Look at the first four chapters of 1984. How has Orwell introduced the key concepts of memory, power, and control? In chapter one Orwell introduces the idea of memory, power, and control almost from the first line. The book opens with Winston making his way home from work, even from the first page we can tell that Orwell wants us to experience some kind of extreme political force that is at work that we don’t know about yet. We can tell this because as soon as he gets through the flats he is greeted by a poster of who we later learn to be big brother.
Underneath the poster reads the party slogan ‘Big Brother is watching you’ and Orwell also adds that the posters eyes seem to follow you wherever you go. This conveys, already a sense to the reader that there is some deep political force at work here, one that has a lot of propaganda and therefore power and control. Almost directly after this we are introduced to a device called the telescreen, which only enhances our idea of the control and power of people’s lives that big brother has on them. The fact that the telescreen can never be shutoff also adds to that as though whether you like it or not the political forces can always watch you.
Also the idea of thought crime we are introduced to. This is where by thinking ‘unclean’ thoughts’ you are erased. This is where Orwell introduces us to the way the party can alter the past. To be ‘erased’ means you never existed, the party destroyed all records of you ever being alive and you were ‘vaporised’. No one wondered where you’d gone because then they’d be committing thought crime themselves and possibly be ‘erased’. In chapter two, we are introduced to the way that big brother controls and has power over children in quite a horrifying way.
The party’s methods are so successful that we learn that children even turn in their own parents to the thought police if they think they are being slightly unorthodox. The new character, Mrs. Parsons seems scared of her children, showing the break-down of parent-child relations. Also, the children attend a group called ‘the spies’ where they are taught the party’s ways. You can tell the children have been seriously manipulated by the organisation as they want to go and see the hanging but throw a tantrum when they’re not allowed.
This is another show of how big brother has been able to have power and control over society. In chapter three, Winston has a dream in which he realises that something that used to be possible in the past is not now possible. That is sorrow for death of a loved one. Winston dreams of the death of his mother and daughter and realises that death is no longer tragic. Something we cannot imagine nowadays. Pondering on this you realise how strong the power and control of big brother is over the people of Oceania.
The idea of thought crime makes people self-police and so people are less close to others causing them to think and rely solely on themselves, taking away the tragedy of the death of a loved one because you aren’t that close to anyone anymore – this also reduces thought crime as no one can rely on anyone else thinking the same thing as they could be handed in by them. The control of memory also plays a part as Winston says ‘when there no external references, even the image of your own life lost its sharpness’ that quote sums up how successful the altering of the past by big brother is.
In chapter 4 we learn of big brothers ability to alter the past as it is Winston’s job top do so. They alter it so much in fact that Winston has to ‘create’ a comrade named ‘comrade Ogilvy’ in order to impress the public about his heroic actions in the campaign against Eurasia. Winston also has to change various figures for the ‘ministry of plenty’ which isn’t even forgery but ‘simply replacing one bit of nonsense for another’, which goes to show how deep big brothers lies go. All for power over the people.