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Andrew Ye English Mr. WilliamsOctober 26, 2018 Loss Of Humanity In George Orwell’s 1984 In George Orwell’s 1984, it discusses the loss of humanity when individuality and free speech is suppressed. The totalitarian government eliminates any thought or action that is deemed against the party through propaganda, torture, and terror. Throughout the book, Winston tries to keep his humanity by keeping his own diary, having a romantic relationship with Julia, and going against the party’s version of history. After Winston is caught by O’Brien, the seven years of torture eliminates Winston’s ability to think against the party.
Before Winston wanted to die hating the party, but by the end of the book he is no longer capable of it. In room 101, in order to save himself from rats, he betrays Julia and relinquishes his own morality and self respect. George Orwell uses Winston and Julia to show the dangers of dehumanization through the suppression of different aspects of human characteristics.
Winston writes in his diary to protect his personal memories and to think independently in order protect his freedom of speech. Recording his own thoughts is an offense punishable by death, or at least by twenty-five years in a forced labor camp. (7). The telescreens in every room in Oceania are a reminder that citizens are constantly being monitored. The telescreens, the thought police, and even children like Parson’s kids will turn you over to the party. He recognizes that to mark the paper was a decisive act (7). The pen Winston uses becomes an archaic instrument of the past (7) and becomes of a symbol of the history before the party.
Winston also wants to protect the collective history. He works for the Ministry of Truth, the organization that rewrites history with the party’s propaganda. In Oceania the slogan of the party is War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. (4). It requires its citizens to practice doublethink, which is believing two contradictory ideas to be true at the same time. By abolishing its citizens ability to think independently, they are taking away their humanity. Winston has a romantic relationship with Julia as an act of rebellion against the party and to protect the humanity in him because in Oceania, the sole purpose of marriage is to produce children for the party. Julia was not a typical women in Oceania’s society. She was independent, rebellious, and lustful. Although she was in a relationship with Winston, she doesn’t believe that party can be demolished through organized resistance and chooses to rebel personally. She realized any kind of organised revolt against the Party, which was bound to be a failure, struck her as stupid. (134) and that you should broke the rules as best as you could (134). Julia influences Winston in a major way. She brings out a tremendous spirit in Winston. By breaking the rules and having a sexual relationship together, they are having freedom of expression and protecting their humanity and nature. When Winston was in room 101, after the torture by O’Brien, he shows his love for Julia. O’Brien states We have beaten you, Winston. We have broken you up. You have seen what your body is like. Your mind is in the same state. I do not think there can be much pride left in you. You have kicked and flogged and insulted, you have screamed with pain, you have rolled on the floor in your own blood and vomit. You have whimpered for mercy, you have betrayed everybody and everything. Can you think of a single degradation that has not happened to you? (283). He still claims to have one thing left in his possession. He says that I have not betrayed Julia (283). The most prominent example of dehumanization in 1984 is when O’Brien tells Winston he will be broken by the party. Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty, and then we shall fill you with ourselves.” (265). During Winston’s interrogation and torture, the theme of independence comes up in his conversation with O’Brien. Winston says that he is a man and because he is a man, O’Brien cannot tell him what to think. O’Brien says that if he is a man then he must be the last man on Earth. Winston wants to protect the truth and say that 2+2=4. He also wants to believe the accuracy of his memories, both individually and collectively. During the torture O’Brien states that Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. (258). By making Winston believe that 2+2=5, the state is promoting false doctrines that require its citizens to believe. The book promotes the idea that the party controls the universe because the universe exists in the mind. The party controls the mind then everything is controllable. O’Brien then asks Winston why the party wants power. Winston responds by saying the party seeks power for the good of the people. O’Brien shocks Winston and say that the party seeks power because of power’s sake. The future as O’Brien imagines is A boot stamping on a human face – forever. (277). By seeking absolute over all individuals, the party wants to merge the individual humanity of people into the identity of the party. After the torture by O’Brien and betraying Julia in the Ministry of Love, Winston becomes a hollow shell of the man he used to be. After betraying Julia to save himself from rats, Winston becomes an alcoholic. He is now in charge of editing the Eleventh edition of the newspeak dictionary. In the Chestnut Tree Cafe he drinks gin and Almost unconsciously he traced his fingers in the dust on the table: 2+2=5. (300)The telescreen is announcing a tremendous military victory in Africa. He looks up at a picture of big brother. He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark mustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother. (308). The ending symbolizes Winston’s complete psychological control by the party. The humanity in him have all disappeared. In 1984 it sends a warning to governments seeking power for power sake and totalitarian control over its citizens. The book was partly based on Stalin’s Soviet Union. Josef Stalin’s government also required its citizens to promote the party over the individual, glorifying their dictator, requiring absolute loyalty to the regime, and resorting to violence whenever disloyalty was suspected amongst its citizens. Both Stalin and Big Brother’s regime vilified their enemies through widespread propaganda. The thought police and the children spies were parallel to the Gestapo and the youth league which encouraged young people to report disloyalty among family members. The book is written as a warning to future generations about the dangers of dehumanization through repression of independent thinking, sexual freedom, and merging the individual humanity to a party. 1984 warns of a dystopia where a totalitarian government has control over all humanity in society. Another parallel to real life is the society in North Korea. The Kim dynasty has a cult of personality. The Kim family is worshipped like Big Brother. They use concentration camps to keep their citizens in line. They are mostly isolated from the world and they are not allowed to think independently. The term Big Brother have come to describe technological advancement used to record behavior such as video cameras in streets, and government monitoring of phone and internet communications. The term Orwellian have also come to describe things happening in the real world that is similar to developments in 1984. The novel should be seen as a benchmark of where society is going and how we can prevent a government like the party from occuring in the real world.
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