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What role does Big Brother play in the novel 1984, and how is the Party so effective in...

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iloveroy | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 8, 2008 at 6:29 AM via web

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What role does Big Brother play in the novel 1984, and how is the Party so effective in maintaining control in Oceania's society?

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 8, 2008 at 8:17 AM (Answer #1)

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Although Big Brother is never seen in person, his presence is felt as the supreme leader on TV screens, in pictures, and on coins. Big Brother is the all seeing eye that watches everything that the inhabitants of Oceania do and think. To those who work for the Ministry of Truth, Big Brother is to be worshipped as an idol.  He demands love from his people, you must revere Big Brother like a god.  He also inspires fear and the typical response of people who are always being watch, a sense of paranoia.

His presence is used to keep people in line, to make sure they are obedient. 

Big Brother is a symbol of a tyrannical dictator who demands absolute obedience from his people in all aspects of life.  When the state controls every aspect of your life and you have no choices, no freedoms.  You don't even have control over your thoughts.  

The Party uses psychological manipulation and the process of Doublethink in order to keep people from having independent thoughts.   

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lbuchanan | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 10, 2008 at 1:53 PM (Answer #2)

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Big Brother, although not a tangible character is ever present in the story.  The concept of "big brother watching" is all that a society of brain washed drones needs to stay in line.  Also, the concepts of Ingsoc and the idea of a Big Brother waiting to catch a person in some sort of crime is enough to keep the members of thi society in check. 

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