I recently read a very frightening and scary realistic book,"1984" by George Orwell. I should have read this book long ago.
A not so safe future
A dystopian society is a state in which the conditions of life are extremely cruel and inhumane, characterized by human misery, poverty, oppression, violence, disease and/or pollution. Some academic circles distinguish between anti-utopia and dystopia.
As in George Orwell's "1984," a dystopia does not pretend to be utopian, while an anti-utopia appears to be utopian or was intended to be so, but a fatal flaw or other factor has destroyed or twisted the intended utopian world or concept. This type of society is one in which the people are made to be in so much suffering they are forced to follow their current government blindly.
In George Orwell's novel "1984," because of the ruthless, senseless and flat out evil behavioral patterns of the government, Winston is forced to break away from his mundane conformity and attempt to rebel.
In the deep echoing caves of Winston's mind he is rebellious. His first act of rebellion is when he buys and writes within the diary. Winston knows the "atrocity" he is committing against his government as he buys and writes in the diary from the antique shop, "Whether he went on with the diary, or whether he did not go on with it, made no difference. The Thought Police would get him just the same. He had committed -- would still have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper-- the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever," as Winston knows it is hopeless and although he is being rebellious he still is bit nervous and sheepish due to the fear of being vaporized by the government.
Winston is dissatisfied with the inner mechanics of the government, and through the diary, he express his distain for the current situation,
"His eyes refocused on the page. He discovered that while he sat helplessly musing, he had also been writing, as though by automatic action. And it was no longer the same cramped awkward handwriting as before. His pen had slid voluptuously over the smooth paper, printing in large neat capitols."
What Winston writes in this section of the diary is "DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER" five times in a row. He is talking out his disdain for the government by ferociously writing that phrase down on the paper, despite the fact that if he is discovered he will be killed, showing Winston's rebellious nature due to the harsh conditions of the government.
In this novel, the government discourages sexual activity unless for the sole purpose of procreating. They wish to destroy the emotion of love altogether. So Winston yet again uses this as an excuse to rebel through a woman named Julia, who he originally believed was a member of the thought police; he was going to kill/rape her.
"You like doing this? I don't simply mean me; I mean the thing itself? 'I adore it.' That was above all what he wanted to hear. Not merely the love of one person, but the animal instinct, the simple undifferentiated desire: that was the force that would tear the Party to pieces."
Winston is, in a way, doing this out of pure spite of the party and showing that the human instinct, and dissatisfaction will be the thing that utterly obliterates the Party. Winston, in an earlier instance in the book is having sex out of pure instinct and just needs a release from the tension out of party. This is also a rebellion from the government because it is not against the law (since Oceania has no "laws"), but it is considered a sign of individuality so Winston spites the government yet again by sleeping with random prostitutes.
During the novel, Winston gets is discovered for committing Thoughtcrime. The Thought Police are the secret police of the novel "1984" whose job it is to uncover and punish thoughtcrime. The Thought Police use psychology and omnipresent surveillance to find and eliminate members of society who are capable of the mere thought of challenging ruling authority.
Once Winston is discovered and delivered to the Ministry of Love, he is subjected to many psychological and physical tortures in which to break his spirit and make him a drone of the party once more. O'Brian express this statement to Winston "We do not destroy the heretic because he resists us: so long as he resists us we never destroy him. We convert him, we capture his inner mind, we reshape him. We burn all evil and all illusion out of him; we bring him over to our side, not in appearance, but genuinely, heart and soul. We make him one of ourselves before we kill him. We make the brain perfect before we blow it out."
O'Brian is a prime example of the sheer lunacy of the ruling government. They make sure no sign of rebellion is left within a person. They squelch every hope -- force you to convert to their norms, force you to think like them. They enslave your brain and make you a mindless member of the party.
This is seen after many months and months of Winston's torture, "He was walking down the white-tiled corridor, with the feeling of walking in sunlight, and an armed guard at his back. The long-hoped-for bullet was entering his brain...But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother."
Here, although Winston attempted to rebel, he was inevitably doomed for failure for the party strength is too much and too absolute. In the end, government's cruelty and malice proved too much for him and his rebellion was crushed.
In the end, Winston's insurrection was shut down by the sheer psychological and physical torture the government was forcing down upon him. This was a government that was just begging for a revolution and it was very much needed. However, no one had the sense or the strength to defeat the Oceania machine of death and starvation.
If the book had continued, maybe at some point the proles would have risen up, but this was not the case, and in the end the book presented a sense of hopelessness and made it seem that the people would never be freed.
Christopher Damlo graduated from Detroit Lakes High School this spring.