What aspects of George Orwell’s ‘1984’ do you find disturbing? 1984 was written as a satire of the political-fiction of the times. Orwell’s disgust in the movements of Russia forced him to express his feelings in both the book of ‘Animal Farm’ and the later book ‘1984’. In ‘1984’ Orwell aimed to annotate the situation in Russia through the life of Winston Smith, a rebellious citizen of Big Brother’s Oceania. Throughout the book Orwell has added ideas, which today could be seen as disturbing and would be unthought of in today’s world of morals, and political freedom.
Today, when a political party is thought of as successful and progressive, it is taken for granted that with this comes a state of peace, freedom and good living. This is by no means so in Big Brother’s Empire. In Oceania there is constant war, everlasting slavery and total ignorance of the people. These three ideas are portrayed in the first few pages of the book, when the party’s three slogans are revealed WAR IS PEACE FREEDOM IS SLAVERY IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH Yet how is it possible for these three morals, which totally contradict themselves, to be used as a basis for society?
One aspect of the book, which I find unimaginably disturbing, is how the members of the Outer-Party are able to live in this society of war and fear. The landscape of Airstrip One was devastated constantly by the ongoing warfare between Oceania and either Eastasia or Eurasia. This state of war was described thoroughly during “THE BOOK” of ‘1984’ and was infact a set-up by the Inner-Party as a way of keeping up the fear in the citizens and thus their need for Big Brother and his help. The city was constantly bombarded by airborne missiles, which killed hundreds at a time.
Within the book, it is described how during one of these “attacks” a bomb was dropped onto a playground with “several dozen children being blown to pieces”. How could such a government be so successful? The answer to this could be because people were so brainwashed by the propaganda, that they hardly noticed the world around them and as a result this propaganda gave the Inner-Party the respect of the people that they thrived on. Although much fear was generated as a result of the ongoing wars, one of the greatest fears for the people of Oceania was to be seen to go against Big Brother.
The Party knew that the only way that they could ensure that there was constant 24-hour love for Big Brother was through surveillance. Within Airstrip One there was hardly a square metre, outside of the proletarian districts, that was not watched by Big Brother’s army of spying Party members. One of the most disturbing accounts of this constant surveillance occurred within the book during Winston’s daily ‘thirty to forty group’ aerobic exercises. Concentrating more on his daydream than the instructions from the telescreen, Winston soon became aware of his actions when from the screen an ear-piercing voice shouted “6079 Smith W! Yes, you!
Bend lower, please…… That’s better comrade”. Even though perhaps thousands of thirty to forty year olds must have been participating in these exercises, it was still possible for the party to track down on Winston when he did not bend his hands down low enough. Every day there would be constant overseeing of the streets and the daily routines of the people, via the police patrol. Flying around the skies the small “bluebottle like” helicopters would swoop down besides the windows of nearly every flat in every street, peer in to check that the behaviour within was as expected and then, as quickly as they had come, they would fly away again.
However, in comparison to all the abilities of the telescreens and the thought police: “The patrols did not mater, however. Only the thought police mattered”. Although every flat in every tower block was equipped with an all-seeing and all-listening telescreen, there was one further threat of surveillance – the Spies. As much so as boys today may attend scout groups or girls may participate in the girl guides, it was a mandatory duty for all school children of Oceania, who were not proles, to attend the Spies.