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Douglas Cruz

March 08, 2017

Imagine living in a world where your every move is being watched and recorded,

where everything you do is controlled by the government and you don’t have the

freedom of anything, that’s the world Winston Smith lived in. 1984 is a book written by

George Orwell. The story takes place in 1984 in the oppressive totalitarian state of

Oceania. Winston Smith works as a clerk in the Ministry of Truth, where his job is to

rewrite historical documents and erase people from existence so the files match the

constant changing party line. Winston starts to write in a secret diary despite the fact

that Big Brother is watching over everyone at all times by way of telescreens. Winston

silently suffers ,and he tries to comprehend his oppression, which forbids individual

human behaviors such as free thinking and sex. He meets Julia, who works for the

Ministry of Truth, and they engage in a sexual love affair. Winston and Julia’s love affair

is discovered, and they are interrogated and tortured by Winston's former friend O'Brien.

At the end of the book, Winston finally says he loves the party. This novel is relevant to

readers in 2017 because there are still many different ways that the government spies

on people in today’s society whether it’s through our smartphones and televisions,

placing strict laws on the people of a community, oppressive dictators or manipulative

propaganda all around the world, the events of 1984 are still relevant.

Orwell's argument is that a society ruled by one person while the rest of the

people are oppressed will lead to a horrible world. An example of this in 1984 is when
Orwell writes on page 80, “In the end the Party would announce that two and two made

five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim

sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of

experience, but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their

philosophy.” This supports my claim because it shows that all information, including

history, is controlled by the government. By controlling the past, the government

controls the present; this means the government was free to change what they wanted

without being questioned because what they said ruled and there was no doubt about it.

There was no freedom because it was destroyed by the government spying, through

Newspeak, and through the idea of "Thoughtcrime." and the introduction of Junior

Spies, which were similar to what the chinese did during the period of WW2 when they

used children to denounce their parents as spies. Another piece of evidence which

proves this is Orwell's argument is when he writes on page 34, “If all others accepted

the lie which is what the party imposed...then the lie passed into history and became

truth. ‘Who controls the past... Controls the future, Who controls the present controls the

past” This evidence supports my claim because all the information being fed to the

public, including Propaganda, is used to control them, the same way Hitler did with Nazi

Germany. Forever rewriting the past to make themselves seem like the good guys was

what the government needed to do and so they did and if Big Brother said it, it had to be

true in the present time and if it was true in the present, it’d be true forever.

Orwell makes this argument because he wants to show people the damage a

totalitarian leadership would cause in the future in the United States or in any country.
Orwell based his story off of the powers of Soviet and German regimes of World War 2,

and how those countries were controlled by Stalin and Hitler. According to the text and

video that we watched about Hitler we saw that he rose to power through manipulation

of the president of Germany, he became chancellor and then later influenced the public

and convinced them to allow him to be both the president and chancellor. Hitler rose to

extreme power, taking major control of people's lives through his words and actions.

Hitler used his high position of power to control a country ,and he showed how a

totalitarian society could not cause any positivity. This evidence supports my claim

because it shows how Orwell was using the current events of his time to make his story

as realistic as possible. Orwell knew if he wrote a story where he could frighten civilians

and show them what a totalitaristic society would look like in the future, people would

not want to support those ideas. Writing a story where the government controls every

single aspect of your life was the best way to show people that wasn’t what they wanted

later on in life.

Orwell's argument is relevant today because in societies where people are ruled

by dictators and oppressors the living conditions are poor, also, in many countries

citizens are spied on through modern technology. One of Orwell's intents were to show

how the party spied on the people of Oceania through telescreens, this connects to

modern society because people such as Edward Snowden have revealed that secret

agencies of the U.S. government were using phone companies to spy on smartphone

users. From the words of Snowden, “I don't want to live in a world where everything I

say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity and love or
friendship is recorded.” This shows that a government that spies on people loses the

trust of its civilians, Snowden was one of those people. According to

edwardsnowden.com, “service providers – including Google, Apple, Microsoft,

Facebook, YouTube, PalTalk, AOL and Yahoo – allowed the NSA to collect

communications data for analysis. Also part of SSO are the programs which tap

fibre-optic cables around the world.” This small portion of the article taps on the fact that

the government purposefully watches over people exactly how Orwell showed that the

party of Oceana used telescreens to watch civilians every day. Furthermore, it was

discovered that Modern day smart TV’s could spy on Americans all across the United

States. According to Wikileaks.org and NYtimes.com, Vault 7/Year Zero was released

online and it contained millions of documents showing how the C.I.A. is tapping into

phones, and smart tv's to listen to Americans. According to Wikileaks.org, “ ‘Year Zero’

introduces the scope and direction of the CIA's global covert hacking program, its

malware arsenal and dozens of ‘zero day’ weaponized exploits against a wide range of

U.S. and European company products, include Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and

Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert

microphones.” Apart from spying on civilians, in today’s society there are dictators, the

most obvious being Kim Jong-Un of North Korea; This country leads a one party state

government, North Korea leads an extremely totalitarian society which oppresses the

common freedoms and liberties we have in the United States. Just like The Party and

Big Brother in 1984, whatever Kim Jong-Un says is what goes and there is nobody who

can rebel and if someone does then there will be horrendous consequences. According
to Foxnews.com, “North Korea's crackpot dictator Kim Jong-un has banned his people

from using sarcasm in their everyday conversations in a fresh crackdown on criticism of

his leadership.” This proves that just how The Party banned civilians from having

relationships and freedom of speech, the leaders of a modern country limit the amount

of freedom of speech the people of that country can have, and this is what Orwell was

trying to warn us about.

My claim and the texts connect to modern society today because they show us that a

country controlled only by one government and just the government can be a

horrendous mess. An example would be World War 2 and all the deaths that were

caused. The leaders of countries such as: Germany, Russia, Italy, China, were all

totalitarian countries that could relate to Oceania because they were controlled by one

leader and whatever that leader said was what was true and justified and shouldn’t be

judged upon and if you did retaliate you were killed. In the world today these topics are

relevant with the ways our current president is dealing with situations. He insults people

who are not “White” and labels everything he opposes as “WRONG” similar to what the

party would say about rebellious thoughts or even the actual truth about history. On top

of this, events such as Edward Snowden revealing government files proves that we are

all being tracked and watched by people in higher positions.Today it is up to us to do

what is morally right and stand up against any oppressions we currently see happening

or ones that are arising, we must also try and uncover the truth of the government and
our invasion of privacy and speak up just as Edward Snowden and many unidentified

people in the hacker community have done.

Works Cited

"North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un Bans Sarcasm." ​Fox News​. FOX News Network.

Web. 10 Mar. 2017.

Orwell, George, and Erich Fromm. ​1984: A Novel​. NY, NY: Signet Classics, 2015. Print.

Shane, Scott, Mark Mazzetti, and Matthew Rosenberg. "WikiLeaks Releases Trove of

Alleged C.I.A. Hacking Documents." ​The New York Times​. The New York Times,

07 Mar. 2017. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.

"Submit Documents to WikiLeaks." ​Vault7 - Home​. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.

"Surveillance Programs." ​Surveillance Programs | Courage Snowden​. Web. 10 Mar.

2017.

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