How does the portrayal of Oceania reflect Orwell's criticism of the totalitarian state?

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clane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Oceania is the center of the world for the people in the Outer Party. The Inner Party through the use of the Ministry of Truth portrays Oceania the all powerful hubub of world commerce and activity. Oceania is always at war and has always been at war with either Eurasia or Eastasia. Depending on the need at the moment the opponent in this "war" changes and the society members are made to believe it has always been this way even though yesterday that may not have been true. People do not travel out of Oceania and no one in the Party is even sure that any other place even really physically exists in any place other than inside the telescreens. Winston even questions whether these wars are real, they seem to be vehicles for driving surpluses and shortages among the economy and for directing hatred and other sexual energy somewhere. Oceania is also ruled over by Big Brother, one powerful dictator who is "always watching" so everyone has to behave as the Inner Party has instructed them. The penalty for misbehavior is torture until total compliance both body and soul is achieved. Most insurgents are eventually shot after they declare the love of Big Brother. This is truly totalitarianism at its worst, it certainly has all the features of a pure totalitarian state. Orwell meant to paint totalitarianism in its worst light and he did so with the sheep of the Outer Party of Oceania who surrendered all their rights and freedoms to their government.