George Orwell’s 1984: was it all a ficticious reality?
The novel 1984 was published by the English author George Orwell in 1949. It was made as a prediction of a fictitious future in which the Human Rights would be minimum and the world would be involved in a constant war. The aim os this post is to analyze the impact of this novel; what essential ideas are underlined on it and which of them still reflects nowadays’ world.
In that hypothetic future, the world is divided in three super-states, which would be similar to three main continents: Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia. This three immense territories are constantly in war against each other, in a fight which doesn’t seem to come to an end. The main story takes place in Oceania, in a very devastated London, where Winston Smith, the main character, lives in. There, a new and unbreakable totalitarian state have been imposed: “The Party”. It is set up by a new “English Socialism” ideology called “Ingsoc”, and its slogan is the following: “War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength.” According to Loraine Saunders, a writer in Finlay Publisher website, a peace of this “statement” can be a reflection of our nowadays reality:
“(…) In Nineteen Eighty-Four it is ‘WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH’. Today, no doubt those mottos will resonate differently depending on people’s circumstances, i.e. where you live. However, largely thanks to the US and the UK, one is becoming truer by the year, and that is WAR IS PEACE.”
Every citizen, or at least every one who works for The Party, is controlled by a “tele-screen” installed in every home, which is supposedly able to look at each inhabitant. The feeling of constant war and risk keep people so concentrated on their tasks that they can’t think of any kind of rebellion against The Party, or, what’s worst, the majority of them don’t want to act against it.
Luis Antonio Santos Abarca, professor in the Behavioral Sciences College of Toluca, Mexico, explained what makes the novel so characteristic:
“La novela de Orwell invita meditar sobre el futuro del orden político, el gobierno adopta posiciones y castigos hasta donde la sociedad lo permite, el c
astigo no existiría si el masoquista no lo pidiera a gritos. El problema está centrado en la igualdad social, cuando todos estén a un mismo nivel la sociedad se acaba, es como si un atleta compitiera, sabiendo que los otros oponentes van a llegar al mismo tiempo que él, ese es el actual problema que se debe atender con la globalización.”
Although this novel was written more than 60 years ago, many experts still claim that some of the ideas underlined in the novel still reflect nowadays world, such as the differences between the poor and the rich, the totalitarian repression, and the limitation of personal and collective freedom. It is true that when this novel was written the instability of the Cold War was current and the permanent feeling of unfairness pain led writers to “say it out loud” in their literary works; but, there are some “unfair” truths that still happen, right now. Dr Peter West, a current professor in the Faculty of Education, University of Technology in Sydney, stated the following last summer:
“Democratic societies are supposed to be governed by a Prime Minister in Cabinet, accountable to a Parliament or a President and Congress. The police have a duty to enforce the law. An independent, free press is meant to offer criticism and advice. All of these are meant to be separate organisations. This has not been happening in the U.K, the U.S, or Australia.
It’s claimed that police have been paid for information used by journalists to discredit the politicians they dislike. In America, right-wing people are being paid by right-wing-leaning media corporations, and they criticise the President and Congress. In Australia we have the suspicious business of an orchestrated campaign against the carbon tax. Tony Abbott, right-wing shock jocks and some of the newspapers have long been involved in a campaign targeting the carbon tax and the Greens – as Bob Brown stated in the media on 13th July. Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney, has also been targeted.
So where are an individual’s rights, if journalists can target those they dislike and wine and dine with those whose policies they approve of? Do powerful media interests bully Members of Parliament? Are improper payments being made by journalists to police to discredit people and air dirty linen in public for improper purposes? Why was Thatcher so close to media owners, though they are never mentioned in her memoirs? Why did Citizen Rupert support Tony Blair so enthusiastically, as well as supporting the war in Iraq? And if this can happen in the U.K., why not here? It is all sounding much too like Nineteen Eighty Four.”
Therefore, the dark and bleak world described in 1984 reflects not only some of the toughest political and social historical periods, but also some of the ugliest truths of our present days. Haven’t we developed enough to eradicate the global pain? I personally hope that in 60 years time this question won’t be asked again.
- “Between Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World: A Far Cry from Orwell’s Socialis “ by Loraine Saunders, 2008. http://www.finlay-publisher.com/archives/Jul-Sep-8-Saunders.pdf
- “Ensayo sobre la obra “1984” de George Orwell” by Luis Antonio Santos Abarca (18/04/2002). https://docs.google.com/viewer
- “Welcome to the world of Nineteen Eighty Four: The U.K. scandal and Australia” by Peter West (21/07/2011). http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=12354