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In the dystopian novel 1984, George Orwell portrays a society where betrayal is not only acceptable, but it is actively encouraged through the use of psychological manipulation, which demonstrates the weakness of the individual to resist oppression.
The party has built the society in such a way that when Parson is turned in by his daughter to the Thought Police he reacts with “sort of a doleful pride” (233). Parson is an example of the unthinking masses of the society; he has been oppressed for so long his ability for individual thought has been greatly diminished.
He doesn’t even question if he truly committed treason against Big Brother, he does not take into consideration that his seven year old daughter may be lying. Parsons doesn’t show any anger toward his daughter that betrayed him, his response is the exact opposite he is proud that his daughter is doing what is best for the party. The party’s oppression of the individual begins at birth, through methodical thought conditioning.
The party transforms the children of the society into model citizens that are willing to betray their own flesh and blood.
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Through the party’s use of psychological manipulation the framework of the society urges its citizens to pursue the enemies of Big Brother. This further cements the Party’s power. The party dehumanizes them so that their inhibitions are only showing loyalty to the party. Through the domination of thought the party ensures that its citizens are completely loyal to Big Brother.
The telescreen is a tool for the party; the citizens of Oceania live in constant fear of being monitored by the screens that they end up betraying their thoughts through their body language. “The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look, a habit of muttering to yourself-anything that carried with the suggestion of abnormality”(79).
Oceania’s citizens don’t know when they are being watched, the byproduct of this is the citizens policing themselves, giving the Thought Police the ability to completely control them. The fear produced by the telescreens lead the people expose themselves to the eyes of the party, which ultimately leads them to betray themselves .The party overwhelms the minds capacity by a constant stream of propaganda coming out of the telescreen at all hours of the day allowing the party to completely dominate the minds of the people, taking away the potential of individual thought.
Betrayal in the society George Orwell created in 1984 was expected. Through the domination of the individual thought, and their inability to resist that oppression, betrayal of one’s comrades was only natural. Individual thought was so greatly overshadowed by the party’s constant stream of propaganda in the novel that there was no place for it in the minds of the citizens. The psychological manipulation that the party inflicted on its citizens everyday made it impossible for the individual to resist oppression.
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