How does society change in 1984?  

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To understand how society has changed in 1984, it is useful to look at life in Oceania before the Party came to power. We see this through Winston's memories which come back to him as his sense of rebellion increases. 

The memory of Winston's mother, for example, demonstrates...

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To understand how society has changed in 1984, it is useful to look at life in Oceania before the Party came to power. We see this through Winston's memories which come back to him as his sense of rebellion increases. 

The memory of Winston's mother, for example, demonstrates how the Party's control has altered the general feelings of the population. In Part One, Chapter Three, for example, Winston acknowledges the pain of his mother's death thirty years earlier while recognising that such private loyalties have been eroded by the Party and replaced with loyalty to Big Brother:

Such things, he saw, could not happen today. Today there were fear, hatred and pain, but no dignity of emotion, no deep or complex sorrows.

Similarly, in Part Two, Chapter Seven, Winston remembers life during the war, long before the Party came to power. He remembers the "panics about air-raids" and "the sheltering in Tube stations" as bombs dropped on London. Comparing this with contemporary Oceania there are a number of key differences. Today, the Party uses war to justify surveillance, to maintain the unequal distribution of wealth and to condone public executions. Moreover, the enemy changes to suit the Party's needs: at the beginning of the book, for instance, the war is against Eurasia but, during Hate Week, it is changed to Eastasia. All traces of the Eurasian war are removed from history, demonstrating the Party's ability to manipulate information and control public perception. 

What these memories show, then, is that the free and unrepressed world of Winston's youth has been replaced by a dictatorial regime composed of total power, control of information, and the promotion of loyalty to Big Brother.  

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