Sometimes perfection can be perfect hell.” Utopia: the seemingly perfect world, one that combines happiness and honesty with purity, equality and peace. However, in George Orwell’s novel, 1984 and The Truman Show, readers and viewers are presented with a clever contradiction, dystopia. In both 1984 and The Truman Show, there are dystopia. Both the novel and the film have a “controller”, an all-powerful force who controls every aspect of the dystopia. In 1984, this dystopia is The Party, the force who will not even let its citizen’s have freedom of thought. In The Truman Show, the force is Christof, a man who makes an outwardly perfect world where one man is separated from the outside world completely. No hope lies in a world with any freedom. The dystopia presented in 1984 is one that has no freedom whatsoever. The Party is the force that controls everything, similar to The Truman Show, where a man, Christof, creates the “perfect” world.
This world contains one helpless man, Truman, who is trapped in a world where nothing is real. The utopian society in The Truman Show presents many good things, such as a comfortable lifestyle, happiness and no war. However, Truman is separated from the outside world, and the entire outside world is watching his every move on television all day. There is no sense of “real”; no real relationships, no privacy, and no trust, all of which Truman is blindly unaware of. However, in 1984, Winston experiences constant discomfort, much fear and suffering, low living standards and no freedom. A utopian world seems pleasant to the viewers of the Truman Show because they don’t know of any true suffering, whereas Winston has vague memories of another life which, in comparison to his constant suffering, seems amazing. All Winston truly knows is war and chaos, whereas all Truman truly knows is peace, happiness, and comfort.
Orwell’s 1984 and The Truman Show are similar in some aspects, one being that neither the citizen’s of 1984 and Truman can never escape from their dystopias. Winston is a strong headed man who is totally against The Party, and is transformed, brainwashed and eventually lead into believing false concepts, loving the thing that he once despised most. Truman, who is truly trapped inside his “utopia”, cannot find an escape until he faces his fear of the ocean and finally escapes through the exit door. The creators of these worlds, The Party and Christof possess extremely similar motives. Both are power hungry, keeping constant control of their subjects.
They both give the idea of perfection, though both worlds are far from perfect. Though both Christof and The Party aim to create an all-powerful everlasting regime, there are a few differences in the way that they operate. Christof’s alternative motives are to entertain the world with the first “real” reality show, make money and to give the world the idea of perfection. The Party aims to reap the world of freedom, create havoc, destruction and war, and to instill fear in everybody, brainwashing and torturing those who do not conform. However, both Christof and The Party aim to keep their societies contained.
“Christof’ – Interesting name, sounds like ‘Christ Of…’. Why might this be interesting to write about? Is Christof really Christ-like? How? Why?
‘Truman’ – is he ‘Truly’ a ‘Man’? Just a man? ‘Everyman’? Or any individual?
What historical concepts was Orwell drawing on for the creation of ‘The Party’ and ‘Big Brother’? Hint: you may find the same thing in Animal Farm.
Is the Utopia that the Truman Show presents really a Dystopia in disguise? What do we really call paradise? Is it not a Utopia any more when we find out we’ve been lied to? Is any place that we are happy a Utopia? Can ignorance create its own Utopias?