1984 - a futuristic novel... coming to fruition?

cwilko2011 By cwilko2011, 13th Jun 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/_.8lti93/
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Books>Science Fiction & Fantasy

A short look at the prolific novel by George Orwell. The thoughts of a dying man, written on his death bed chronicling his view on what the future may hold.

Overview

In short, Orwell’s novel portrays a single protagonist attempting to escape the overbearing power of the controlling party. Like the Inca’s and Myans before him, Orwell could be seen as prolific due to the way in which the actions of his party are now being played out across the world in varying degrees. The very thought of Big Brother (although popularised into a television show) is something that is ever more apparent.

Orwell’s hapless protagonist Winston personifies the need for escape. Not only does he want to escape his life and the party, he wants to escape the monotony of life. Sound Familiar. Orwell wrote 1984 throughout the duration of World War Two, undoubtedly influencing his novel.

Background

Orwell was primarily concerned with social condition. Having lived through both the world wars, he wrote extensively on the social conditions of the working class. It is notable that "The Proles" in 1984 make up 85% of the population of the new world. This vast majority are controlled exclusively by the 2% that infiltrate every walk of life.

The novel, in some cases, has striking similarities with modern day life. The themes of censorship and surveillance play a prominent role within the novel, both things that we, as a modern world, can identify with.

Censorship


The world of 1984 is rife with censorship. Any and everything that can be censored is, including thought. Documents are changed to the political ideology. There is no religion and any references to enjoying sex are removed. In its most drastic form, people are removed from photos as “unpersons” people who never existed. Articles are fabricated to heighten the “truth” of the party. Documents from the “heretic” Goldstein are regarded as blasphemous and the ownership of such documents will see you taken to prison. Party members are not allowed any writing materials, this would incite hate. Winston however keeps a diary and uses a tiny alcove where the TV screens can’t see him to write his diary. This however causes his eventual downfall.

Surveillance

There are TV screens in each apartment in the “Victory Mansion”, keeping a watchful eye when the party workers are outside the workplace. There are huge posters of the party leader “Big Brother” draped around the city to remind the party workers that they are being watched. Worse still, Big Brother employs the children of the party workers to spy on their parents. This leads to the eventual arrest of Parsons who denounces the party in his sleep. Even when in the ranks of proletariat outside the glare of the TV screens there is an air of surveillance. If a party member were to be seen in the precincts of the proletariat it would be assumed that they are inciting hate towards the party. There is no escape from Big Brother.

Startling

That is not to say that the developed world is not at risk. There are surveillance cameras everywhere now for “our own safety”, do we always know when we are being watch. Worse still, the Internet is the worst type of surveillance. Every single time you click on a page or a like, there is a copy in a government database somewhere. I concede this is excellent for catching criminals but what happens when others can access this data outside government agency.

Take Facebook for example. This is the single most intrusive means of information collection. Think how much information the average person has on a single profile. Not to mention allowing people around the world know what you are doing? A case in hand is the spate of house parties gone wrong. The rate at which information can be disseminated is alarming. Or the poor fool who announces that they are flying out of the country for two weeks and that their house will be empty for a certain amount of time? Might as well send the invites out now, would you like to burgle me while I’m away?

Be wary

I'm not saying that we are all at risk of complete and utter annihilation but a little care is all that is needed. Just think before you make announcements on social networking sites. We are being watched, for the most part we never know who by or for how long. They say ignorance is bliss right? I think this may be the best stance to take. Global governments are not going to stop collecting date, simply, we make it far too easy for them.

Tags

Big Brother, Censorship, Dystopia, George Orwell, Government, Surveillance, The Party

Meet the author

author avatar cwilko2011
English Post-grad guy who loves to read.

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