Looking to the Future
“WAR IS PEACE
FFREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH”(Orwell 3).
It is the year 1984 in London, Oceania. Winston Smith is one of many people in Orwells prediction of the world in the future but is todays past. The world appears as a dark and fearful place where the only rhyme or reason is created by Big Brother, ruler of the state and the head member of the Party. All of the above phrases in the slogan show the power which is given to the Party (government). The best description lies in the Newspeak word doublethink.
“Doublethink means the power of holding to contradictory beliefs in ones mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. The Party intellectual knows in which direction his memories must be altered; he therefore knows that he is playing tricks with reality; but by the exercise of doublethink he also satisfies himself that reality is not violated”(Orwell 190).
Many descriptions similar to this are given in the book and help explain the way in which the socialist government of Oceania operates. It explains how a strong ruler can manipulate facts to fit his or her own intentions, which is often what socialist rulers may have done and still may do.
Many of the ideas in 1984 were written to show predictions of what the world might be like if people did not question and act on what was happening around them. Orwell wrote 1984 after World War II when socialist governments which had gone wrong, like Russia, were becoming a powerful force in the world. Orwell, having once fought against Communist Russia, saw how much of a dangerous power they could become in the future, and in turn found it necessary to inform readers of what the future could hold. 1984 is his idea of what a country, such as England in this book, would be like if a socialist government came into power. He writes of the control that can be presented by a ruler by fear. A ruler can use fear to suppress a persons ideas and make him or her believe what a ruler thinks or says. A good example of this is at the end when Winston has been caught and is relearning how to obey and never doubt Big Brother.
“TWO AND TWO MAKE FIVE”(Orwell 247).
This was used in the context that Winston would believe whatever he was told. Whether it be this mathematical equation or who Oceania was at war with, he would believe it because of the fear of torture.
Orwell presented a dark, fearful world in his book. His fluent use of the English language creates the effect that everything has a sense of darkness, hate, or mystery. He explains many times of the “Two Minutes Hate”(Orwell 54) and “Hate Week”(Orwell 176) in order to show the amount of hate incorporated into the society of Oceania. These events are expressions of hate towards Oceanias enemy. The book begins in a dreary mood and progresses into a happier, more positive one, but ends in a dreary defeated felling. The book left me in a bad mood because I found that it projected the image that if one person was ever dominated by another, it would never be possible to escape the domination.
My opinion of the book mirrored the plot of the book. In the beginning when everything is very negative and depressing, it was a long dragging process to read it. As the book progressed to a more hopeful promising state, I began to enjoy reading it. The end was disappointing because of its lack of happiness and leaving me with a sense that life is always a no no-win situation. After thinking and discussing the book with other people, I felt more attached to the book. By learning the situation of the book and why he wrote it, I felt like the book showed important ideas.
Overall, my opinion of the book is neutral. I could have done without reading it, but I also gained a little knowledge. It didnt consist of the amount of action and edge of my seat suspense that I enjoy. I found it hard to sit down and read 1984, which was more of a persons vision, rather than a developed story.