What does Big Brother offer the citizens of Oceania in George Orwell's 1984? 

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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In 1984, the party came to power in Oceania after a bloody revolution some time during Winston's youth. As it was not democratically elected, it has never purported to offer its citizens anything, in the way that modern political parties do. 

Looking deeper, however, the party does make some provisions for its citizens. It rations food, for example, to maintain an equal distribution of its resources. It protects Oceania from the military might of Eurasia, its enemy, and later, from Eastasia. It also provides committees and processions for the citizens to get involved in. Julia, for example, is a member of the Junior Anti-Sex League. 

But none of these offers are genuine. In contrast, these are distraction techniques employed to make the party appear as though it is acting in the interests of its citizens when it is, in fact, imposing a dictatorial regime upon them. In Part One, Chapter Four, for example, the reader learns that the party erases evidence of its earlier promise to not cut the chocolate ration. Similarly, through "the book," the very idea of war with Eastasia or Eurasia is exposed as providing the party's justification for the unequal distribution of wealth and resources in Oceania. In addition, the committees and processions are all designed to brainwash citizens into hating enemies of the party and upholding restrictive and repressive ideals of morality, which the party has imposed.

In sum, then, the party offers nothing to the people of Oceania. Instead, it has taken their freedom and independence and replaced it with subservience, poverty and control.  

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1984

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