How does technology affect the Party’s ability to control its citizens?

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amymc | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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The concept behind 1984's powerful Party is its ability to control its citizens.  They adopt a plan of fear and manipulation to do so.  At the center of this plan is their technology.  Telescreens represent Big Brother's invisible eye on all the citizens who are required to keep a telescreen in their homes.  In addition, the people are constantly under the eye of the telescreen in public, at work, and even at social functions.  

For the few times that telescreens are not available, voice-recognition microphone bugs pick up the conversations of those around.  However, Winston and Julia learn that hard way that just because you do not see a telescreen, it doesn't mean one isn't there.  They are captured because a telescreen was hidden behind a picture.  

In addition to the constant surveillance, the Party continually manipulates the people's thoughts.  Winston works for the Ministry of Truth, which specializes in the daily rewriting of history.  Anything the Party wants to rescind or reconstruct occurs in an instant.  Winston simply makes the changes electronically to all the known sources of information.  The people's beliefs about war or food rations are changed so quickly that nobody knows what to believe, and for their own safety, concedes to the truth the Party creates.


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