By Isabella Livoti
24 September 2018
George Orwell was a revolutionary author of the 20th century, using his literary works as a commentary on the modernization of society. One of the most famous of which being 1984. The dystopian novel portrays a communist-like society which revolves around emotionless duty and task brought on by the worshipping of technology and government.
Orwell uses the description of this social stratum to explain the after-effects of technological growth and progression on humanity as a whole. As well as the effects on the individual.
Yet, Orwell’s exaggerated prediction of the future is not entirely the fault of industrialization. But, rather the fundamentally flawed structure of human mentality.
The entire society within the novel revolves around the rapid decline of morality found in the individual human mind when controlled and manipulated. This manipulation is directly found in the search for perfection, for the ideal person. Yet, through this, significant elements of the human thought process are warped and distorted. The purpose eventually defeats the goal.
Freudian psychology poses a noteworthy presence throughout the novel, appearing in various forms and occurrences. Particularly the idea of the Id, Ego, and Superego. Or, the instinct, reality, and morality. These are shown in specific detail through the protagonist, Winston, and his many trials and tribulations. Especially those considering sexual misconducts. Winston has been desensitized through the evolution of humanity. He becomes depraved and animalistic in a sense when denied basic primal desire. Which, in turn, transforms this desire into a necessity, making him crave sex to the point of madness and a decline of human reason and morality.
The government known as “Big Brother” restricts the futuristic community within the novel in an attempt to achieve a supreme and quintessential collection of individuals. Orwell uses this fictitious administration to reflect the current and predicted state of the world as we know it and its desire for sustained amelioration. We strive for greatness, the intention of achieved idealism, wherein we do not acknowledge the complexity of human thought, and in turn asphyxiate it. Throughout the novel, “Big Brother” is a constant presence, existing in the upper level of social hierarchy which regulates the citizens thoughts and actions with the goal of total conformity. To the extreme that approaches absurdity.
Rather than catering to the mind of the individual, it is ensured that humanity will attempt to abolish this free thought and will. But rather stamp it out an effort of control.
We are born with the desire of constant improvement, yet we never analyze our actions to discover if we are indeed improving, instead of declining. Even within today’s society, this censorship is perpetually present, dictating what we say and when. This contradicts the very foundation of our world, in which we share our varying opinions and perspectives without the social constraints of constant uniformity. It is made to appear as if we are “blossoming” as a people, when instead of respect and appreciation for the differing views we share, we are overwhelmed by the anger and prejudice held for anything that doesn’t correspond with the “politically correct” standpoints dictated by a portion of the world citizens.
Orwell believes mankind is destined for destruction through its own devices, brought on by the seeking of a perfect world through societal reform and constriction. Disguised as progression and improvement. As a whole, we are flawed in our constant strive for exemplary order and structure.
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