How is authority (police, government, controlling political power) represented in the 1984 (characters and events)?1984 by George Orwell ? HELP PLEASE ?

2 Answers | Add Yours

MaudlinStreet's profile pic

MaudlinStreet | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted on

Authority is represented as the overall dominating force in the lives of everyone in Oceania (and, we can assume, elsewhere in the world). The sinister face of Big Brother, symbolizing the Party's power, is completely inescapable in George Orwell's story of the future. When Winston comes home, he feels the eyes of Big Brother on him at all times, thanks to posters on every landing in the stairwell. It is the same when he looks at a coin or cigarette packet. Each day, at the end of the Two Minutes of Hate, all Party workers return to a state of calm when Big Brother appears on the giant telescreen, illustrating the near-hypnotic hold he exercises over the masses. He, and through him the Party, are the ultimate symbols of complete societal control.

Even though Winston attempts to rebel, & throw off the control of Big Brother, he eventually succumbs once again. When he is arrested, O'Brien strives to make him an empty vessel that will once again surrender to Big Brother's all-consuming love. And in the end, Winston gives in: "He loved Big Brother." Orwell uses this figurehead for tyranny to powerfully illustrate the effect totalitarian government can have on the human spirit.

But the Party does only dominate physically through fear of its cameras, spies, and Thought Police. Perhaps the best example of the Party's ability to control mind as well as body is the Ministry of Truth, where Winston works. By constantly changing history, wiping out the memory of unpleasant truths and always casting the Party's actions in the best light, the totalitarian government of Oceania can survive the present and ensure its future. The Records Department of the Ministry plays a significant role in this process, destroying or editing books, magazines, films and photographs that contradict the current Party view of the world.

Winston, adept at this work himself, can step back and see how the masses are being manipulated. In fact, he is horrified by it, and his rebellion against the Party is motivated in part by a hunger for objective truth. But the futility of resisting the Party's information control is illustrated by Julia, younger and more politically naïve despite her cynicism. She cannot even remember the fact that four years earlier Oceania had been at war with Eastasia rather than with Eurasia, because the Party has propagandized her into believing that Eastasia was always the enemy. Thus the authority is all-powerful, infiltrating every aspect of life.

 

cahjid's profile pic

cahjid | Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Authority in 1984 is like the gunk in your sink clog. you already know there is a clog, but once you pull the gunk out, you see that is where all the substance is located.

The authority in 1984 is that gunk. It is everywhere one looks while invested in the book. Whether it be from the thought police, literally able to find dissenters in every nook and cranny, or Big Brother himself (a "human" figure which is more an embodiment of the ideal of totalitarian invasion of privacy), or the location of Winston's job - Ministry of Truth - all examples are devices that a government would utilize to maintain authority over its inhabitants.

Representation has obviously been tainted due to Orwell's lack of trust and personal feelings towards both governments and totalitarian dictators. It would be difficult not to find the personal ideas of Orwell in such a anti-totalitarian piece such as 1984.

We’ve answered 318,985 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question