Having studied George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’, I intend to discuss the type of Government envisaged by Orwell and to what extent his totalitarian Party, ‘Ingsoc’, satirises past regimes. I will also discuss Orwell’s motive in writing such a piece and how his writing style helps it become clear.The main theme of Nineteen Eighty-Four concerns the restrictions imposed on individual freedom by a totalitarian regime. Orwell shows how such a system can impose its will on the people through manipulation of the press, the elimination of democracy, constant supervision (courtesy of the Telescreens) and more. Orwell also shows how the state has more subtle methods for imposing its authority, such as the manipulation of language and control of the media.
Propaganda also plays a central role within the Party’s infrastructure and it is used to gain support for Big Brother, stir patriotism and induce hate towards the chosen “enemy” country. Workers in the Ministry of Truth work to change the past, making Big Brother seem to have always been right. Also, the Party seeks to stifle any individual or “potentially revolutionary” thought by introducing a new language, Newspeak, the eradication of English and the deployment of “Thought Police” who terrorize Party members by accusing them of “Thought Crime” (ie. to think a crime is to commit a crime). The introduction of this new language means that eventually, no-one is able to commit thought-crime due to the lack of words to express it.
This is a frightening concept – the restriction of your thought could destroy your personality if the ability to think for oneself was erased.Words are a weapon as far as the Party are concerned, but the war is not physical; it is a war against truth – The Ministry of Truth, minitrue, re-writes history and falsifies documents, the Ministry of Peace, minipax, makes war,”It’s a beautiful thing, destruction of words… You haven’t a real appreciation of Newspeak, Winston… Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we will make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.” (Syme to Winston -p46)Nineteen Eighty-Four may not be known to everyone, but there are certain phrases and expressions that have actually gained common usage in the English Language. Examples of this would be Newspeak, thought-crime, Big Brother, unperson and doublethink.
All of which relate to the State’s frightening power to alter reality.