Nineteen Eighty Four is a dystopian novel written by George Orwell in 1948 and published in 1949. Nineteen Eighty Four is a social science fiction novel which gives the reader an idea on how the world will be like under a totalitarian form of government. The story takes place in Oceania and the main character in the novel is Winston Smith. The "1984" novel carries a warning to the society on where it is heading to. The paperback is divided into three different parts. Part one shows the main character and his conflicts with the world he lives in and how it works. Oceania is controlled by The Party which is divided into two sections; The Inner Party and The Outer Party. There is the Rich, the middle class and the Proles or the Proletariat which are the poor people. The second part talks of Winston’s work in the Ministry of Truth where he rewrites history books to inform people on what happened in the past. The third part is where Winston is rehabilitated and incarcerated and comes out obeying the Big Brother fully.
Orwell creates a government that is ruled by Big brother. The Party controls the past, present and future of the people in the society. Everything done by the people is monitored by Telescreens which sends and receives voice and video. Therefore, the people are constantly watched and every move they make and conversations are recorded. The people are under government surveillance and control which encroaches the rights of an individual (Orwell, 1954).
Winston Smith differs with the government’s ideology through the rule of Big Brother. The people’s rights are infringed due to the laws set whereby they are always under government’s surveillance. The people are controlled by a government with totalitarian power and they have no privacy as everything they do is recorded. Socialization in "1984" is prohibited and people in the society live with fear as they might end up being incarcerated. The people are controlled through fear and therefore, they follow all the set rules even if their rights are contravened (West, 1992). The people in 1984 are socially controlled thus are not allowed find love. Their love is only supposed to be for the Party. They are forced to conceal their love because the thought police are watching and will arrest them for acting differently not in conformity with the Party laws. When Winston found love, he keeps it a secret and could only communicate through a secret note so that they are not caught by the thought police and the punishment was execution. When Julia and Winston were caught they were brought to the Ministry of Love and tortured.
In "1984" novel, there is social class difference where there are three main class systems; the inner party, the Outer part and the Proles. There is social inequality in these classes. The Inner Party had a better quality life than any other citizen in Oceania and are allowed to have some privacy. The inner party governs, makes decisions and policies and is the upper class. This class has privileges compared to other classes. They are allowed to live in comfortable houses, turn on and off their telescreens and have good food and drinks. Moreover, they are allowed to use access automobiles and helicopters and are entitled to personal servants. There is the middle class which composes of educated people in the society. They are the people behind implementing the Party’s policies but have no say in the policies since they have strict rules to follow. They are constantly watched on telescreens and are encouraged to spy on each other in case of suspicious activities. They are never allowed to turn their telescreens off and are punished by the thought police if they are noticed to have their own ideas. They are under the orders of the Party and are obligated to abstain from sex unless it is for procreation purposes. The other social class is the proles. They live in poor conditions and are free as no one spies on them since they are not considered worth of anything. They are kept uneducated, and entertained with alcohol, sports, gambling and fabricated novels by the Party. In fact, the Thought Police at times wander around their neighborhood checking if they are displaying some intelligence in order to be taken away and vaporized. The proles are controlled by nothing more than animalistic instincts. They are considered harmless and not worth as "Nobody cares what the proles say"(Orwell, 1954). Consequently their ideas never really get to be heard or paid any attention to at least. There was a serious social class differences and inequality I the class systems in the “1984" novel.
This novel can be easily related back to our society where by the “1984" society is run by the Big Brother Party and the current society is run by the government. Social conflict best explains the "1984” novel as there are class systems which contrast each other. There is class conflict in "1984" as the upper class is entitled to many privileges compared to the middle class and the Proles. The government which is the Inner Party (upper class) is no longer by the people and for the people but subsists as its own unit, enslaving the very people who should be "free" under it by forcing them to be in conformity with the laws that infringe their rights. The government has enslaved the people and punishes them by torturing them or even death if the Party finds out they have gone against their totalitarian rules or have new thoughts.
Orwell’s novel opens the reader’s eyes to as what has gone wrong, what can go wrong, and what will go wrong when the government becomes all powerful. This novel also makes a bold statement about humanity and how they are socially controlled.
Orwell, G. (1954). Nineteen Eighty-Four. London: Penguin.
West, W. J. (1992). The Larger Evils – Nineteen Eighty-Four: the Truth Behind the Satire. Edinburgh: Canongate Press.