Texts which offer new insights into the anomalies and inconsistencies in human behaviour and motivations. Indeed, through this examination, the audience may glean an insight into the author’s manipulation of such human behaviour and motivation, prompting the audience to be made aware of their behaviour. Through an exploration of Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984, the dangers of living in an autocratic totalitarian society allows readers to become conscious of the anomalies and inconsistencies that can arise within an individual, which in 1984 can be seen through the main protagonist, Winston Smith. Loss of individuality, power and control and inconsistencies such as “two plus two equals four” can be seen throughout the novel. Through the following ideas, we are able to see how Orwell offers new insight into the anomalies and inconsistencies that arise in human behaviour due to political manipulation.
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Loss of individuality is seen as one of the major themes in 1984 and can be seen through the main protagonist, Winston. In order for the party, an autocratic totalitarian society, to stay in power, its citizens must deny their individuality and eradicate their independent thought. Although, this is something which Winston deviates from a try to maintain his individuality against the collective identity the party wishes him to uptake, turning him into an anomaly. Winston unlike others goes against the party, where he keeps a private diary, engages in an intimate relationship, and insists that the reality which the party wants its citizens to believe in is not true. Even though Winston tries to deviate himself from losing his individuality, in the end, he becomes a collective like the other citizens of Oceania due to the party’s constant manipulation of history and destruction of past historical records making it near impossible for one to establish an identity. The citizens of Oceania speak in the official language of Newspeak, which is a Neologism in 1984, demonstrating the limited range of thoughts that can be expressed by an individual. Orwell throughout 1984, constantly uses zoomorphism, such as “Duckspeak” in which he compares the individuals of Oceania to animals demonstrating how society has become dehumanised from the loss of thought. This shows how the Party’s oppression of individual thought has prevented its citizens from attaining an individual identity. Hence, through the following idea of loss of individuality, we as an audience are able to see how the oppression on individualism within a totalitarian society offers new insight into the anomaly of human behaviour.
Power and control are seen as the utmost goal the party seeks to achieve and can be seen through the various methods the party has put in place in order to keep its citizens under control. Propaganda is one of the few methods which the party uses to control the public. By using Big Brother as their major propaganda whose “eyes seem to follow you about when you move” allows the party to manipulate the public and make Goldstein a public enemy. This allows the party to gain power as it causes all of Oceania to be turned against one man and distract them from the party’s actions as well as becoming patriot, hence making it easier for the party to manipulate its citizens. The telescreens are another method which the party undertakes as through the telescreens the party is able to gain complete control over each individual in Oceania as it can “be dimmed but not turned off”. As previously mentioned, the party not only forces its citizens of Oceania to strip themselves from their identity but are also prevented from speaking English and instead must speak in the official language of Oceania known as ‘Newspeak’ which is created to fulfill the demands of INGSOC (‘English socialism). This prevents the people of Oceania from conceptualising anything that may be against the party or question the party’s power and ruling. Through this, we are able to see how the party is able to also have control over language and the minds of its citizens. As mentioned by O’Brien, “The party seeks power for its own sake, we are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power”. Through this quote, we are able to see how power is collective and can only be attained by an individual if he prevents himself from becoming one. Thus, through the following theme of power and control, we are able to see the complexity of human motivation and behaviour.
Through the party having complete control over truth, we are given an insight into the inconsistencies of Oceania. One of the major inconsistencies which can be seen within the novel is the “two plus two equals five” slogan which shows an inconsistency in belief with the truth. Within the following paradoxical slogan of ignorance is strength, Orwell portrays how the people of Oceania are expected to bury the truth and accept irrationality. The slogan “ignorance is strength” is also the willing ignorance of the people who ignore the contradictions and fail to investigate such inconsistencies as a non-existent war with an ever-changing enemy (Frank, 2020). With the party having complete control over history, they are able to manipulate the past, present and the future, leading its people of Oceania to believe in a false reality which has been created by the party.
Overall, through an explanation of the following ideas of loss of individuality, power and control and inconsistencies such as “two plus two equals five”, we are able to see how Orwell offered an insight into the anoles and inconsistencies in human behaviour causing the audience to understand and reflect upon the impact a totalitarian society can have on one’s behaviour and motivation.