George Orwell’s classic novel “1984” is a perfect example of a futuristic totalitarian regime and dystopia. Orwell’s tale expresses his vision of a government’s changing and switching to a totalitarian régime. In this story, the government is run by an unknown leader that the author calls “Big Brother.” The concept of “Big Brother” is that someone is always watching, and people can never deceive the government. In Orwell’s idea of what may happen in the future, “Big Brother” monitors everything everyone does or even thinks.
Orwell, absolutely unknown by his real name Eric Arthur Blair, was born in 1903, in Bengal, India. His father was Richard Walmesley Blair. He worked in the Opium department of the Indian Civil Service as a minor customs official.
When Orwell was four, his family returned to England. They then settled in a village near London, Henley. Shortly after moving to a new place, his father returned to India. Orwell was sent to a private elementary school in Sussex when he was eight years old. His experiences there influenced his views on the English class system. After finishing school there, he went to two private secondary schools, with scholarships support in both. He went to Wellington for one term and Eton for four and a half years.
Orwell later received training in Burma and became an Indian Imperial Police officer. He served there from 1922 to 1927. Orwell decided not to return to Burma while he was on leave in England. He had dreamed of becoming a writer ever since he was a child. He did not feel the Imperial Police was a suitable job for him. He had also realized how imperialistic the Police unit was and rejected it. He resigned on January 1, 1928.
The opening of the book explains the setting of London, which is now Oceania, in the year 1984. London is described as a place with a strict government that Orwell felt could have existed in 1984 if people did not listen to his warnings. It also tells about the way all citizens are monitored everywhere they go. There are “telescreens” in each room, which constantly show pictures of “Big Brother” speaking, but they are also videotaping everything that is going on. As you progress into the book, you discover the main character, Winston Smith, as he begins to want to revolt against “Big Brother.” As these rebellious urges progress, he starts a love affair with a girl named Julia. But the reality is that having love affairs is illegal in the world created by the author. The novel has a classic tale of betrayal when Winston discovers that O’Brien, who he thought was a rebel like himself, was actually a chief inquisitor for the inner party of “Big Brother.” The book is ended when Winston is captured, tortured, and basically brainwashed. The punishments Winston goes through eventually make him realize that he loves “Big Brother.”
There were many personifications, allegories, ironies, and symbolism in “1984.” Orwell’s character, Winston, was named after England’s great WWII leader Winston Churchill. An article Winston once wrote about freedom (meaning that you could say that two and two makes four) is used against him in the end. This shows some irony that Orwell used in his writing. The story mainly relates to what Hitler had been doing a few years before in Germany. The citizens are fed endless propaganda to ensure they will not go against the government. Orwell also was referring to Nazi Germany when he wrote about “Doublethink.” The theory behind “Doublethink” is the process that was used on Winston to make him believe two and two equal five. Orwell creates some symbolism between the separate states of 1984, and the separate countries during the time the book was written. He created Oceania to represent the United States, Urasia to represent Russia, and Eastasia to represent China. Another example of symbolism in this novel is the paperweight Winston buys in the old junk shop. It stands for the fragile relationship Winston shares with Julia. The coral in the inside of the paperweight represents Julia and Winston. In addition to the symbolisms, “1984” also includes some foreshadowing. The nursery rhymes do have a sentimental value to them, but they also create a foreshadowing of Julia and Winston’s betrayal of each other. Because they have been altered, the nursery rhymes do not always have the same meaning as they did before. For example, one of them ends with, “I sold you and you sold me.”
The story of “1984” can also be related to the present-day government of the United States. One can already see that in our schools the freedom of speech is limited. Because of school shootings, student threats are being taken more seriously. Some schools, however, do not take it as seriously as others. However, it was not until September 11 that it really became noticeable. After the tragedy in New York and Washington D.C., many precautions have been taken to ensure further terrorist acts do not happen again. Since the attacks, freedoms have been lessened. Phone conversations can now be recorded without permission, and one can be taken in for questioning just for something discussed on the phone. These are similar to the rights that are taken away while students are at school, but it is on a much larger scale. Security has been greatly increased in all forms of travel. This may not necessarily be a bad thing, but it is time-consuming. When traveling now on planes, all bags must be checked. This means one must arrive at the airport earlier to be sure to make the flight. It is understood that together with freedoms, a certain amount of responsibilities comes.
George Orwell’s “1984” was an extremely good book. It really makes one think about how horrible it would be to live in a totalitarian society. It makes one seriously wonder if the United States of America is slowly becoming more of a totalitarian government. George Orwell wrote “1984” in 1948. It has only been a little over 50 years. One should look at where our government has moved over the past 50 years. Just imagine where we will be in another 50 or 100 years. People should take into account that this could really happen and that it is a real threat.
George Orwell’s novel of a futuristic totalitarian regime and dystopia is a classic tale that acts as a warning to all governments, to guard against becoming more like “Big Brother.” It emphasizes many important symbolism issues and allegories to ensure that something as horrific as Nazi Germany does not happen again. The United States has changed significantly since September 11, 2001. Would it be possible for “1984” to become a reality in the United States? The reality is that the most frightening and powerful notion of the famous work written by George Orwell is that total control of the whole world under a totalitarian regime can become reality. Probably, we all should take Orwell’s masterpiece as a warning sign for all of us, as well as keep in mind the importance of resisting oppression and mass control.