1984 nook Report
1984 is a novel written by George Orwell that portrays a communist society. It was published in 1949, as a futuristic novel, but in reality it was about the communist government of the present day Soviet Union. This book provokes you to make connections between fiction and reality, and think about the severe dangers caused when a government has too much power. Things that the communist party, Ingsoc, do in the book may seem too extreme and fictional to actually occur in real life, but George Orwell based all of the atrocities off of real life events. The shocking and horrible things being done under Big Brother directly correlate with real life actions taken by the Soviet Union during, and prior to the time the novel was written.
The novel follows the life of Winston Smith, a worker for the Department of Truth, under the government of Ingsoc. Ironically, the Department of Truth is used to erase and rewrite history, so that nothing ever goes against what the government says. Winstons job at the department is to correct mistakes in newspapers and so on. After changes are made, all documents are destroyed, and no trace or record of what actually occurred remains. Winston realizes that the government, or the Inner party, has complete control over history, and all information that is relayed to the masses. Because all information that comes from Big Brother, the party figurehead, is blindly swallowed by the people, they have the ability to alter history at their own discretion. Things are so bad that every single thing Big brother says is presumably completely made up, and Winston seems to be the only one who can recognize the falsehood. People are so in the dark of reality, that they do not even know the year.
The plot progresses as Winston begins to question Ingsoc in his own mind, and starts to realize more fully how bad everything is. He is constantly paranoid that he will be turned into the Thought Police for being against the Government. When he decides to keep a diary, he has to hide from his telescreen, a device that allowed the government to watch and hear his every move. He begins to tell the story about how his is scarred from his wife, and the way the brainwashing of Big Brother had ruined his marriage. His relationship with his wife is very bad, and he is starved for physical contact. To his surprise, a woman, Julia tells him that she is in love with him. Winston had previously been so paranoid, that he thought Julia was spying on him for being against the inner party. He and Julia move into an apartment to hide together, and are led to believe that they are safe from the watchful eyes of Big brother.
Though his assumptions about Julia were incorrect, Winston eventually discovers that he was in fact being spied on. A man from work who had his trust, OBrien, ultimately deceives him and sets him up to be arrested for thought crime, or being against the inner party. Winston is tortured and reformed for his unloyalty to big brother. They brainwash Winston and Julia into submission and loyalty to Big Brother, but not before OBrien leaks that the government only wants power over the people. Winston and Julia are both killed because of the threat they caused the government; the ability to think and question the horrible actions taken by their leaders.
The book made me more aware how horrible it must have been, and still is, for the people living in communist countries, because it gives a first hand account of the terrible conditions and infringements of freedom. It also disgusts me because I am aware that the Communist leaders got away with such horrible things for such a long time, and did such horrific things to people, and it makes me angry that there are still leaders doing things like this today. Just like in the novel, leaders like Stalin and Hitler erased history that made them look bad, and filled up peoples minds with false information and false hope. When people were in desolation and poverty, Stalin would tell them of grand improvements with out ever following through. As Big brother was used to manipulate the masses, propaganda and brainwash have been classic tools of communist to keep people dumb, and in submission. Also, torture much worse than anything in the story 1984 was used to make sure everyone stayed in line, in real countries, past and present.
Although I found the book a bit hard to read and repetitive at times, I thought George Orwell did a very good job at portraying the evils of a communist society. He clearly represented how the power and greed of men can turn evil and devastating. He showed how communist leader want to control everything, even taking away love, emotion, and the ability to think- from people in order to keep them in submission. The book was fictionalized by the futuristic setting, but even today, 2008, many years after the intended future, the horrible ways of communism described by Orwell are still scarily accurate, and very much still in practice.
bibliography : soley the book 1984