General Commentary of 1984 by George Orwell

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General Commentary of 1984 by George Orwell George Orwell's dystopian (a fictional place where people lead dehumanized and fearful lives) vision of the year 1984, as depicted in what many consider to be his greatest novel, has entered the collective consciousness of the English-speaking world more completely than perhaps any other political text, whether fiction or nonfiction. No matter how far our contemporary world may seem from 1984's Oceania, any suggestion of government surveillance of its citizens -- from the threatened "clipper chip," which would have allowed government officials to monitor all computer activity, to New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's decision to place security cameras in Central Park -- produces cries of "Big…show more content…
In his essay "1984: Enigmas of Power," Irving Howe writes, "There can be no 'free space' in the lives of the Outer Party faithful, nothing that remains beyond the command of the state. Sexual energy is to be transformed into political violence and personal hysteria." It is this recognition by the Party that there may be no element of "human nature" which can remain the province of the individual without endangering the Party's hold on its members that represents the great "advance" of Ingsoc (English Socialism, in OldSpeak) over previous totalitarian regimes. There was always room, notes Howe, in these previous regimes, for "'free space,' that margin of personal autonomy which even in the worst moments of Stalinism and Hitlerism some people wanted to protect." The "advance" represented by Ingsoc, according to Emmanuel Goldstein's The Theory and Practice of Oligarchal Collectivism, the book written by a collective of Inner Party members including O'Brien, is the realization by the Party that all previous oppressive regimes were nonetheless "infected" with liberal ideas about the individual: Part of the reason for this was that in the past no government had the power to keep its citizens under constant surveillance. The invention of print, however, made it easier to manipulate public opinion, and the film and the radio carried the process further. With the
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