1984 (George Orwell) The individual is doomed in a world where the he is no longer in control of his self. Forces around and in him victimize the person, but all these forces have the same center, they all revolve around one main source. In the novel, 1984, by George Orwell, Winston Smith, the main character, falls victim to these forces which prohibit him from controlling his own life. One of these forces is the control the Party gives itself on the so-called truth, they take away history and replace it with whatever fits their needs.
Another force that victimizes Winston is the Party's policing and unwritten laws, which in the end turn out to be the ruin of Winston's life. Winston also falls victim to his self; he is constantly fighting a battle within his mind against the evils of newspeak and doublethink. Winston Smith loses control of his self because of one main source; this source is the Party. The Party takes control of Winston's life using many methods, one of these ways is through their manipulation of the truth in the past. In Winston's world any unsure thought may strike the Party as evil, if so they will make one disappear, or be an unperson. This is one of Winston's many fear's.
He is afraid of what might happen if the Party is to see his diary. All he can think about is a fate worse than death but, annihilation. How could you make appeal to the future when not a trace of you could physically survive (Orwell, p. 29). The Party eliminates anyone who dares to confront them. This leaves Winston, along with others, feeling inferior; they can no longer control their own lives, but must rely on rulers whose sole care is the luxury of their lives.
News of wars with Eastasia / Eurasia could lead one to believe that other lands exist outside of Oceania. But if so, why is there no means of Travel This of course not being a part of Outer Party member activities Vacations or travel outside of Oceania would be of course forbidden. In the years before the revolution it may have been different but there were not many people left whose ideas were formed before that time. In the novel it reads, The older generation had mostly been wiped out in the great purges of the fifties and sixties, and the few who survived had long ago been terrified into complete intellectual surrender". (Orwell, pg. 74).
So these conditions may only exist in Oceania and not the rest of the world. The only solid evidence of an outside existence or people are the Eastasia / Eurasia prisoners bound in chains and transported by truck through the streets for all to see heading for who knows where. Are these even prisoners of war Surely no one would ever be able to talk to them without being carted off themselves. In this world of theirs, as it reads in the novel, The Thought Police would get [anyone] just the same (Orwell, p. 21). These people may not even be prisoners of war at all, just the members of the outer party or proles, that disappear every day due to thought crime, or are believed to be dangerous and are sent off to die at the hands of Big Brother. Oceania could be a self-contained country controlling its people and feeding them lies.
Its people would never have any way of knowing otherwise or any reason to think so. The rest of the world could be free and no one would be the wiser. Just toys in a game being played with and discarded at will being pushed around and controlled by a master hand from above. No longer in control just a pawn in the greater scheme. Although the Party's hold on the people through the manipulation of the past plays a great contribution to Winston's loss of control of his self, the Party's methods of policing also plays a role in it all. In a world controlled by a higher power, constantly living in fear of doing or saying something wrong, constantly being watched, and observed without knowing.
There is no escape from the Party, even one's home has a telescreen watching every facial expression and recording any abnormal body language, any movement everywhere one goes. Winston's diary is an excellent example of the lengths some people go through for security and that the government goes to for its control of its population. Winston begins writing his diary in the hope of later generations using it as a basis for revolution, but even he knows that will never happen because the Party keeps an eye on everything. When Winston starts his diary he carefully puts a piece of hair on top of it so he will know if anyone looked at it while he is at work. But, Whether he went on with the diary, or whether he did not made no difference. The Thought Police would get him just the same, (Orwell, p. 21).
The Party will find out no matter what he does, the secret cannot be held forever, and when they find out Winston will pay with the worst punishment ever. The Party does nothing for the citizens but police them to make sure they are not conspiring against the Party. The Party has small cameras and microphones hidden all around Oceania, this is how the thought police catch Winston. He and Julia had rented a room in the proletarian neighbourhood, where they committed their acts against the Party. It turns out that there is a camera, as it reads in the novel, behind the picture (Orwell, p. 230), in their room. The Party destroys Winston and Julia's entire lives.
They have nothing to live for, only a few last moments of life before the Party brainwashes and they live out the rest of their life as mindless workers. Imagine not being able to get away or turn off the power of the Telescreen and "Big Brother". For Winston this is the case. When he and Julia go to see O Brien, Winston says (referring to the telescreen), You can turn it off! Yes, said O Brien, We have that privilege., (Orwell, p. 176). This seems frightening but unknowingly that it is possible that everyone is being watched by the government or a, Big Brother, of sorts and may not even realize it.
Through the front of someone's cable t. vs. box "Big Brother" may be peering into everyone's room, receiving information about them. The wiring in their house or phones may be being used as a listening device by the government to keep tabs on their plans, lives and business. Cameras and security devices are found every where, under freeway underpasses to catch speeding, and atop streetlights to track every move. Spy satellites able to take detailed photographs from space.
In a world like this privacy is not possible and privacy is a part of life that makes it one's own. Even though the Party's methods of policing are part of the reason for Winston to lose control of his self, Winston's constant battle in his mind against the evil's of newspeak and doublethink are also a reason why. Winston commits thoughtcrime all the time, which in the Party's eye are the worst of all offenses. A person may be able to believe that it is impossible to get caught for thinking something but, as the novel says it, Thoughtcrime [is] not something that [can] be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they are bound to get you, (Orwell, p. 21). It is impossible to keep something to oneself; it is in human nature to need someone to talk to.
In the end it all comes down to whether Winston could fight his own thoughts, brought on by the Party because of the torture he must sustain. At the Ministry of Love Winston has to go through strenuous physical and emotional pain in torture, he got to the point where he, did not even know which answer he [believes] to be the true one, (Orwell, p. 260). When it all came down to this final force he could not battle it any longer. This is probably the most important point, in a world where you cannot control one's actions, forced to do someone else's bidding, but to even have lost one's mind. A person's mind is the most important part of a person; a person needs that at least. But the Party is not interested in the body of the person, only their mind.
When someone commits a thoughtcrime they are not interested in the actual act, they are only interested in the complete overhaul of that person's mind. When Winston is being tortured in the Ministry of Truth O Brien explains it to him, We do not destroy the heretic because he resists us: so long as he resists us we never destroy him. We make the brain perfect before we blow it, (Orwell, p. 267). The Party is afraid of burning the heretic at the stake because he is still a heretic, and with that death comes the belief to others that it is possible. That it is possible to rise up against the Party and destroy it. This is why the Party destroys the mind before they kill the man.
Through this the Party destroys Winston's mind. Winston loses control over his self because of the Party. This is seen through the Party's hold on the past and so-called truth, their methodology of policing the masses and also through the intense emotional pain they cause Winston, which destroys his mind. In their world the people are unhappy, and they will always be unhappy. This is not because they do not wish to be happy, but because they cannot wish for happiness because they do not own their lives. When Winston and Julia commit their first act against the Party there is a bird singing to itself in the forest, it sings to please itself not others, the proles sing to themselves for the same reason, the Party does not sing.
The Party does not sing because they no longer control themselves. A world where the individual can no longer sing is no world to live in.
Eric Blair 1984.
Penguin Books Canada Ltd., 1987 364.