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Freedom to Self-Expression in 1984
Transcript of Freedom to Self-Expression in 1984
"In the Two Minutes Hate he could not help sharing in the general delirium, but this subhuman chanting of 'B-B!...B-B!' always filled him with horror"(17).
Although the daily two-minute hate sessions create an outburst of uncontrolled emotion, it is a ritual imposed by The Party to direct unrest away from the corrupted government. Even when allowed self-expression, it's a manipulation and not genuine.
"As he mechanically shot his arms back and forth, wearing on his face the look of grim enjoyment which was considered proper during the Physical Jerks..." (32).
The Paper Weight
No more Art, Literature, Orgasm
The government has such strict control over its "comrades" that Winston cannot even show fatigue while exercising because he is constantly monitored by the telescreen. Although his varicose ulcer is a real medical condition, to convey pain would lead to scolding by the exercise instructor. The citizens do not even have the freedom to express natural emotions.
"In the end we shall make thoughcrime litterally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it"(52).
"Winston kept his back turned to the telescreen. It was safer; though, as he well knew, even a back can be revealing" (3).
"What appealed to him about was not so much its beauty as the air it seemed to possess of belonging to an age quite different from the present one" (95).
"... utterly alone, utterly secure, with nobody watching you, no voice pursuing you, no sound except the singing of the kettle and he friendly ticking of the clock" (97).
" The Part prisoners were always silent and terrified, but ordinary criminals seemed to care nothing for anybody. They yelled insults at the guards, fought back fiercely when their belongings were impounded, wrote obscene words on the floor, ate smuggled food which they produced from mysterious hiding places in their clothes, and even shouted down the telescreen when it tried to restore order" (226).
"'Has it ever occurred to you,' he said, 'that the whole history of English poetry has been determined by the fact that the English language lacks rhymes?'" (231).
"' Would you believe,' he said, 'that 'till this moment I didn't know what color your eyes were?' They were brown, he noted, a rather light shade of brown, with dark lashes" (119).
"As he looked at the woman in her characteristic attitude, her thick arms reaching up for the line, her powerful marelike buttocks protruded, it struck him for the first time that she was beautiful" (219).
" We shall abolish the orgasm... There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science. When we are omnipotent we shall have no more need of science" (267).
"Nearly everyone was ugly, and would still have been ugly even if dressed otherwise than in the uniform blue overalls"(60).
Choice of attire is often the simplest avenue of self-expression, but The Party cannot grant even the smallest of freedoms. With the forced uniform, they effectively create a union out of its citizens thereby reinforcing their ideals of a collective government. Individuality is prohibited.
By invading the private home with a surveillance system like the telescreen, the citizens have lost all privacy and hope of voicing their opinions. Party members must always express the adequate emotions on their faces, even if they feel completely different internally. Even the slightest facial movement can be a person's downfall, since it may convey despair or sadness rather than triumph or blankness.
The proles are basically the only class of society that have any freedom of expression whatsoever. The Party believes them to be too ignorant and wild to ever use their freedom of expression as a force against their oppressors.
With the effects of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War looming over, Orwell creates a world that mirrors the lifelessness and manipulation of the time. Citizens of Oceania are deprived of self-expression as a tool implemented by Big Brother for their ultimate goal; the Party is everlasting while the individual is insignificant and replaceable. Orwell uses Winston's dull, insipid life as a window into the lives of ordinary Party members
It was encouraged, rather enforced, to always be at certain places at certain times and to not wander off desired courses. Not wanting was not option. Dislike was not an option.
Through the mere existence of his job as a poem corrector, the Party establishes absolute control over self expression as they "allow" poetry to persist only if it meets their established criteria. In effect, after he slightly diverts from those guidelines by allowing the word "God" to remain in a poem he is arrested; the Party cannot and will not allow self expression in the simplest form.
The intent to abolish everything from literature down to something as primal and innate as an orgasm completely shatters any hope for self expression to thrive. If the party eliminates anything and everything that is not Big Brother, the members will without a doubt become no more than worshiping drones who will have become absolutely unequipped for freedom of expression.
...incapable of freely expressing themselves.
In the privacy shared during their secret meetings, Winston and Julia are able to notice certain qualities about each other which, if out in the open, would go unnoticed. Much like the forest, their first undocumented escape from under the radar, Winston and Julia are able to be wild, free, and natural with one another, which was impossible under the watchful eye of the Party.
Much like the coral and Julia's eyes, Orwell depicts the woman outside the window with color. He red arms are taken note of by Winston, and he calls her beautiful. The irregularity and individuality of these three are represented by color, in which they express themselves differently from the society Orwell places them in.
As this picture reflects, one can imagine Winston's spiritless , arid world that is cold and dreary while this bright, beautiful piece of coral juxtaposes Winston's life. Color is often a tool for expressing oneself; this coral not only symbolizes hope but represents the color of Winston's new love affair and his new vibrant, healthy body once he and Julia share their true feelings. If one does not express who he or she really is while concealing their spirit and emotions, they slowly die on the inside, like Winston.
A basic instrument to convey one's thoughts, emotions, personality is by verbalizing. Oceania does not want its citizens to be unique and have their own opinions for the "good" of the Party. Without words, the people cannot adequately express themselves,their ideas,their unhappiness. By eliminating words, Big Brother eliminates individuality forcing the people to accept their fate and not question the status quo.
Even when married, Winston did not feel the level of freedom he did when he was having the risque relationship with Julia. This connects to O'Brien's claim later in the book about abolishing the orgasm, even the small fraction of individual happiness and self expression he feels during intercourse would be stripped of him; yet, with Julia, he is completely free to express himself, physically and emotionally.
Winston mentions the color of Julia's eyes, relating back to the coral inside the paperweight and how he was so fond of it.
Everything Winston takes note of that is irregular is described with color.
It was only an 'opeless fancy.
It passed like an Ipril dye,
But a look an' a word an' the dreams they stirred!
They 'ave stolen my 'eart awye!
Winston finds her beauty in her strong arms, and her largeness, because she would be able to stand against the Party, and bear children that could represent the revolution. Even the red-armed prole's "self expressive" song is made by a lifeless object, there is no self expression, only spoon-fed beliefs.
Going to the community center was essential in Oceania because if absent, it was considered dangerous because it demonstrated individualism and eccentricity. It was assumed that party members where never alone except when sleeping and that they never had spare time. The spare time they did have, was to be spent doing a communal activity. This demonstrates that the government has so much control over its party that they even control what activity they can do during their free time and with who they can do it with.
"This was the second time in three weeks that he missed an evening at the Community Center: a rash act, since you could be certain that the number of your attendances at the Center were carefully checked" (81).
By including the room and how happy Winston and Julia were, George Orwell, distracts the reader from the world they are living in. Orwell convinces the reader into believing that their actually might be hope in the dystopia of Oceania. The room acts as a safe haven for them where they can practice freedom of expression . This was a huge transition from the beginning of the book where Winston was scared of writing in a journal away from the telescreen. They sincerely believe they are secure from Big Brother in the room. They feel like they can hide from Big Brother and live a joyous life; however, Orwell is then quick in reminding the reader that all hope will be diminished by Big Brother and it’s all seeing eyes when he includes troops crashing into the room, into their world, destroying any ounce of hope.
Although Winston is eventually broken down by the torture methods of the Ministry of Love, its is during his sessions with O'Brien that Winston finally verbally reveals his true thoughts and questions about the Party and Big Brother.
"No. I believe it. I know that you will fail. There is something in the universe- I don't know some spirit, some principle- that you will never overcome.