Wednesday, October 17, 2012

1984 Dystopian Society

 The book 1984 by George Orwell follows the idea of a dystopian society. Main character, Winston Smith, is trapped in a world where the "party" whose leader, Big Brother, is always watching him and the low-ranking members of society. Big Brother watches the citizens of Oceana in London through large telescreens. The party, which reminds us of the political parties that has morphed into one, controls everything in Oceana, including the people's history, minds (thoughts) and even their language. No one is free. The party allows no one to rebel, even through their minds. This is a crime called "thoughtcrime" and the most illegal of all rebellious crimes to commit. Thoughtcrime comes from "Newspeak", the new language created by the party.
Winston tries to rebel against Big Brother and the party with their out-of-this-world controlling ways throughout the story. The party catches on to Winston's thoughtcrimes and rebelliousness, and punishes him with his biggest fears for his wrong-doings. In the end, Winston ends up giving into the party and becoming just like everyone else, broken spirited and worshipping Big Brother.
One of the most important part of a utopian society to me is freedom, in all forms. 1984 took the opposite approach of this "utopian" idea by even making society's rebellious thoughts into a crime. The book also goes hand in hand with the definition of a dystopian society as a futuristic look into mankind after something that has gone terribly wrong, apocalyptic or not. This world or city, Oceana, is made up to show what life could be like. No one is free and everything is controlled by this secretive higher power that no one truly knows who or what this higher power is, which is the scariest part. In this world, you can't trust anyone, not even yourself because how easy is it to control your own thoughts? Not very.


1984 is extremely popular for creating one of the best dystopian society stories and achieves this well. It is popular because it makes us think that this can happen. A lot of people have second thoughts about what our government is actually up to. Is it a conspiracy? Since some may have these fearful thoughts in the back of their heads, this book brings up these fears and allows us to think about our own society.


  1. While I was here at orientation one of the lecturers I heard was a professor who talked about how we as a people are becoming controlled by our technology. One of the main focuses of the discussion was the fact that we might be at the mercy of our own technological devices, and we are oblivious to it. This goes hand in hand with what you said about the dystopian society in "1984." They are being controlled by a higher power and no one truly knows who it is. Are we doomed to be controlled by devices such as iPhones in the future?

    1. But Clyde, what is it the the iPhone is capable of on its own? I mean, isn't the vast majority of the content displayed by the iPhone sourced from the collective. The thing that I think is different about internet devices is that all of the information they give to us is from other members of the internet community. Of course, some people on the internet contributing to the pool of information have malicious intentions, but without support and vision/planning, any type of control these malicious users could command would be temporary and reparable (like hacking information).

  2. Exactly. I don't think we could necessarily be "controlled" by devices such as iPhones in the future because it is only us who give in to this technology, not the technology dominating, or controlling us. Clyde, you mention technology which makes me think of "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep," because the idea of technology and androids are relevant and extremely significant throughout the book. Although we may give into technology and rely on it, I don't think it will control us in the way of the book that we are reading now. It depends on how much technology we will be willing to let into our lives.