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1984 Realistic?Although it is nearly 25 years after the "fact" of 1984, how...

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted August 21, 2007 at 4:54 PM via web

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1984 Realistic?

Although it is nearly 25 years after the "fact" of 1984, how realistic do you think Orwell's dystopia might be? 

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alexb2 | eNotes Employee

Posted August 22, 2007 at 10:33 AM (Answer #2)

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hmm, good discussion topic. Personally I think Orwell was right on the money about a lot of things, especially regarding the issue of constant surveillance. Perhaps even more insidious than the clearly evil "Big Brother" is the way 24/7 camera surveillance is being used by a massive bureaucracy, with no real oversight from the public.

The other thing that is somewhat realistic is the amount of apathy the citizenry has, and the hopelessness of changing the situation. Even in a free country, people find it overwhelming to oppose the Government or even stand up for what they believe in. I think Orwell's warning that you may get the government you deserve is realistic.

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tishmel | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Honors

Posted August 22, 2007 at 12:09 PM (Answer #3)

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hmm, good discussion topic. Personally I think Orwell was right on the money about a lot of things, especially regarding the issue of constant surveillance. Perhaps even more insidious than the clearly evil "Big Brother" is the way 24/7 camera surveillance is being used by a massive bureaucracy, with no real oversight from the public.

The other thing that is somewhat realistic is the amount of apathy the citizenry has, and the hopelessness of changing the situation. Even in a free country, people find it overwhelming to oppose the Government or even stand up for what they believe in. I think Orwell's warning that you may get the government you deserve is realistic.

Good points.  I would also add such unheard of invasions of privacy such as GPS location, microchips in pets (can teenagers and children be far behind??)

Also, just recently I heard about a state that is paying $100 for high school students to report activities of other teens...drinking, in particular. 

Today my class was discussing blogging too, and how anyone can say anything and get you in trouble with no real facts to back things up. 

I like your point about apathy too.  When millions more Americans "vote" for American Idol than for president, something is seriously wrong. 

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Scott Locklear | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted August 22, 2007 at 1:17 PM (Answer #4)

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hmm, good discussion topic. Personally I think Orwell was right on the money about a lot of things, especially regarding the issue of constant surveillance. Perhaps even more insidious than the clearly evil "Big Brother" is the way 24/7 camera surveillance is being used by a massive bureaucracy, with no real oversight from the public.

The other thing that is somewhat realistic is the amount of apathy the citizenry has, and the hopelessness of changing the situation. Even in a free country, people find it overwhelming to oppose the Government or even stand up for what they believe in. I think Orwell's warning that you may get the government you deserve is realistic.

Just wanted to add some more info to blazedale's comment on camera surveillance. According to one expert in this audio report, there are over 4 million surveillance cameras in England. He thinks "over 4 million" because no one really knows for certain. Talk about a lack of oversight!

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alexb2 | eNotes Employee

Posted August 22, 2007 at 1:41 PM (Answer #5)

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Yeah, England is definitely ahead of the curve when it comes to surveillance cameras. I don't think there are many parts of central London that don't have "CCTV". I wonder if that's the future of the world's cities... kind of a depressing thought. 

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 18, 2010 at 9:11 AM (Answer #6)

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I do think that there is definitely the potential for the kind of surveillance society that we see in this novel. Just consider the extent of internet surveillance, phone surveillance and, as mentioned above, other forms of surveillance. In any major city there seem to be few places we can be truly "private" or go unobserved. Whilst these measures are in place for our benefit or security, for example, to trace and catch terrorists, it would be a very easy move to suddenly use it to oppress and suppress.

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