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Freedom vs. Oppression in "1984"

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Marianne Szajn

on 4 April 2014

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Transcript of Freedom vs. Oppression in "1984"

“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.” (Orwell,214)This is one of many quotes from the novel spoken by Winston. This quote is saying that Big Brother is feeding you lies that they want you to think is reality, but at the same time you also have your own thoughts in your head. You are holding two thoughts in your mind that contradict one another, but you accept them both. In your mind both these thoughts are right because you don't know what to believe. In this society they make you question your own thoughts and tell you what you think is not what is right
“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.” (Orwell, 266) This is another quote from the famous novel "1984". What this quote is trying to say is that in this society Big Brother holds all the power. He can break apart your mind and assemble it back where he chooses what you are allowed to think. The Party changes the past into what they want it to be and therefore making you think what they want you think. They play with your mind until they've told you so many lies you start to believe that all of it is true. You can't tell what is real and what has been altered to the Party's liking,
Freedom of Speech
These criminal deeds bring Winston into the eye of the opposition, who then must reform the nonconformist. George Orwell's "1984", introduced the watchwords for life without freedom, "Big Brother is watching you". The citizens of Oceania are opressed because their leader, Big Brother, does not allow freedom of thought, freedom of speech or freedom to feel any real emotion for someone.
After that the consequences are endless, they may take you to work in a labour camp or vaporize you, wiping out your existence in this world. The later generations will never know you had a place in the world because there will be no trace of you left. The people in Oceania are oppressed and have no freedom. They have no individuality to be themselves and form their own opinions freely without being punished. They live in a society where you are never safe, not even in your mind. They are always watching you. They have even gone to extremes to brainwash the children to turn on their own parents.
"1984" was first published in 1949, written by author George Orwell, also known as Eric Arthur Blair. His harsh style creates an authentic picture of a state turned by men themselves into hell. Viewers may recognize for themselves, as the story is at its climax, how the protagonist of the film and novel alike learns along the journey of self-realization, tested by trials, hardships and privations. Winston Smith wrestles with oppression in Oceania, a place where The Party scrutinizes human actions with ever-watchful Big Brother. Defying a ban on individuality, Winston dares to express his thoughts in a diary and pursue a relationship with Julia.
Freedom vs. Oppression in "1984"
Freedom of Thought
In the novel “1984”, the citizens of Oceania are taught at a very young age that they are not to think negative thoughts about the Inner Party or Big Brother. They are only to think what the Inner Party tells them to and are not allowed to have their own thoughts. They are oppressed by Big Brother and unfortunately no one is ready to stand up and make a change. If you even think about rebelling against Big Brother it is a crime. The proper name for this crime is a “thoughtcrime” and if you are suspected of committing one, the Thought Police will come and arrest you.
If the children suspect their parents thinking inappropriate thoughts about Big Brother or the Inner Party then they report them to the Thought Police. In the beginning of the novel we see Winston take a step in gaining his own freedom by starting to write in a diary. He starts to rebel against Big Brother and write down his inner, most deep thoughts. With the telescreen watching and hearing his every move he runs the risk of being caught. After he records his thoughts he feels empowered to know that in a way he had, for once, the freedom to think what he truly feels. No one was able to tell him that what he thought was wrong. His diary was the only place he was safe, for now.
The citizens of Oceania very well present oppression through the fear of speaking their mind due to their elite government, Big Brother. As they are no longer allowed to express themselves through words, they use a language called, "Newspeak", which allows citizens to communicate with one another to make all sorts of thought possible. Its vocabulary was developed to give an exact and subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member wants to express, while excluding all other meanings and directly approaching them.Winston, a citizen of Oceania has a diary that he writes all his thoughts and emotions in because he wants to feel that freedom in which he does not possess.
Eric Arthure Blair wrote the novel and had it published in 1949. "1984" is still the great modern classic of "negative utopia"- startlingly original and haunting novel that created an imaginary world that is completely convincing from the first sentence to the last four words. The society of Oceania is oppressed due to the leader Big Brother not allowing freedom of thought, speech or emotion. O'Brien and the Ministry of Love did murder Winston's self. At the end of the novel, Winston no longer exists as a thinking individual. He exists only as a victim of the Party, forever selfless, forever loving Big Brother. Winston's self is the part that makes him human and unique- it essentially is Winston. Now that is dead, he waits only for his souless shell of a body to die as well.
As Winston says himself, "He had moved from thoughts to words, and now from words to actions." (Orwell, 130) He says this because his sign of hope was starting his diary. By doing this he demonstrates the fear that Big Brother imposes on him and all the citizens. In the novel, Winston states that, "Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two makes four. If this is granted, all else follows." (Orwell, 81) This means that freedom comes in knowing the truth and, also the evidence has been changed to say that whatever the government say it is, that's what it is. Overall, oppression is clearly shown through the fear of speaking up in the Dystopian society.
Freedom of Emotion
Oppression in "1984" had a big impact on emotion and the way people felt in Oceania. The people of Oceania were taught to have no emotion. They were taught that having sex and falling in love was no acceptable in their society because the party believed that it would be harder to control the citizens. When Winston fell in love with Julia he had to keep it a secret so that he would not be punished by the Thought Police. He expressed his feelings in his diary since it is not "politically correct". Before he met Julia, Winston had no emotion and was brainwashed by big Brother not to have feelings. "What mattered were individual relationships and a completely helpless gesture, an embrace, a tear, a word...
...spoken to a dying man could have value in itself. They had not become hardened inside. They had held on to the primitive emotions which he himself had to re-learn by conscious effort. In thinking this he remembered, without apparent relevance, how a few weeks ago had had seen a severed hand lying on the pavement and had kicked it into the gutter as though it had been cabbage stalk"(172). This is a representation of how love and emotion has changed Winston. Before he met Julia he had no emotion but now he was in love. "If you loved someone, you loved him and when you had nothing to give you still gave him love". (Orwell, part 2 chapter 7)This quote means that even when you are left with nothing, you still gave that person love no matter what the circumstances were. You loved them unconditionally.
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