself in them as in the depths of a
mathematical problem – delicate pieces of forgery in which you had nothing to guide you except your knowledge of the principles of Ingsoc and your estimate of what the Party wanted you to say. Winston was good at this kind of thing.” (Orwell 39)
Just as Winston loves his boring job, so does Sam. As Sam’s friend says to him, “Let a friend tell you that your life is going wrong. Records is a dead-end department. Your security is never worth a damn; it’s impossible to get noticed,” and Sam replies, “I know. Wonderful. Marvelous. Perfect.” It is obvious that these two men are quite happy when they are at work, and they don’t feel the need to be promoted or have too much success. Sam Lowry...