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How does the Party control the citizens of Oceania in 1984?References to the book or...

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freeonlinetea... | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

Posted June 28, 2009 at 12:28 AM via web

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How does the Party control the citizens of Oceania in 1984?

References to the book or specific examples would be great.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 29, 2009 at 10:00 AM (Answer #1)

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In a word, fear.  The Party uses the Two Minute Hate to work up the citizens against their "enemies" and then they go home to families that aren't based on love, but convenience.  They marry an arranged partner and give birth to children who are taught to spy on them.  Case in point, the Parsons who live in the same apartment building with Winston.

The Party also uses the element of instability to keep the public on its toes.  One day the ration of chocolate is lower than the next, and they're praising on the news channel the amount of chocolate they are allowed.  They're never at war with the same country, but people are not encouraged to notice these changes...they are trained to just accept them as the beaten-down "worker bees" that they are.  This is how a socialized country is...the ones with the power and the voice have all the say and everyone else in the society follows suit.

Everything is sterile in Winston's world, also.  There are no emotions since people are afraid of the cameras on the street and the telescreens in their homes.  The Thoughtpolice are everywhere...don't you dare have a thought or a moment of disagreement with the establshment.  The government in Oceania is always right...and fear (and the Ministry of Love, of course) keeps the citizens in line.

This is why your freedom of speech is so important, and why a democratic society is best.  We may not always agree with one another, but we have the opportunity to discuss, argue, compromise, and come to an agreement when all parties are able to voice their views.  A socialized government is never a good idea for anyone but those in control.

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timbrady | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted June 29, 2009 at 2:09 PM (Answer #2)

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I would add that one of the key elements they use is "reality creation."  It's part of their "who controls the present controls the past; who controls the past controls the future."  Citizens never know if anything that they were told was "true" yesterday is true today --- or if it ever was true.  If people make their decisions based on the available information, and the information can be manipulated to get the citizens to believe anything, then they are under the governments control with a shot being fired --- by their side, at least.

Although this seems a bit "much," I think we have to be very careful that this is not happening in our own society.  We are being told that so many situations are critical, that previous administrations have so messed things up that nothing short of radical action will "fix" things --- but do we know that the picture of the past we are seeing is accurate? do we know that the solution being presented is the only one? the best one?

There was a time when there was so little information we could not make a decision.  Today there is so much information (but not necessarily knowledge) out there that it's just as hard to make a decision.  Giving up and just going along seems to be an option too many people are taking today ....

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