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What are some visions of the future portrayed in Orwell's '1984'? 

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jadetyler | eNoter

Posted May 27, 2012 at 9:27 AM via web

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What are some visions of the future portrayed in Orwell's '1984'? 

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 27, 2012 at 1:38 PM (Answer #1)

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The proposed future that George Orwell offers in 1984 is one in which everything, from the atmospheric backdrop, to the thought processes, language, and human relations of each individual are manipulated and controlled by a ruling political party. 

Orwell shows a future, dystopian society which is easily dominated, indoctrinated, and manipulated. The motivation behind the social submission of each individual lies in the spread of a false sentiment of patriotism from a party that promises to take care of its own. Most of the strength of the party comes, ironically, from children. This is because children are indoctrinated from a very young age to comply with the ethos of the Oceania party, which is: 

"WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH."

Hence, the way in which the government of Big Brother puts these axioms into practice is through the control of the very basic actions that people conduct in human life.

The party creates rules that make people liable for conducting typical behaviors. This is how the crimes of "facecrime" and "thoughtcrime" come into play. With "facecrime", you are guilty if found making any facial expression that is deemed to go against anything that the party believes in. Similarly, "thoughtcrime" is the commission crime from thinking or creating opinions regarding the party. Along with the control of thought and expression, comes the control of language.

The creation of specific vocabulary eliminates the possibility of people creating meaning for words and, instead, they would simply follow along with the mandates of the party. In Syme's own words, by controlling the common language, the party aims to 

          narrow[ing] the range of thought

Even procreation is an act of political interest. Sexual instinct is to be reprimanded and mating is merely for the purpose of procreation. This eliminates the possibility for human bonding which could (in the party's opinion) propitiate a revolt caused by bands of people who are emotionally connected. Children are so well-manipulated into the government's ways that they are in control of the households, basically, by threatening their parents to accuse them of insubordination should they express or say anything against the party.

In all, Orwell models Big Brother and the Oceania Party after the likes of Mao Tse-tung, Hitler, and other communist models of government that base their power on a "divide and conquer" strategy. He sees the future world as one which could easily be led to become controlled in its entirety, since each individual would lack common sense, philosophical and emotional exposure and essential knowledge. The lack of these elements render people dangerously prone to domination. Orwell uses the dystopia in 1984 to mirror how his "future" is not too distant from our past. This is is why we must acknowledge it, so that we shall never repeat it. 

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