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1984 Totalitarianism

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Totalitarianism is the overarching theme of 1984, written by George Orwell in 1948. The novel details the story of Winston Smith, a self-described weakling who spends his life working for the omniscient and cruel government party Big Brother. The authority in Smith’s country Oceania, the Party keeps a tight leash on the terrified citizens that dwell in its cities. Their primary goal? To exert total mind control, building an army of brainwashed robots who will believe that two plus two equals five if Big Brother proclaimed it true. The Party achieves this state of submission in citizens with two important concepts: surveillance and false information. In fact, totalitarianism, specifically in George Orwell’s 1984, contributes to the spread of…show more content…
These tactics, present in both fiction and the real world, psychologically manipulate and intimidate citizens into compliance. Totalitarianism, as shown in George Orwell’s 1984, drives citizens like protagonist Winston Smith to the brink of insanity, forcing them into submission. The novel centers on the all-knowing, all-powerful Big Brother who keeps his hold on citizens through the use of surveillance. The most prominent example of government surveillance lies in the telescreens, located everywhere throughout town, that watch all citizens constantly, waiting for one of them to commit a “Thoughtcrime” (a thought that disagrees with government views). As described in the text, “the telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it; moreover, so long as he…show more content…
Protagonist Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth, the section of the Party that controls information. Big Brother employs workers to methodically change material into propaganda for the Party, therefore forcing citizens to believe that the Party was, is, and always will be the most all-knowing force present in the world. As Winston describes, “if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed- if all records told the same tale- then the lie passed into history and became truth.” (Orwell 548). By erasing every detail that supported the true version of events, the Party could essentially craft their own past as a never ending story of victories for the Party. Building a history of victories and power flaunts leads citizens to believe that the Party can do no wrong, and therefore deserves to be in power. “‘Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’” (Orwell 555). “Controlling the past,” in many situations, meant blatantly changing indisputable facts. For example, throughout the novel, Oceania is at war with both Eastasia and Eurasia, but the Ministry of Truth edits the information to make it seem like whatever power is currently at war is the power that has always been at war. Both simple and complex, these edits can reinvent a whole past. Though it is composed of many elements, the telling of blatant
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