1984 was written in 1949 during the Cold War and the great fear of the communist invasion. It was rumored that communist spies were living in our society and threatened our very way of life. 1984 displays a powerful warning of what fear can lead to. This novel proves to maintain its relevancy even in today’s society, as we fear constant government surveillance under the guise of fighting the war on terror. The novel is not for children as it depicts scenes of torture. George Orwell’s 1984 has become the epitome of a dystopian society.
George Orwell’s classic 1984 centers on the totalitarian control of Oceania. Citizens of Oceania live under constant surveillance from the “telescreens” and microphones placed everywhere from their house to place of work. Any facial expression that might show a feeling of distaste towards the “Party” in control will result in arrest, interrogation, and ultimately execution by the “Thought Police.” Even the children are taught espionage and to betray their parents at any sign of dissent from the “Party.” Individuality has been completely eradicated because any perceived eccentricity means certain death.
The “Party” has complete control over the history that is presented to its citizens. They use this control to create the image of an infallible presence. Any contradiction to their word will be rewritten to portray the party in the correct manner. Because of the complete control that the “Party” has over its citizens, anything they say instantly becomes fact. The “Party” tells people that 2+2=5 and they unquestionably accept it as the truth. The “Party” seeks complete control over its citizen’s thoughts and even goes so far as to attempt to eradicate the orgasm
Oceania is constantly at war with either Eurasia or Eastasia and changes throughout the novel. When the enemy changes, the history books are rewritten so that Oceania is always at war with the one enemy. This constant state of war is used to keep the citizens of Oceania in fear of the outside world. Public executions of captured enemy combatants are to dehumanize the enemy and show that only “Party” members are human.
The protagonist, Winston Smith, lives with distaste of the “Party”. After engaging in an unauthorized affair with Julia, the two of them seek out the rumored resistance to the “Party”. This resistance proves to be futile as they are both arrested by the “Thought Police” very quickly. After months of torture, Winston completely conforms and accepts that 2+2=5 and that he loves Big Brother.