These three works span over 400 years but deal with similar themes of the role of government. More’s Utopia was written in 1516 depicting an imagined utopian society. We was published in 1924 by the Russian writer Yevgeny Zamyatin. Orwell’s 1984 was written in 1949 as a warning against totalitarian governments.
Of the three texts, the government in Utopia would be considered the most successful. Citizens contribute to a communal method of agriculture, with surplus goods being shared between cities. Utopia also has a democratic system of government. An aspect of repression reminiscent of 1984 and We is that officials are restricted under pain of death from discussing issues of state outside of the committee. Another quality this society shares with those of 1984 and We is a lack of privacy. In Utopia, no doors may be locked, an idea that is intended to promote friendship but results in loss of personal autonomy.
The governments portrayed in 1984 and We are similar in the extent to which they control citizens. Both societies restrict or deny individual privacy. In We, people live in glass apartments and are monitored by the Bureau of Guardians, a group of secret police. In 1984, the Party employs technology to monitor and control its subjects. The dystopian society illustrated in We is ruled by the Benefactor who people rebel against, ending the novel with the One State’s survival in doubt. The government of the novel 1984 is ruled by the equally repressive privileged elite of the Inner Party. The end of 1984, however, promises no such end in sight for Big Brother.