Comparing 1984 And 2081, By Kurt Vonnegut

1008 Words5 Pages
Torture, murder, oppression; these despicable acts are prime tenets in the governments of 1984, by George Orwell, and 2081, by Kurt Vonnegut. Inhuman acts are commonplace in many fictional worlds, but these two works showcase characters losing their humanity and being subjected to terrible acts. In both 1984 and 2081, dehumanization and inhumane acts are expressed through the removal of free expression and physical violence designed to break deviants. In both texts, physical torture and murder are used to reinforce themes of inhumanity, specifically of characters being stripped of their humanity. First, physical torture is used to break down any semblance of protest in rebels in both works. Harrison Bergeron in 2081 is sentenced to continual torture to weaken and eventually break him, so that he might conform to the expectations of the government, and in 1984, Winston is captured by the Thought Police and pushed into a cycle of constant beatings and “re-education”, in which he is tortured until he accepts whatever O’Brien tells him (Orwell 263). The use of torture to recondition rebels is presented differently in each work, but the end result is the same. Torture, in this case, is used to wear down individuals until they are pacified and accepting of whatever the government wants them to believe. While Harrison resists and Winston is beaten, both stories use torture as a device to strip characters of their humanity. They are coerced into giving up free will, one of the

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