Image of Totalitarian System in 1984 by George Orwell

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George Orwell wrote his novel 1984 and showed what the world will become if the government is taken by totalitarian leaders. In 1984 there is demonstrated the government’s attempts, used to control people. In the novel, Oceanians, who were in the Party, had only one truth; the Party and the leader, Big Brother, are always right. The novel highlights the different methods the government uses to manipulate and control people. One of these ways was the constant surveillance. The government was following every step, every breath, and every thought of the party’s members. In fact, the government followed the Party members by using telescreens, running a Thought Police, and teaching kids to spy on their parents.

First, the government placed telescreens in every room of the party members to watch what they do, listen what they speak, and understand what they think. “Any sound Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it” (Orwell 4). Winston is the main character of the book who had anti-party thoughts. He hates the party, because he understands that they control people. Winston also hates the fact that he is being watched all the time and can’t express his thoughts. Winston was afraid to open his diary which was legal, but if they noticed that he is writing rebellious thoughts in the diary, he would be punished by death, or 25 years in labor camp (Orwell 9).

He was against the totalitarian system of the party. However, Winston knew that he is too powerless to face the party leader, The Big Brother. Winston was always in the “twinge of panic” for writing his thoughts (Orwell 23). The telescreens showed what he was doing, and if they saw and wanted to check, Winston would appear in a horrible condition. The party could also hear what they were talking; thus, Winston could not even talk about his rebellious thoughts with his lover, Julia, with whom he was in an illegal love affair. People’s privacy was completely violated in the novel; they not only could not stay alone for one single minute, but also, they were unable to have relationships.

Second, the biggest proof of the lack of privacy, represented in the novel, was that people’s thoughts were controlled by the Thought Police. “Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime is death” (Orwell 30). Thought Police was catching those who commit crimes in their heads. That is to say, by looking at people’s face expressions they would arrest them and punish by death. Winston even once thought that Julia is an agent of Thought Police who came to discover his thoughtcrime (Orwell 14).

Thought Police was everywhere, following people, noticing their gestures, and signs for thoughtcrimes. This was so terrifying for Winston that he was not showing any face expressions. Every day a spy from the Thought Police was unmasked when catching a thought criminal (Orwell 18). People never know who can be a member of Police; consequently, they don’t trust anyone. Personal relationships were not only prohibited, but were also punished by the law. The Thought Police was the main system that people were afraid of, because it seemed like they read people’s minds.

Third, the Party was training children to spy on their parents and report the thought crimes in families. One day, when Winston was helping his neighbor by fixing the sink, the neighbor’s kids aggressively accused Winston of being a thought criminal. Winston thought, “It was somehow slightly frightening, like the gamboling of tiger cubs which will soon grow up into man-eaters” (Orwell 23). These kids were raised loyal to the Party only. If there were any rebellious thoughts against the Party in their families, they were ready to turn in their parents.

In fact, these kids were spies with no hearts; they liked seeing violent stuff and punishments since they were begging their mom to take them to the square to watch the hanging of thought criminals (Orwell 24). Winston was trying to avoid these kids, because he was a thought criminal as well. He knew that among a lot of surveillance techniques, kids were the most terrifying ones; they were well-trained by the party leaders. By repeating the slogan “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU”, the government means that every step is watched (Orwell 3). Parents obviously cannot abandon their kids. Thus they would need to be loyal to the Party and keep their rebellious thoughts to themselves if they wanted to live.

Overall, the surveillance in the novel illustrates the horrible conditions people were living in back in the totalitarian times. It is hard to live when telescreens are in the room watching people’s every step and word. Moreover, it was also not permittable to think anything against the Party, because the Thought Police was following people and looking for thought criminals. Lastly, the spy kids were dangerously well-trained to be future Thought Police members. Winston was trying to oppose the party; however, the Party noticed that at the end. The punishment was so shocking that it finally brainwashed Winston and made him believe that the Big Brother, the leader of the party, is always right.


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Image of Totalitarian System in 1984 by George Orwell. (2021, Feb 16). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/image-of-totalitarian-system-in-1984-by-george-orwell/

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