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In George Orwell's 1984, what problem most represents the detriment of society, and...

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natalielove91 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 20, 2009 at 1:40 PM via web

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In George Orwell's 1984, what problem most represents the detriment of society, and what does the society in the novel do to perpetuate the problem?

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ecofan74 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted June 29, 2010 at 2:07 AM (Answer #1)

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In Orwell's 1984, he presents a vision of the future founded on the themes of knowledge and power, as well as power's most common manifestation, control.  The Party thrives on its ability to control - and even mold - the population of Oceania.  It does so through the manipulation of knowledge, specifically the development of an abbreviated language - Newspeak - which stifles one's ability to express him/herself as an individual.  The Party "rectifies" news stories that present Big Brother or his policies in anything other than the most positive of lights.  The Party will silence any dissenting thought, both from within the Party and without.  The Party's ability to do these things without a real, unified opposition represents the greatest problem in the society of the novel - ignorance and apathy. 

The population are largely oblivious to what the Party is doing to them.  As such, they certainly do not raise a finger to address the problem.  The society of Oceania are spoon-fed what the Party wants them to know, from the "rectified" news stories to the "Two Minutes of Hate."  The population are therefore not motivated to question the nature of things, something on which democratic systems thrive.  The general apathy of the society perpetuates the problem, because as long as the people are apathetic, they will continue to remain ignorant of what the Party's true intentions are, and they will not seek the knowledge that will empower themselves. 

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