Discuss the role of Big Brother in Oceania and in Winston's life. Does the phrase "Big Brother is Watching You" have an application in today's society?

Expert Answers info

Michelle Barry, M.B.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseProfessional Writer, Professional Researcher

bookB.A. from Swarthmore College

bookM.B.A. from New York University


calendarEducator since 2019

write398 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

1984 by George Orwell is about a dystopian society, Oceania. Big Brother is the leader of the Party that governs Oceania in a totalitarian manner where privacy is severely constrained, as Big Brother is always watching. In fact, throughout the nation of Oceania, posters tell citizens that “Big Brother is Watching You.” Moreover, the Thought Police monitor people, as well. Orwell writes:

“There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to.”

Winston lives in Oceania and works at the Ministry of Truth. Winston longs to rebel, but he is fearful because he knows that his every action is scrutinized. Early in the novel, Winston buys a diary, which is a subversive action punishable by death. Because Winston knows that Big...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1,011 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write9,826 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

timbrady eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2007

write857 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial