Essay on Theme of Privacy in 1984

In 1984 George Orwell describes how no matter where you go in Oceania there is

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a telescreen right there watching you. Everything you do say or sometimes even think,

Big Brother will know. 1984 was written in 1949 and Orwell hinted at technology which

never even existed. Perhaps he saw it coming because of how popular the television was

becoming. There are many ideas in this novel that Orwell predicts. Some came true in

1984, some did not, but today in United States there is an issue of privacy similar to the

one that is described in 1984. Of course technology didn’t develop exactly the way

Orwell predicted it would, but he wasn’t too far off.

In Oceania, Big Brother was in control. No one knew who he was or whether he

even existed. Everyone was taught to love Big Brother without question, so no one asked.

Winston would see things written all around the city, things like “BIG BROTHER IS

WATCHING” (6). And it was true, Big Brother was always watching. He had eyes

everywhere, and those eyes were the telescreens. They were inside people’s houses, in

public places, at work, everywhere there was a blank wall. Because of this people were

hesitant to say or do things that might seem like they are against Big Brother in any way.

In one instance in the novel a woman is walking toward Winston. He sees that her hand is

hurt and she falls because of the wounded hand and Winston helps her up. But the

woman hides the pain because she knows that any sign of weakness might get her in

trouble. She knows that someone is always watching.

Early in the novel we see that Winston is annoyed by the telescreens constantly

monitoring his entire life. In the morning when wok…

…l, even if someone has the

same name as us, we can still tell each other apart because we have different social

security numbers and phone numbers and addresses. But these numbers we are given asour own are asked of us every day for “surveys”, to shop, sign up for anything. “Big

Brother” is us after all. These numbers that are supposed to identify us as who we are, are

in the hands of thousands of people who have our lives in the palm of their hands and

who can probably easily steal our identity at any second. And I’m supposed to feel secure

about giving up my social security number at school, at work or anywhere else I’m asked

for it? Identity theft in the 21st century is easier than it ever was, but at the same time it is

much harder not to get caught, but to assume someone’s identity is becoming extremely

easy. No one is safe.

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