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George Orwell’s 1984 Compared to Today

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George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four depicts a dystopian society, in which civilians are constantly being monitored through day-to-day life. With issues such as criminalization of free thought and the use of technology, in the novel, Orwell has predicted what is happening today, which makes Nineteen Eighty-Four a classic novel, suitable for students to revisit in the 21st century.

Technology, a concept in Nineteen Eighty-Four that is still relevant in modern society today, with the TV show Big Brother, inspired by this novel, it just shows that Nineteen Eighty-Four essentially predicted the future we live in today. In Nineteen Eighty-Four technology was a new way to control people with fear, with the party in power, they easily manipulated people with technology and brainwashed the public by putting telescreens in private areas and microphones around the town.

Today, there is no need for ‘Big Brother’ as we volunteer so much personal information about ourselves on social media already, we’re basically handing it to the government. Nineteen Eighty-Four delivers this concept of thought police; the thought police were hired by the government to monitor all telescreens to find certain people who commit a crime against the party. According to the novel the public had “no way of knowing you were being watched.” We put our thoughts on social media. You think no one is watching? Think again.

The Circle confronts readers with several themes related to technology with surveillance being a big part in the movie The Circle where the company is over-run by technology. The Circle shows how surveillance interferes with human freedom and human nature. It shows how surveillance destroys the beauty of human interaction and shows how relationships change when using technology. This is also relevant to today’s society because of our extensive use of social media. Social media can desensitize emotions and can often create a false sense of communication.

Orwell hypothesised that if society continued as it was going in his lifetime, by 1984, the world would become similar to the one illustrated in his book. His prediction was correct as events in his novel are currently happening in modern society. From technology to criminalization of thought, Orwell’s predictions were, in fact, correct.

Thought crime in Winston’s world is the act of having any subversive, original or unsanctioned thought, and results in the individual suspected to be ‘vaporised.’ Literally every trace and record of your existence is wiped from the public memory. And of course Big Brother doesn’t have to prove you had a criminal thought, just arrest you under the suspicion that you might have. Sounds familiar? Today’s social score is derived by judging an individual’s credit character based on their activity on social platforms like Facebook of Google. The Government might have the right to go into your home and tap your phone and computer. And that’s all perfectly legal since you might be a terrorist. Right?

Nineteen Eighty-Four has an idea of there being “facecrimes” in Orwell’s novel he states:

“In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face was itself a punishable offence. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime, it was called.”

This is similar to the movie The Circle ‘Soul Search’ which allows Circlers to track down virtually any human in the entire world in under twenty minutes with the help of other Circlers. Essentially, Soul Search is a global manhunt, with clear negative implications. This and “facecrime” is relevant to modern society as a situation similar to “facecrimes” has happened in airports. Where they have trained personnel to wander airports and ask travellers questions, and then watch their face expressions when they respond. Questions such as “where are you going” or “going on vacation.” The personnel believe they can observe to notice ‘micro face expressions’ and if your expression sparks suspicion, you will be taken aside for more questioning.

Manipulation in Nineteen Eighty-Four occurs quiet frequently within the party, the party manipulates the past in order to control the present.

“He who controls the past controls the future, he who controls the present controls the past.”

The party believes that when rewriting the events of the past, they can maintain their position of authority. Another form of manipulation in the novel is mind control. Every day the citizens are forced to partake in the 2-minute hate, a brainwashing exercise where civilians spew curses and rage against Goldstein. In today’s society, we are all being manipulated with ‘fake news’ especially in the US. It has been revealed by New York Times, that there has been a large amount of fake and pre-packaged news created by US government departments.

Manipulation can also be found in The Circle where Mae’s thoughts are manipulated. When The Circle finds out that Mae went kayaking, she failed to “zing” about her kayaking experience, The Circle was not happy with her. The Circlers was not happy that she did not post her experience online for everyone to see. This is manipulating as she begins to lose her sense of identity, along with her self-esteem.

The Circle and Nineteen Eighty-Four are very similar, in ways of control, thinking of the phrase ‘what’s yours is mine’ in the circle its leaders call secrets “lies” and privacy “theft” whereas in Nineteen Eighty-Four by not allowing individual to keep records of their past, like photographs and documents.

Back in the day, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four was considered a sci-fi horror. Now, its not too far off from the world we live in today. So, in conclusion, we can clearly and confidently say that Nineteen Eighty-Four is a classic text that should be re-read and taught in the 21st century.  

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George Orwell’s 1984 Compared To Today. (2022, February 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved August 11, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/george-orwells-1984-compared-to-today/
“George Orwell’s 1984 Compared To Today.” GradesFixer, 10 Feb. 2022, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/george-orwells-1984-compared-to-today/
George Orwell’s 1984 Compared To Today. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/george-orwells-1984-compared-to-today/> [Accessed 11 Aug. 2022].
George Orwell’s 1984 Compared To Today [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Feb 10 [cited 2022 Aug 11]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/george-orwells-1984-compared-to-today/
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