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One of the most important lessons from George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four is that people should be careful not to exchange their liberty for protection while making political decisions. Whoever owns the past, he claims, controls the future. Orwell (np) states in the book, "Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past." As a result, the kind of leaders selected has a huge effect on society, and his message is that of caution. He contends that such forms of politics, owing to their symptomatic existence, contribute to social behaviors that can affect people. George Orwell warns people of the pessimistic nature of a society that is unavoidable as long as the language is eroded, the working class is oppressed and jingoism is practiced.
One theme that is prominent in the novel is totalitarianism. George Orwell describes the dangers associated with totalitarianism. A totalitarianism regime can acquire an extensive and damaging degree of power and control. The all-powerful hand of the government in this regime pulverizes personal rights and freedom of individuals. 'The party seeks power entirely for its sake' (Orwell). From the quote, George was able to show that totalitarianism form of government was oppressive to the citizens. Totalitarianism leads to a less desirable dystopian society (Awan and Syed Ahmad 21). The theme fits this novel given the setting in Oceania, a nation where citizens are fully controlled by the government. The government monitored all its citizens all the time 'Big brother is watching you' (Orwell). The current society can borrow a lot from the theme of totalitarianism. For instance, the author gave an example of the Russian communist and German Nazis that practiced totalitarianism, which led to the destruction of economic strength, honest government and civil liberties. George managed to give the world ideas of what will ensure if they decided to take up a totalitarianism form of government.
Another theme extensively portrayed in the nineteen eighty-four novel is propaganda. Propaganda is one main driver for the government of Oceania. They made use of a capable propaganda machine. Winston works at the Ministry of Truth that disseminates publication and information for the party. The party makes decisions on what the public should be told irrespective of its accuracy. 'The ministry of truth with lies' (Orwell). Other basic forms of propaganda are also portrayed in the novel such the two-minute hate. Propaganda applies to the book and the nation of Oceania. Propaganda is a powerful tool that made it possible for the government of Oceania to instill ideas to the citizens and thus able to attain total loyalty. Even in the real world, propaganda is a common tool used in manipulating the thinking of individuals in the society. Propaganda relies on flawed ideas that are present in a given society (Maitra). Therefore, the current world learns to be watchful of propaganda since it will be impossible to have reality when it rules.
The themes of totalitarianism and propaganda are critical in society. Individuals and the community need to be careful of the kind of government they chose to lead them. Reading the novel made me understand how governments characterized by totalitarianism and propaganda can be detrimental to society. Orwell used fictional Oceania to elaborate and convey to the readers about the inherent issues in such a regime. Orwell manages to bring the audience to a world of bleakness in his style of writing. The author uses descriptions that are creepy, but still manage to alarm the readers of the dangers of totalitarianism. The dull situation and the daily life of the people of Oceania make readers understand how oppressive an all-powerful government would do to them.
Awan, Abdul Ghafoor, and Syed Ahmad Raza. "The Effects of Totalitarianism and Marxism towards Dystopian Society in George Orwell's selected Fictions." Global Journal of Management and Social Sciences 2.4 (2016): 21-31.
Maitra, Ishani. "Propaganda, Non-Rational Means, and Civic Rhetoric." THEORIA. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 31.3 (2016): 313-327.
Orwell, George. 1984. London: Arcturus Publishing, 2014. Print.
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