What is the importance of Big Brother in 1984?

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At the center of George Orwell’s 1949 classic depiction of a totalitarian, dystopian society in which the masses are controlled through the imposition of an all-seeing system of surveillance and agitprop, 1984, Big Brother is the ubiquitous presence who dominates this society with ruthless efficiency. Big Brother is the leader of the Party, the political collective that presides over Orwell’s fictional society, Oceania, and he is the face of this autocratic system. As 1984 begins, the novel’s protagonist, Winston Smith, is described as ascending the staircase of his apartment building, the elevator not being an option due to yet another electricity shortage courtesy of the inefficiency of the totalitarian regime about which the reader is to learn quite a bit:

“On each landing, opposite the lift-shaft, the poster with the enormous face gazed from the wall. It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the...

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