George Orwell Questions and Answers

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As we have seen in the Symposium, one of the basic strategies of tyranny or totalitarianism is to “divide and conquer” the people in their relationships to themselves and to one another. Explain how this strategy works and how it is evident in 1984.

Divide and conquer is a policy that achieves a goal by creating disunity and dissent among a group of people. In 1984, the Party implements this policy by brainwashing children, which gives them total control over family units as a whole.

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A “divide and conquer” policy means that you achieve your goal (conquer) by making people fight amongst themselves (divide). If we apply this idea to 1984, we see that the Party uses this strategy to maintain its power over the people of Oceania.

Perhaps the best example of divide and conquer in 1984 is evident in family relationships. If we look at Chapter Two, when Winston visits the Parsons family, we see that the divide and conquer strategy begins in childhood:

With those children, he...

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