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Dangers of Totalitarianism as Depicted in 1984

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“1984” written by George Orwell, is set in a massive nation called “Oceania”, consisting of the Americas, the Atlantic Islands, including the British Isles, Australia, and the southern portion of Africa. The story itself takes place during the year 1984 in London, a time in which the world found themselves in a lifeless situation caused by totalitarianism and the lust for power. Winston Smith, the main character of the novel goes through a path in which he discovers the ways in which the government has distorted society into which they find suitable to their liking. In addition, Goldstein, a member of the Inner Party betrays Winston by tricking him into believing that he can be trusted and is a member of “The Brotherhood” until the end of the novel when he turns Winston in. A vital part of 1984 is that it consisted of actual facts, about which Orwell went through, such as hunger, shortages, and repressions that were fueled by the extreme governmental policies of these countries. Those of which caused, war hysteria, the separation of families, and the persecution of those who came up with ideas or did not accommodate the party doctrine in order to leave a trace of history that suited the agenda of the Party. Orwell’s conjecture about the future is actually a creative extension of how the masses were treated under Franco, Hitler, and Stalin.

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The intention behind the political novel was to warn readers within the West of the hazards of totalitarian government. George Orwell, a survivor of the Cold War, witnessed the horrific lengths that defined the totalitarian governments in Spain and Russia would enter to gain dominance. 1984 was designed to sound the alarm in Western nations still unsure regarding a way to approach the upsurge of communism. During 1949, the Cold War had not escalated, communism was supported by several American intellectuals, therefore leaving the state of diplomacy between democratic and communist nations extremely ambiguous. Within the American press, the Soviet Union was typically depicted as an excellent ethical experiment. The widespread cruelties and oppressions he ascertained in communist countries and discerned to have been significantly troubled by the role in which technology played in the sanctionative oppressive governments to observe and pick out their citizens, deeply disturbed Orwell’s thoughts.

In 1984, George Orwell portrays the flawless totalitarian society, the foremost extreme realization conceivable of a modern-day government with absolute power. The title of the novel was meant to point to its readers in 1949 that the story portrayed a realistic picture of the forthcoming future: if totalitarianism wasn’t opposed, the title steered, some variation of the world represented within the novel may become a reality in merely thirty-five years. Orwell portrays a state in which government monitors and controls each facet of human life to the extent that even having a disloyal thought is against the law. As you progress through the novel progresses, the bashfully rebellious Winston Smith sets grows intentions to challenge the boundaries of the Party’s power, solely to realize that its ability to regulate and subjugate its subjects dwarfs even his most paranoid conceptions of its reach. Furthermore, the reader discerns through Winston’s eyes, that The Party uses a variety of techniques to regulate its citizens, every of that is a crucial theme of its own within the novel.

When comparing today’s world to the novel 1984 many of the things that George Orwell depicted have come to be. For instance, the Telescreens, in the novel almost every home, building, store, public and private place has large TV screens that broadcast government propaganda, news, and approved entertainment from the Inner Party. But there are also two-way monitors that spy on citizens’ private lives that are hidden in the posters and on the TVs. Social media such as Facebook and Instagram track our likes and dislikes, and government officials or private companies hired by the government themselves hack into our laptops and technology to find out more information about how we live and what we do. Then there are the surveillance cameras placed at every intersection, freeway, and store that you could possibly drive through that may keep a record of how you live your life.

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Lastly, in the never-ending war described in 1984, there’s a global war that has been going on for a very long time now and Winston Smith, the protagonist, comes to a realization that there is a new enemy and the old enemy is now our ally. “The past could be rewritten but not changed. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia”. At present time, we are fighting a war against terror in which we do not know of how it came to be and if there is any chance of it ending any time soon, a generalized societal fear, limited civil liberties, and a vague enemy who we do not know what it is or it’s whereabouts.

Works Cited

  1. Beale, Lewis. “Opinion: We’re Living ‘1984’ Today.” CNN, Cable News Network, 3 Aug. 2013,
  2. SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on 1984.” SparkNotes LLC. 2007. Web. 6 Dec. 2019.

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