Is there a possibility that the American society can develop to be like the society in the novel "1984"?if there is, what are signs of it happening and/or the characteristics of america that would...

Is there a possibility that the American society can develop to be like the society in the novel "1984"?

if there is, what are signs of it happening and/or the characteristics of america that would prevent it from happening.

Asked on by nat08

3 Answers

morrol's profile pic

morrol | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

This is the first of a three part documentary. I like to show the documentary to my students after they finish the novel. They are usually so shocked at the similarities that they want to write letters to their congressman.

It's great because I ask them what is similar about this book and American society and they say, "nothing". Then I show them the film.

timbrady's profile pic

timbrady | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I would think it certainly can, although it probably wouldn't look like their society.  The key to this is our lack of knowledge of the past and the manipulation of our lack of knowledge by politicans, businessmen and other people who stand to benefit from this manipulation.

Part of this is due to the proliferation of information that is around us.  "Once upon a time" we did not have access to enough information to make a decision; today we have so much information that we don't know what to believe, or tend to believe the "easiest" information to find.  

A few simple recent examples:  is there any real danger if we were to drill for oil in Alaska?  Have we improved the technology enough so that it is reasonably safe? Is it still reasonable to expect a catastrophic accident?  Or Pat Buchanan's new book that claims that WWII was avoidable, that Hitler didn't really want to start a war with America.  This clearly is meant to influence our attitude toward foreign conflict, but how many of us have the time or ability to know if it's true?  What should we know?  do?

Newspeak attempts the same thing:  if we don't have the words to speak of our "reality," will it really exist?  If we allow our language to be dumbed down, will we lose not only words but concepts/realities?

So yes, it can happen here.

Who controls the present, controls the past.
Who contols the past, controls the future.
Who contols the language, controls it all.

pmiranda2857's profile pic

pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

In the novel 1984, Big Brother, the Supreme Leader who is loved and adored by all watches everything that the people of Oceania do and even think.  The Party has the ability to contol people's thoughts through psychological manipulation and the use of Doublethink.  This process allows the Party to force people to keep two contrasting thoughts in their head at once thereby preventing independent thought.

In our society, there are some who argue that the placement of cameras around the city violate one's right to privacy. When you think about the age we live in, the age of instant communication, people are always reachable, so in one sense, they can always be found because of the signals that the cell phone sends out.  The internet although a wonderful invention that has changed the world for the better, also can be used for darker purposes.  One can be spied on without their knowledge, identities can be stolen and people's lives compromised.

So, I would say that modern society, with advancing technology, can, if the technology is used for sinister purposes, develop into something like 1984.  And, remember, it is not just American society, Europe, particularly, London, England installed public cameras to help reduce crime.