The writing of George Orwell showed elements of power which eventually define how man is influenced by it. I think the narrator of the book, Orwell, was able to offer a prescient warning because he mentioned war, its cause and effect. Published in 1948 and set thirty-six years in the future, 1984 is George Orwell’s dark vision of the future. Written while Orwell was dying and based on the work of the Russian author Yevgeny Zamyatin, it is a chilling depiction of how the power of the state could come to dominate the lives of individuals through cultural conditioning.
Perhaps the most powerful science fiction novel of the twentieth century, this apocalyptic satire shows with grim conviction how Winston Smith’s individual personality is wiped out and how he is recreated in the Party’s image until he does not just obey but even loves Big Brother. Some critics have related Winston Smith’s sufferings to those Orwell underwent at preparatory school, experiences he wrote about just before 1984. Orwell maintained that the book was written with the explicit intention “to alter other people’s idea of the kind of society they should strive after.
” The dark vision of George Orwell has not materialized yet because democracy still prevailed to most countries led by the United States. But Orwell’s vision of the future can’t be set aside since we are seeing small and large conflicts originating from culture, ethnicity, power, and wealth. The main ideas of the book are: 1. War is important for consuming the products of human labour; if this work were be used to increase the standard of living, the control of the party over the people would decrease. War is the economic basis of a hierarchical society.
There is an emotional need to believe in the ultimate victory of Big Brother. 3. In becoming continuous, war has ceased to exist. The continuity of the war guarantees the permanence of the current order. In other words, “War is Peace” 4. There have always been three main strata of society; the Upper, the Middle and the Lower, and no change has brought human equality one inch nearer. 5. Collectivism doesn’t lead to socialism. In the event, the wealth now belongs to the new “upper-class”, the bureaucrats and administrators. Collectivism has ensured the permanence of economic inequality.
Wealth is not inherited from person to person, but it is kept within the ruling group. 7. The masses (proles) are given freedom of thought, because they don’t think! A Party member is not allowed the slightest deviation of thought, and there is an elaborate mental training to ensure this, a training that can be summarized in the concept of doublethink. So far the book analyses how the Party works. It has not yet attempted to deal with why the Party has arisen. Before continuing with the next chapter Winston turns to Julia and finds her asleep. He also falls asleep.
The next morning when he awakes the sun is shining, and down in the yard a prole women is singing and working. Winston is again filled with the conviction that the future lies with the proles, that they will overthrow the greyness of the Party. But suddenly reality crashes in. “We are the DEAD”, he says to Julia. An iron voice behind them repeats the phrase, the picture on the wall falls to bits to reveal a telescreen behind it. Uniformed man thunder into the room and they carry Winston and Julia out. Winston is in a cell in what he presumes is the Ministry of Love.
He is sick with hunger and fear, and when he makes a movement or a sound, a harsh voice will bawl at him from four telescreens. A prisoner who is dying of starvation is brought in, his face is skull-like. Later the man is brought to “Room 101” after screaming and struggling, and even offering his children’s sacrifices in his stead. O’Brien enters. Winston thinks that they must have got him, too, but O’Brien says that they got him long time ago. A guard hits Winston, and he becomes unconscious. When he wakes up he is tied down to a kind of bed.
O’Brien stands beside the bed, and Winston feels that O’Brien, who is the torturer, is also somehow a friend. The aim of O’Brien is to teach Winston the technique of doublethink, and he does this by inflicting pain of ever-increasing intensity. He reminds Winston that he wrote the sentence: ” Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two makes four”. O’Brien holds up four fingers of his left hand, and he asks Winston how many there are. Winston answers four a couple of times, and each time the pain increases (this is not done to make Winston lie, but to make him really see five fingers instead of four).
At the end of the session, under heavy influence of drugs and agony, Winston really sees five fingers. Now Winston is ready to enter the second stage of his integration (1. Learning, 2. Understanding, 3. Acceptance). O’Brien now explains how the Party works. The image he gives of the future is that of a boot stamping on a human face – for ever. Winston protests, because he thinks that there is something in the human nature that will not allow this; he calls it “The Spirit of Man”. O’Brien points out that Winston is the last humanist, he is the last guardian of the human spirit.
Then O’Brien gets Winston to look at himself in the mirror. Winston is horrified by he sees. The unknown time of torture has changed him into a shapeless and battered wreck. This is what the last humanist looks like. The only degradation that Winston has not been through, is that he has not betrayed Julia. He has said anything under torture, but inside he has remained true to her. Winston is much better now. For some time he has not been beaten and tortured, he has been fed quite well and allowed to wash.
Winston realises that he now accepts all the lies of the Party, that for example Oceania was always at war with Eastasia, and that he never had the photograph of Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford that disproved their guilt. Even gravity could be nonsense. But nevertheless Winston has some unorthodox thoughts that he cannot suppress. But now it is time for the last of the three steps, reintegration. Winston is taken to Room 101. O’Brien says that the room 101 is the worst thing in the world. For each person it is his own personal hell.
For some it is death by fire or burial alive. For Winston it is a cage containing two rats, with a fixture like a fencing mask attached, into which the face of the victim is strapped. Then there is a lever that opens the cage, so that the rats can get to the face. O’Brien is approaching with the cage, and Winston sense the bad smell of the rats. He screams. The only way to get out of this is to put someone else between himself and the horror. “Do it to Julia”, he screams in a final betrayal of himself.
Winston is released, and he is often sitting in the Chestnut Tree Cafe, drinking Victory Gin and playing chess. He now has a job in a sub-committee, that is made up of others like him. On a cold winter day he meets Julia, they speak briefly, but have little to say to each other, except that they have betrayed each other. A memory of a day in his childhood comes to Winston’s mind; it is false, he is often troubled by false memories. He looks forward to the bullet, they will kill him with some day. Now he realizes how pointless it was to resist. He loves Big Brother!