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It becomes very quickly evident that the strange future dystopia that Orwell presents us with in the opening chapter of this novel is built around control and scrutiny of its populace. Not only are we provided with the rather disqueting image of a police helicopter that looks into people's windows, perhaps the most important form of technology that we are introduced to at the start of this book is the dreaded telescreen, which we are told can never be turned off:
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.
The utter and terrible uncertainty and fear of being under constant surveillance therefore dominates the novel and our awareness as readers from the very opening pages. The telescreen, as becomes very clear when Winston and Julia discover one in their hideaway all too late, is perhaps the most important example of technology that is used in this novel by the Party to control and suppress its people.
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