1984 And George Orwell's Brave New World

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George Santayana’s widely cited aphorism, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” while catchy, fails to account for the question of how we remember history. Our perception of historical events is shaped by the media and literature that was produced during these events. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World reminds us of the dangers of eugenics. Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 critiques book burning and idea suppression, and was written at a time when the Red Scare and fear of communism lead to widespread suppression of literature, films and plays. Similarly, George Orwell wrote 1984 around the end of World War II, just as the Allies defeated the fascist regimes of the Axis powers and communism was beginning to touch the British …show more content…
Orwell was a known democratic socialist and disliked tyranny, but Orwell’s motivation for writing 1984 has been the subject of disagreement. The most obvious reason is that he wrote with the purpose of highlighting surveillance, ultranationalism and power-hunger, in the hopes of preventing 1984’s depicted future from ever coming to pass. But, novelist John Crowley argues that 1984 is not a sincere warning of a totalitarian future, but rather a demonstration of the absurdity of power as an end to itself. Crowley argues that “Orwell knew [that people] would simply not give in to the 1984 model, not for long; the drive to power for power’s sake could never be as powerful as that” (Crowley). Crowley believes that Orwell thought power as an end is unrealistic, yet he never qualifies this belief. Furthermore, even if there remains uncertainty over why Orwell wrote 1984, the fact that much of the book’s predictions hold true today justifies it’s continued place as a literary classic worthy of analysis and debate. Yes, the historical context of 1984’s writing is radically different from our own. It is undeniable that the state of the world following the end of World War II was fraught with peril that we now think of as history. But if as Orwell claims, power is an end, a core component of human nature, then power as an end will endure the passing of time. The drive for power will continue to push leaders towards totalitarianism in order to secure power, and history will repeat

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