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Marxist lens of George Orwell's 1984

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Justin Shinn

on 20 March 2015

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Transcript of Marxist lens of George Orwell's 1984

So, we must ask ourselves what role does power, money, or class play?
...Views society based on the economic and cultural theory of philosopher and economist, Karl Marx. Marxism assumes that each society is made up of a set of concepts, beliefs, and values influenced by ECONOMIC/ CLASS STRUCTURES, and POWER.
Marxism Criticism
Synopsis of
1984
After The Atomic War the world is divided into three states. London is a city in Oceania, ruled by a party who has total control over all its citizens. Winston Smith is in the department that rewrites history. One day he commits the crime of falling in love with Julia. They try to escape Big Brother's listening and viewing devices that survey over everything , but of course, nobody can really escape...

Historical Inspiration
By: Justin Shinn
1st period

Marxist lens of George Orwell's
1984

Wondered what it would be like to live in a tyrannical government, like North Korea?
However, the government in Orwell's
1984
resembles the actual dictatorship of North Korea; society's structure in 1984 is largely based upon power and economic structure.
probably doesnt resemble this...
The Brotherhood is clearly analogous to many regimes of our historical past, especially Russian governments with a Communist philosophy. Most of these regimes focused on the importance of POWER and complete hegemony over citizens lives.
In 1984, the Brotherhood is determined to gain power by having influence in every aspect of society and people's lives, whether that is by changing history, torturing others, dictating economic status, and committing other inhumane actions. Even our classrooms would be under the omnipresent control of a close-minded government.
Firchow's critical analysis
"much of the Brotherhood's personality cult was devoted to Stalin, with the glaring, larger-than life depictions of the heavily mustachioed face of Big Brother being virtually omnipresent"
"Orwell places many, if not most, of the important historical and political events of the Soviet period"

It is seamless to analyze 1984 through the Marxist lens as many of its inspirations were based off Stalin's Communist regime, which was largely dervied from Karl Marx's theory.
How the Brotherhood stays in power...
The government depends on the stabilization of politics to control the existing hierarchy by stripping any types of power from the people.
This ambition for power is a purely selfish motive that affects society as a whole.
Deutscher's Marxist analysis
"But inequality and poverty are maintained in order to keep Big Brother in power"
"The party seeks power entirely for its own sake...The object of power is power"
Desperate for more and more power, the Brotherhood will even put its citizens through arduous conditions like poverty. The sole purpose of this government is power; this selfish ambition negatively affects society.
"Historically, the most terrible things- war, genocide, and slavery- have resulted not from disobedience, but from obedience."
-Howard Zinn
The Brotherhood completes its objectives of power by forcing its citizens to conform to one standard and fabricated belief.
Stewarts Critical Analysis..
" The Party does not even consider any real exchange of ideas with an alternative perspective. Instead, it transforms-by force when necessary-the points of view of its citizens...No alternatives at all can lawfully, or accordingly to the Party, even logically exist."
"
"While Winston wishes to remember the past and see the present as complexly as possible in order to affect the future, the Party wants simply to imprint its version of the past, present, and future into the minds of its citizens and then to erase the fact of this imprinting"
Further enhancing the concept of how power dictates the role of
1984
's society, the Brotherhood is willing to even distort and manipulate its citizens to tighten its grip of POWER.
Conclusion
.
By analyzing 1984 through the Marxist lens, it is clear the influence of power has on society. Furthermore, the Brotherhood's extent to enhance its power by conditioning its citizens to think uniformally reveals an important part of life. Breaking the spirits of Winston (the most stoic and passionate character of the book but is considered to be weird by the government standard), the Brotherhood creates a society of the same fabricated citizens, making a man full of passion feel like an outsider.
It is fine to be different, embrace the uniqueness, raise questions, rebel societies' norms. And in reality, maybe you aren't the weird one, and just like Winston, it is society that is weird for placing restrictions on you.
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