George Orwell's Vision Essay

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George Orwell's Vision

George Orwell's Government

In George Orwell's work, 1984, the author depicts what has been termed a "distopia." This is a concept that opposes the idea of a utopia, but it also connects with the utopia concept by means of its creation in the book. The novel imposes the distopia upon its citizens in terms of a government that envisions a utopia as a result of their actions. In the process of attempting to bring about this perfect world, a distopia results. In the novel, the government takes the form of totalitarianism, where citizens have only the minimal amount of choice and power in their lives. The government ensures the perpetuation of this situation by means of mind-control techniques.

In 1984, for example the totalitarian government is represented by the "Party," under its supreme ruler, aptly known as "Big Brother." Control is achieved by means of propaganda such as telescreens, posters, stamps, books, films and banners. All these media were constantly filled with the merits of the Party, and its three slogans: War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength (Leigh, 2010).

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To ensure that everybody did what Big Brother required, Police Patrol helicopters played the role of monitor. These helicopters allowed police to look through residence windows and act right away when citizen behavior became problematic. More insidious than this type of police was the Thought Police. Telescreens inside homes acted as spies and transmitted video data back to the thought police.

TOPIC: Essay on George Orwell's Vision Assignment

The Party therefore controlled citizens by means of both fear and brainwashing. Those who were less susceptible to brainwashing techniques were kept in subordination by fear of prosecution. The government and Big Brother were simply everywhere; no action or even thought went unnoticed. In this way, people were kept in complete slavery. The slogan "Freedom is Slavery" brought home the implication of this. The Party claimed that, in order to enjoy a free and peaceful society, citizens were to comply with the complete loss of their freedom and with insidious government observation.

Authors such as Alan Leigh (2010) see this as reminiscent of the American government not very long ago, just after the 9/11 attacks. The government implemented the Patriot Act, which implemented search and detention measures that removed certain human rights. The government sold this by means of the "American way of life" argument. George W. Bush for example said that, in order to continue enjoying the American way of life, certain freedoms and privacy rights had to be sacrificed.

The totalitarian government also discourages individualism among people, by referring to everyone as "Comrade." Thought-control propaganda channelled collective social hate in the direction that government dictated. In this way, potential resentment that might lead to revolution and rebellion is effectively curbed.

Even daily activities were strictly scheduled by the Party, including daily exercises. According to Leigh (2010), the government sought control in order to gain power. Throughout the novel, the power perpetuates itself. In this way, the rebelling protagonist is entirely alone. He fights a lonely battle not only against the Party, but also against his friends, and even his wife. It is almost impossible to overthrow the Party. By succeeding, or indeed partially succeeding in his struggle, Orwell's protagonist demonstrates the potential strength of the human spirit. Even in fighting a singular battle against the collective many, this spirit will not be crushed.

In short, Orwell's government in this book is totalitarian. It seeks to control all aspects of human life, and completely destroys individualism, freedom, and human rights with it. Allen Leigh (2010) rather gloomily applies this to current Western governments; while claiming that they are seeking the best for their people, they are in fact only brutalizing their rights and their freedoms.

In order to examine the precise notions of Orwell's government, Rudy Sedlak (1996) considers the author's views on the governmental paradigms of his time. As such, Sedlak notes that Orwell's vision, while quite consistent with certain of Orwell's experiences during the first half of the 20th century, is nonetheless also timeless. Even in 2010, as Leigh (2010) indicates, Orwell's 1984 particularly speaks to the hearts and minds of individuals.

According to Sedlak, Orwell was exposed to totalitarianism for the first time when he was fourteen and entered the Eton School in England. When he graduated, he went to work as an Imperial Policeman for England in Burma. Here Orwell became fully aware of the imposition of governmental totalitarianism and oppression. It is also in Burma that he became negative towards such influence upon human individuality.

It was therefore in Burma that the author first began to develop a rebellious position against the total control of governmental forces, and Sedlak reports that he felt "obligated to expose the truth" of the "basic evil" of totalitarianism. Orwell also found himself committed not only regard himself as equal, but also to in fact bring himself to an equal level with his fellow citizens. Discarding the trappings of a privileged citizen, he first reduced himself to a beggar and then went to fight as a soldier in the Spanish Civil War.

These experiences brought home to Orwell the injustice that the governmental system would often impose upon its citizens. He therefore dedicated not only his writings, but also his life, to exposing such governments for what they are. Although 1984 satirizes such a government in very extreme terms, it does not do so in terms that cannot be identified by those who suffer under such governments. As mentioned above, even modern-day authors and readers still see the applicability of the novel to certain government actions today. Sedlak (1996) quotes Orwell as saying: "Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for socialism, as I understand it."

Part II. Historical Antecedents

The sources of Orwell's political ideas emerge from certain antecedents to his time, and also, as mentioned, from his own experiences with totalitarianism. 1984 contains structures reminiscent of totalitarian societies such as the totalitarian Russian government and Nazi Germany.

Big Brother and the Party for example act as substitutes for the freedom of choice. If human beings did not submit themselves to this regime, they were captured, incarcerated and tortured (or what the Party calls "rehabilitated") until they are once again submissive to the beliefs and requirements of the Party. Winston Smith, the protagonist of 1984 is for example completely destroyed by his rehabilitation. He is trapped by a loyal Party member and incarcerated as well as tortured until his drive for change and his love for Julia are completely destroyed. He rejoins society as a nearly soulless automaton, who derives no pleasure from life or work.

Ironically, this totalitarian method of government was seen as a way to improve society and create a type of utopia. However, such ideals do not take into account the human need to investigate, research, and form opinions. It does not recognize human diversity or the need to both honor and exercise diversity. Nor does it heed the fact that romantic human attachments do not distract, but rather give increased meaning to human life.

In 1984, Winston's affair with Julia proves his human need to love deeply and be loved in return. However, this does not correlate with the ideal of the Party and Big Brother, which is to exercise absolute control not only over the lives of all human beings on earth, but also over their thoughts and emotions. Nothing is private or respected. Everything and all life is subject to the Party and belongs to it.

In the same way, Nazi Germany envisioned a change for the better. The ideology behind this is that, if all human beings subscribe to a single system, then the society will be stable and happy. In order to achieve these goals, devices such as torture and incarceration were implemented, creating a regime of fear. Ironically, "love" in Orwell's novel is equal to fear. It is a forced love. The only acceptable type of love is for the Party. Orwell's Party in 1984 is reminiscent of the Nazi paradigm, as is the habit of citizens to call each other Comrade. Furthermore, the constant monitoring of citizens and both their public and private lives for the purpose of control is much like the situation in Nazi Germany. Normal citizens were brutalized and afraid of their government.

The same is true of the Russian government during and after the Revolution. It was the task of the KGB and the Secret Police to create a stable and equal society. However, the result was even greater misery than that experienced under the feudal system of governance. Not being experienced at governing themselves, the old system was simply replaced by a new type of oppression. Free thinking and disagreement were not allowed. Just as in 1984, all who would not subscribe to the new regime were captured and tortured until their souls and often their lives were destroyed. In this way,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

George Orwell's Vision.  (2010, March 19).  Retrieved October 26, 2021, from

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"George Orwell's Vision."  19 March 2010.  Web.  26 October 2021. <>.

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"George Orwell's Vision."  March 19, 2010.  Accessed October 26, 2021.