By Maryam Mahmood


Am I free? Yes, I am, that's what they say. Who? - The government - the government says we have all the rights to be free and to do what we want. OK fine, let me think. If I am free then why every day I have to do things which I don't want to, for example; I have to work every day to get my salary and I have to continue it till my 50's or 60's, I have to pay bills even if I don't have enough money, I have to follow the rules created by the government, I have to pay taxes, see " I HAVE TO". Yes, I have to. I have to do things which I don't want to do just to survive. I am not free, it seems like somebody is controlling us but who? The government? Yes the government, but not only, even the technology, have people become so addicted to technology that now their life seems to be impossible without technology.

When I was born, I was tagged by a code, a code which defined my each and everything. I need that code to do anything; to buy medicine, to take admission anywhere, it registers each and everything I do, this code has more importance than my name. Whenever I see this code I feel like an object, which is recognized only by a code. The technology is another form of control; because of it, people are losing their capacities.  The news channels manipulate us by showing what they want us to see not what we want to   see. Children are   addicted to games, adults are busy with their mobiles and men and women are busy making money. If all this is not a form of control then what is it? Someone in late 1900's warned us about this time, he through his novel represented a society in which we are living or in which the coming generation will live.

 “When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, I am going produce a work of art. I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing"             (George Orwell)

A human is a very complex being, at one side he fights for freedom but on the other hand, he also rules the others, whether in the form of parents limiting their child's freedom or the government imposing laws on their people. George Orwell is one of the best writers who exposed the truth of this so called freedom state and showed that no matter how hard we try we will never get freedom. That’s why I’ve decided to speak about Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four in my essay.

George Orwell was born in Bengal in 1903. He served in Britain's imperial police force in India by 1927 he resigned from the force and returned to Europe. Orwell also took part in Spanish civil war and fought against Fascists, Orwell wrote various novels, for example, Burmese Days, Down and out in Paris and London but his most famous novel is Nineteen Eighty-Four. Orwell died in 1950.

In this novel the world has only 3 super states: Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia which are in a continuous war over remaining territories, but later on we learnt that the war situation is created intentionally to keep people under control. The protagonist of the novel is a 39-year-old man called Winston Smith who lives in a state known as Airstrip One, in the super state of Oceania (a totalitarian state) ruled by an organization known as the Party, which is formed by the Outer party and the Inner party. Winston Smith belongs to the Outer party, where workers spend their time making sure that the party is working fine. Above the Outer party members, there are the Inner party members who enjoy the fruits of the power and their leader is the Big Brother, a mysterious man who only appears on the posters with the caption “big brother is watching you". Winston Smith works in the Ministry of truth and his job is to rewrite history. Smith, like all the other people, is brainwashed and is kept under control. In a world where there is no privacy, Smith falls in love with a woman called Julia. He tries to meet Julia in a private room hoping that there will be no telescreens but he is betrayed by O'Brien and founds a hidden telescreen in that room. Later on, Smith is brought to the notorious Room 101 where he is tortured and at the end, he is forced to accept his defeat and follow the party.

This is a science fiction story.  The novel's title is an inversion of the year in which it was written, namely 1948. The society described in the novel is dominated by the media propaganda which has a double function: to brainwash the population with the paradoxical slogans of "Newspeak" (‘War is Peace', 'Love is Hate' and 'Freedom is Slavery') and to modify reality according to the party's wishes.

Nineteen Eighty-Four and the contemporary time:

Although Nineteen Eighty-Four is a science fiction book it is highly prophetic. In this book, people are controlled in different ways and if we look closer we will find that these forms of control are present even in our world, for example:

1984: Newspeak.

Now: News Channels change the truth according to their interest. 

1984: Telescreens in every room. The programming runs 24 hours a day and the proles have no way of turning their screens off.

Now: Televisions in every room. The programming runs 24 hours a day and the proletarians rarely turn their screens off.

1984: Telescreens in all public and private places, keeping an eye on people.

Now: Surveillance cameras in public places and in most buildings, keeping an eye on people.

1984: Helicopters silently watch over the masses to prevent people from committing a thought crime, by spreading the terror of “being always watched".

Now: Helicopters silently watch over highways to prevent people from breaking traffic laws, by spreading the terror of “being always watched".

1984: The Ministry of Peace gives people the impression that "things are getting better".

Now: The Department of Defense gives people the impression that "things are getting better".

1984: There is always war. If peace is made with one country, war is claimed on another nation.

Now: There is always war. If peace is made with one country, war is claimed (or threatened) by another nation.

1984: Thought police controls people’s mind.

Now: The latest research says that soon it will be possible to control people's mind by using satellites.

Commenting on 1984, Orwell wrote: "I do not believe that the kind of society I describe necessarily will arrive, but I believe that something resembling it could arrive"

So are we living in Nineteen Eighty-Four?


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