Totalitarianism In Nineteen Eighty-Four By George Orwell

1125 Words 5 Pages
Countless totalitarian regimes throughout history have exercised their power and asserted their dominance through the dismantling of the free press, dissemination of misinformation and violence, all in the name of enforcing conformity to state doctrine. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell describes this idea in detail within the context of the fictional state of Oceania through his now oft-referenced quote, “two and two make five.” In his effort to warn against the effects on totalitarianism on the governed peoples, Orwell shows in his writing how the fictional Party can control all aspects of life by simply dictating what information is present among the populace to the point where citizens will believe anything the Party says. Through …show more content…
Orwell’s Ninteen Eighty-Four serves as both a model and a warning: the nature of totalitarianism is an oppressive one and anything contrary to this is but an illusion. In essence, the Party is the news, just as it is the past and it is the thoughts of the people. Ironically, the method by which the Party in Nineteen Eighty-Four exerts total control over the state is by creating an illusion.
In the totalitarian regime of Oceania, the Party is omnipresent and all-controlling because of the way in which it controls the news. As soon as the protagonist Winston Smith enters his apartment, he is instantly confronted by a telescreen “babbling away about pig-iron and the overfulfilment of the Ninth Three-Year Plan.” However, in the exposition, the setting of the novel starkly contrasts what the Party is choosing to publicize through the telescreen. Winston’s London is a dilapidated, run-down mess of neglect and
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If two and two make five can truly be implanted and validated by the minds of millions, how is this accomplished? Orwell’s idea is that anything can be done by dictating what information is present. This can be seen in the protagonist, Winston Smith, who has special insight on this matter. Winston works at the Ministry of Truth and his specific assignment is “rectifying” inaccuracies in past records that do not conform to present Party doctrine. Relating back to the overfulfilment of the Ninth Three-Year Plan, a situation like this could involve going back into the records and changing the parameters of the plan to be more advantageous to the Party in the present. At one point, Winston, in doing his work, encounters an old record which needs rectifying and before he incinerates it, brings up an interesting point. If the true past is changed and there are no more records of it, is it still true? In Oceania, it is not. From Winston’s perspective at the Ministry of Truth, Orwell’s point becomes clear. What the Party says is the truth. Even Winston, who works at the Ministry, does not know many things for sure. In the exposition, he is not entirely sure of the date as he writes it down in his diary. Neither is he clear throughout the book that London was always this run-down and ravaged by poverty. Orwell is warning that by correcting past records, a

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