In 1984, what does the telescreen symbolize? Note specific quotes.

In 1984, the telescreen symbolizes Big Brother's omnipresence and the intrusive nature of the Party. Telescreens are technologically advanced surveillance devices which perform a myriad of functions and are used to oppress, manipulate, and control the population of Oceania. The telescreen is an extension of the Party and functions as Big Brother's all-seeing eye.

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In Orwell's classic novel 1984 , the authoritarian regime of Oceania uses a variety of oppressive methods to control, manipulate, and terrify the population. One of the state's primary means of controlling the citizens is through the use of telescreens, which are technologically advanced surveillance devices that hang on...

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In Orwell's classic novel 1984, the authoritarian regime of Oceania uses a variety of oppressive methods to control, manipulate, and terrify the population. One of the state's primary means of controlling the citizens is through the use of telescreens, which are technologically advanced surveillance devices that hang on walls and perform several invasive functions. The telescreens record citizens, monitor their vital signs, issue announcements, and display Big Brother's propaganda. Throughout the story, Winston Smith is fully aware of the location of telescreens and must always maintain a sanguine disposition to conceal his negative feelings toward Big Brother and the Party. In the first chapter of the story, Orwell describes a telescreen by writing,

The voice came from an oblong metal plaque like a dulled mirror which formed part of the surface of the right-hand wall. ... The instrument (the telescreen, it was called) could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely.

Although citizens can lower the volume of a telescreen, they cannot turn it off completely and remain under constant government surveillance at all times. Fortunately for Winston, the telescreen in his apartment does not command a full view of his room, and he can write in his diary from a nook in the corner. Winston also describes what it is like to be under the telescreen's constant view by mentioning,

To keep your face expressionless was not difficult, and even your breathing could be controlled, with an effort: but you could not control the beating of your heart, and the telescreen was quite delicate enough to pick it up.

Citizens must not only appear to be docile and content at all times but they must control their breathing and the beating of the heart in order to deceive the telescreen's sensitive mechanisms. The telescreens symbolically represent Big Brother's omnipresence and the intrusiveness of the authoritarian regime. Telescreens eradicate personal privacy and represent the Party's oppressive, invasive policies.

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The telescreen symbolizes the complete control that the state has over every aspect of its citizens' lives. It's like an all-seeing eye that keeps the subjects of this gigantic slave-state under constant surveillance, watching their every move for the merest signs of subversion and rebelliousness. But the telescreens, though deeply invasive of one's personal privacy, are unable to read people's thoughts:

He thought of the telescreen with its never-sleeping ear. They could spy upon you night and day, but if you kept your head you could still outwit them. With all their cleverness they had never mastered the secret of finding out what another human being was thinking.

There may be a limit to what the telescreens can do, but there's no limit to what the state can do. As Winston observes in the same passage, when you're in the regime's hands it's a different story; the authorities can indeed read what's on your mind, or at least appear to. Winston speculates about the methods of physical and psychological torture used by the grotesquely misnamed Ministry of Love to extract the information it needs.

Telescreens may be a symbol of the state's absolute power, but like all symbols they can only ever hint at what they represent. And what they represent is so much more deadly, intrusive, and soul-destroying.

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In George Orwell's classic novel of a futuristic dystopian society, 1984, the "telescreen" is an ubiquitous symbol of the government's omniscient presence in the lives of its citizens. Orwell foresaw (perhaps presciently) a future in which government would never trust its subjects and the implementation of a totalitarian political system would serve to supplant any prospects of insurrection against those who ruled.  As Orwell noted early in his first chapter, "[t]he instrument (the telescreen, it was called) could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely."  The telescreen's presence, as the novel's narrator would observe, was designed not just to project a constant stream of images and words intended to manipulate and control the population but to actively monitor the population, as is evident in the following passage, also from Chapter One:

"The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. 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."

Orwell's description of the telescreen and its role in monitoring and brainwashing the population on behalf of the "Thought Police" provided his novel's most enduring image of an autocratic regime determined to prevent the free expression of thought and the exercise of any activity that could potentially be construed as threatening to the ruling regime's hold on power.  The telescreen has continued, as suggested, to serve as a metaphor for a ubiquitous government that increasingly acts without the consent of those it purports to represent while slowly but surely manipulating emotions to its benefit.

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The telescreen in 1984 symbolizes the constant monitoring of the government's citizens, and also how a totalitarian government misuses technology in order to monitor its citizens instead of using it to better society.

Quote:

The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. 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. You had to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.

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