Nineteen Eighty-four’s World      

 by Simone


Project coordinator: Daniela Ianni


Graphic project: Ernesta Cicini



“Who controls the past controls the present,

who controls the present controls the future”

(George Orwell, “Nineteen eighty-four”).

 

It is the dark philosophy, the obscure message that pervades the whole novel; this is the maxim of the Party, one of the supreme principles of Ingsoc.

But before introducing this dystopian society, we have to know where the reality finishes and the fiction begins.

 

 

The story: 1946-1984

 

  After the second world war, the economical and social consequences of this global event had undermined the societies of the whole world. The socialist revolution, that caused the birth of the USSR, had become the Marxist ghost, and his shadow darkened the main countries of the world. The revolution burst and in the end it caused the birth of three big countries that inglobed the old states. Each of these three countries had got a different socialist ideology: “Oceania (ideology: Ingsoc -  English Socialism), Eurasia (ideology: Neo-Bolshevism), and Eastasia (ideology: Death Worship or Obliteration of the Self)” (from http://en.wikipedia.org). Added to this new states there was a territory that was contended by these new powers.  

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

Map of the three states after the war

(from http://en.wikipedia.org)

 

 

These three new powers in the 1950s started an atomic war: the hydrogen bombs exploded everywhere in the world in an all-against-all war, in which, each new state tried to conquer the territories of the others. This war caused the nuclear holocaust and it destroyed all the cities of the world and negatively changed the different types of equilibrium in nature. It caused the extiction of many vegetable and animal kingdoms, and the death of millions of human beings. The three new states understood that, because of the wide territory and the military and thecnology power, in this war no one of the states could defeat the others alone. Therefore since the 1970s they continuously had changed their alliances  in which two states were against the other in a dynamic war.

From this we arrive to 1984 when the novel is set.

 

 

State: Oceania

 

In 1984 Oceania is the strongest state among the three and it is allied with Eurasia against Eastasia, but , during the development of the story narrated in the novel, the alliance will change in Oceania and Estasia against Eurasia and in the end Oceania will conquer old Africa. The war is fought essentially in the contended territory but some missile attacks arrive in the cities “but it is hinted that the Oceanian government itself launches these weapons in order to convince the people […] that they are under constant attack” (from http://en.wikipedia.org)  , because this society is based on a terror regime, a dictatorship where war and fear are the most important foundations.

 

 

City: London

 

The atmospheres of this world are realized wery well in the homonym film “1984” where we can see the nulear winter: a grey sky that obscure both sun and stars, the dust is everywhere and it is impossible to remove and all the things and people have a grey colour because of the dust. In the city there is an alternation of destroyed districts and districts that have been rebuilt where the symbols of this new idology are everywhere.

 

 

Ideology: Ingsoc

 

War is peace - Freedom is slavery - gnorance is streght”

(George Orwell, “Nineteen eighty-four”).

 

 

Symbol of the ideology

 

 

They are  the maxims of Ingsoc, they are written on the walls of the ministries like slogans. Their contradictory meaning is their power and in this society based on war and total control, they are fundamental because “the world is in a state of constant war, no one is free, and everyone is ignorant”. And “Through their constant repetition, the terms become meaningless, and the slogans become axiomatic. This type of misuse of language, and the deliberate self-deception with which the citizens are encouraged to accept it, is called doublethink.” (from http://en.wikipedia.org).

Doublethink is a mental consequence of this dictatorship in which history is constantly changed, the truth doesn’t exist, all is rewrritten  order to deceive the citizens and to make them blindly believe that this ideology hhas always existed, this state ha always existed, the enemy has always been the same, all the technologies have been invented by the Party. In a few words: nothing has never changed, it has always been the same and it will be the same. This “official truth”, together with the memory of the real past, has created the doublethink.

 

 

   

Governing body: The Party

 

“The Party is never wrong”

(George Orwell, “Nineteen eighty-four”)

 

 

 The Party is the supreme politcal power, it is the only politcal party and it has got a role and a power similar to the communist party in the USSR. The quotation is the consequence of the control of history and of the news: the supremacy and the omniscience of the Party are based on them. The directives of the Party are never wrong and are always in front of the citizens’ eyes. The reason is that if the policy of the Party could be considered wrong by someone, its power could be crashed. An example of the possible control of the news could be this: the Party proclaims that the army of Oceania will surely win a particular battle, but the army loses this battle, therefore an istitutional organ, Ministry of Truth, will change the proclaim in all the books, newspaper, films, etc…, in a proclaim of defeat.

The Party is divided in three social classes. They are:

 

1. The Inner Party that makes policy decisions and runs the government, which is referred to as simply The Party.

 

2. The Outer Party that works in the state jobs and is the working class of the society. Members are allowed no vices other than cigarettes and Victory Gin. The Outer Party is also under the most scrutiny, being constantly monitored by two-way telescreens and other implements of surveillance.

 

3. The Proles that are the lower class, the rabble the Inner Party keeps happy and sedate with beer, gambling, sports, casual sex and prolefeed ("rubbishy texts"). The proles are named for the proletariat, the term Marx used for the working class.” (from http://en.wikipedia.org).

 

The Inner Party is the true Party and it has got the power to rule the country. Its members are over the law - they are the law - they know the real truth and they are out of the total control of the Party because they control the others. The supreme power of the Party is created by changing history and through the total control of the citizens’ life by using the telescreens. All the actions of the Party and the life of the citizens are studied to give an exact consequence, because the loss of control is the phobia of the Party’s members. This control is also mental, it convinces the citizens to believe in it blindly without knowing the truth and so losing every sense of reality. “Two puls two […], sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three” (George Orwell, “Nineteen eighty-four”).

