Totalitarianism in George Orwell’s 1984
An in-depth review of George Orwell’s novel, `1984`, and its implications for totalitarianism.
This paper examines the prophetic literary work `1984`, by George Orwell. The paper outlines Orwell’s warning that if we allow ourselves and our society to psychologically surrender our own personal thoughts, feelings, values and memories, we will inevitably become vulnerable to totalitarian governments. Totalitarianism is discussed and the writer provides examples of other literary works which dealt with anti-utopian societies.
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever. This is the future that George Orwell offers us in his prophetic novel, 1984. He has created an anti-utopian totalitarian state in which there are no freedoms, no liberties, and no rights. It is the complete opposite of what western societies have strived for decades to escape from and prevent. Yet, we still manage to fall into the trap of totalitarianism from time to time. Thus Orwell’s novel and serve as a warning to us, and teach us what we need to be conscious of in order to avoid falling completely into the hands of totalitarian rulers. Orwell identifies three important factors necessary for totalitarianism to be successful: War, advanced technology, and a psychological surrender of individuals. The first two, war and technology, are both already very prevalent in our society. The third is what safeguards democracy, freedom, and individualism. Totalitarianism is not possible if it does not control the psychological consciousness of the people it attempts to rule. Therefore, George Orwell’s most relevant warning in his novel, 1984, is that if we allow ourselves and our society to psychologically surrender our own personal thoughts, feelings, values and memories, we will inevitably become vulnerable to totalitarian governments.