Connect the author's life to the plot, setting, characters or symbols in the novel

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Orwell's book ends with a very bleak tone.  Winston is reduced to a walking zombie, a stark contrast from the resistance he strove to bring about in his own life and the sensuousness displayed at moment with Julia.  He learns to "love Big Brother" and then he dies.  Orwell's bleak ending to the book might find some connection with his own life as the book was the last one he was to write.  He died upon its completion, when tuberculosis was taking its toll on him.  Violating the doctor's orders to limit work to only one hour a day, Orwell pushed himself to finish the book at a point where he knew he was dying, something brought out in the bleakness of its ending.  Another element present was how Orwell envisioned the new world order of the 1948 world.  On one hand, Orwell understood in a direct manner that governments such as Communist Russia and China consolidated power in eradicating the role of the individual, and ensuring the complete and unchecked power of the state.  This is brought out in the political configuration of Big Brother, which knows everything and ensures that there is no private realm to check the public.  It's all public.  In this eradication of boundaries, government is able to exercise more power, control more individuals, and silence more voices without opposition.  Orwell saw this in Russia and China and brought it into Oceania.  This is not to say that he gave a free pass to the West.  With the growing advent of technology in the form of television, Orwell understood that all governments- democratic or communist- could benefit greatly by being able to mind control or manipulate the thoughts of the public.  Communist governments would be able to subdue the masses without genocide, while democratic governments would be able to control how people thought and eventually voted.  Orwell viewed the growth of technology in the from of television as a way for government to find its reach into the private realm of every person.  In doing so, Orwell's vision is another startling one where the private, while believed to be present, is actually a construction of the public.  Orwell saw the television of the time as its own version of "The Matrix," where everyone was plugged in and few realized it.

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