The Party works also for eliminating the individuality, only the community exists and the community works for the Party, for improving its power.

The Party tries to eliminate the personality, the creativity, anything that can give spleasure, anything that can create rebels. It tries it with the elimination of Oldspeak and the introduction of Newspeak. Newspeak is the new language based on the impoverishment of the dictionary and the elimination of the old words. It causes the loss of the passions, feelings, concepts like liberty, love, freedom, democracy, etc….

The Party doesn’t want human beings, it wants machines, because the machines don’t make any questions and don’t try to have the answers.

Like all the dictatorships, also the Party has a military police: the ThoughtPolice. It has the purpose to eliminate -“vahaporize” (George Orwell, “Nineteen eighty-four”)- both the odinary criminals and, for example, the people who think: “The Party is wrong”. The ThoughtPolice is everywhere and supervises the citizens using the telescreens. Where they find a person that has a behaviour different from the behaviour dictated by the Party, or has thoughts different from the “ortodoxy” (George Orwell, 1984), they eliminate him and all the documents concerning him. This person has never existed. One of the worst aspect is that the ThoughtPolice teach the children how to find this kind of criminals -“Toughtcriminals” ( George Orwell, 1984)-, and most times the children denounce their parents as criminals.  The criminals are imposed phisical tortures -like electroshock- and psychical tortures -“What is in the room 101?[…]Everyone knows what is in room 101[…]that is the wors thing in the world[…]it’s  various from individual to individual” (George Orwell, “Nineteen eighty-four”). Before they are killed, they are persuaded and convinced to love the society and the Party and become good citizens. For improving its power, the Party has created an inner enemy, the Brotherhood, that makes terrorist attack against the citizens and its leader is an ex-member of the Party that was an enemy spy.

The members of the Outer Party are the citizens of Oceania, the ordinary people. They are under the control of the Party.”The life of an Outer Party member is dictated from his birth to his death” (http://en.wikipedia.org).. The whole Outer Party works from the Inner Party in the differnts ministries of Oceania. For this its members know a part of the “real truth” and for this the big part of them become criminals and are then “vaphorized” by the ThoughtPolice.

These are the Ministries:

 

The Ministry of Peace — Newspeak: Minipax. Concerns itself with conducting and perpetuating Oceania's peace through wars.

 

The Ministry of Plenty — Newspeak: Miniplenty. Responsible for rationing and controlling food and goods.

 

The Ministry of Truth — Newspeak: Minitrue. The propaganda arm of Oceania's regime. Minitrue controls political literature, the Party organisation, and the telescreens. Winston Smith works for Minitrue, "rectifying" historical records and newspaper articles to make them conform to IngSoc's most recent pronouncements, thus making everything that the Party says true.

 

The Ministry of Love — Newspeak: Miniluv. The agency responsible for the identification, monitoring, arrest, and torture of dissidents, real or imagined. Responsible for making every Party member love the Party.” (from http://en.wikipedia.org). 

 

The Proles in 1984 are the members of modern marxist poletariat. However in a socialist society, where there should be no classes , there should be no proletariat as well,  and then the Party changed the name in proles. The proles are about 90% of Oceania’s population and they are used to work in the industries and in the farms. They are out of the law of the Party. “Proles and animals are free” (George Orwell, 1984).

They live in the destroyed districts, far from the rest of the society. The Party keeps them ignorant and poor by using alcohol, prostitution, false lotteries, etc.  Among them there are some agents of the ThoughtPolice with the purpose to eliminate the few learned people that could become new rebels.

 

Dictator: Big Brother

 

 

  (http://en .wikipedia.org).

 

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU”

(George Orwell, “Nineteen eighty-four”)

 

Big Brother isn’t a real person, he is an abstract shade created by the Party. He is the maximum expression of power and control of the Party. He exists not in human form, but in form of a strange material god: the telescreens are His eyes and His ears, the Party is His voice and His brain; the ThoughtPolice is His will and Oceania is His body. It is not the Party that is never wrong, but Big Brother is never wrong. All exist because the Big Brother has created all. It is not the ThoughtPolice that control the citizens but Big Brother controls the citizens and their sons. His face is eveywhere printed on the posters, in films, in photos. As we can see in the photo from the film “1984”, Big Brother’s face is the face of Joseph Stalin and Orwell severely criticized the soviet dictator by representing him like the maximum tyrant in a world where there is no privacy, freedom, individual will. “Doesn’t Big Brother exist ?”. “Of course”( George Orwell, “Nineteen eighty-four”) answers the Party, because He is the Party. “Will Big Brother ever die ?” “Of course not”( George Orwell, “Nineteen eighty-four”). He will live forever, the Party will exist forever. The Big Brother carries us to the issue of the control. It happens by using the telescreens. They are a sort of TV built in the walls: they trasmit films, news, shows according to the directions of the Party, and at the same time they shoot the citizens that are in their range. The blind angles without control are few because the telescreens are everywhere and where they aren’t any, there are the microphones. The people have inexpressive faces because any expression can be cosidered an act of rebellion. The only free place is the mind, but the Party is working to eliminate also this freedom. I said that the control is also mental and it is. The Party uses the Newspeak and social events like “Two Minutes of Hate” and the “Anti-sex Junior League” for controlling the mind of the people and for eliminating their feelings.

Is this dark world possible ? It may be, but not in this form.  It is impossible to realize this kind of control of all the aspects of society and culture, but it should be a tragic objectice, like it was in the past, in all the tirranies.  The thirst of power that some human beings have got is as infinite as the two things mentioned by Albert Einstein in one of his famous sentences:“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.” 

 

By Simone

 


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