What are some major differences between our time (2010+) and 1984?I understand the difference in freedom and government but I would like to see if there's anything else?

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akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

There are some blatant differences between where we are now and where government was in Orwell's work.  On one level, government does not have the extent of technology that Orwell's work depicts.  It might wish to get there and with advances in technology, but for now the government does not "enjoy" complete and total entrance into our thoughts and actions.  At the same time, there is not such a centralized social and governmental order such as what Big Brother enjoyed.  There is a level of diversity and diffusion that prevents modern government from such a strong and central notion of control as is present in Oceania.  Finally, the notion of "going underground" as Julia and Winston had to do is not as present in our setting.  At the same time, there is a greater conception of freedom in the modern setting than in Orwell's work, and the notion of sex is not as demonized as it was in Oceania.  In fact, some might suggest that it needs to be a bit more demonized than it is.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Depending on what you mean by freedom, these things may count as "something else."

  • We are, of course, much better off than the people of 1984 (in terms of material possessions). In Oceania, the wars took up all the surplus so people had very little.  We have so many material possessions -- there's no comparison.
  • Attitudes towards sexuality are very different.  America is most clearly not a culture where sex for fun and representations of sexuality are banned.
  • We are certainly living in a much more peaceful world than Orwell imagined.  There are no major wars going on, there have been no nuclear attacks, etc.
  • We do not (in the US) have the kinds of class divisions (Inner Party, Outer Party, Proles) that Oceania has.
jglafter's profile pic

jglafter | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

One example is through th dehumanization of the citizens, specifically that of the Outer Party citizens. The totalitarian government in Oceania dehumanizes the citizens  by controlling, limiting, and regulating their emotions, thoughts, and even memories. I'm positive there isn't one country in the world like that in today's modern world.

Off the top of my head, one example of the Party regulating/limiting the citizens' emotions is through the making of the 11th edition dictionary. Syme explains to Winston:

Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word.

-Chapter 1, Part 5

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