How does totalitarianism relate to the book Darkness at Noon?

In Darkness at Noon, the author details a totalitarian state and its' mechanisms of control as they relate to an individual (N. Bukharin) who is charged with plotting against the State, and who is also accused of crimes which he did not commit. The book is set in 1938, during Stalin's purge trials, in which thousands of individuals were charged with treason and accused of crimes from which they could never defend themselves. In this way, it can be said that Darkness at Noon examines the effects of a totalitarian government on the individual. Further, because the book was banned in many countries during the 40 years after it was published (one year after Koestler'

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

A totalitarian state is that which is run by one party, or more often, by one person, with little to no individual freedoms or rights.  The people are often referred to in the collective (for example, "Peoples Republic of China") and the importance of the society, in the form of...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

A totalitarian state is that which is run by one party, or more often, by one person, with little to no individual freedoms or rights.  The people are often referred to in the collective (for example, "Peoples Republic of China") and the importance of the society, in the form of the State, is continually emphasized.

In Darkness at Noon, Koestler reveals the ugly inner workings of a totalitarian state: that of Soviet Russia in th 1930s.  The leader of the Soviet Union at that time was the ruthless dictator Josef Stalin, who ran the USSR from 1924 - 1953, and in the process, murdered an estimated 20 million of his own countrymen.

Koestler also does a masterful job of portraying the totalitarian state as controlling, or attempting to control, individual thought and ideology.  The control of collective and individual thought, or at least, its expression, is central to the continued authority of the Soviet State, or any totalitarian government, for that matter.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team