Monday, 7 November 2016

Orwell Intended To Scare Us

The way Orwell described Oceania throughout the novel was, displeasing, to say the least. When Winston Smith the protagonist of the story looked around London, this is what he saw; “And the bombed sites where the plaster dust swirled in the air and the willow herb straggled over the heaps of rubble; and the places where the bombs had cleared a larger patch and there had sprung up sordid colonies of wooden dwellings like chicken houses?” (Orwell, 3) Who would voluntarily want to live someplace like this? No one. That is what Orwell wanted us to think. Before Orwell published 1984 he wrote a letter; to a Mr. Noel Willmett explaining exactly why Orwell felt the need to write such a novel which embodied totalitarianism regimes. “Everywhere the world movement seems to be in the direction of centralised economies which can be made to ‘work’ in an economic sense but which are not democratically organised and which tend to establish a caste system” (Letter) Orwell wanted to warn the human population as a whole, on what precisely might happen if we continue down the road we are currently on. As Mr.Willmett wrote to Orwell asking “whether totalitarianism, leader-worship etc. are really on the up-grade and instance the fact that they are not apparently growing in this country and the USA.” (Letter) Orwell responded with; “As to the comparative immunity of Britain and the USA. Whatever the pacifists etc. may say, we have not gone totalitarian yet and this is a very hopeful symptom” (Letter) Orwell did have faith in the UK and US, but not complete faith that totalitarianism soon wouldn’t take over these global superpowers. “ they haven’t known defeat or severe suffering,” (Letter) The fact that these two countries have always been prosperous may be their downfall. Now think back to where 1984 takes place, in London! Coincidence I think not. “This, he thought with a sort of vague distaste—this was London, chief city of Airstrip One, itself the third most populous of the provinces of Oceania” (Orwell, 2) Orwell purposely set the book in the UK as it is a reminder to everyone around the world that has ever read 1984. That the best and most thriving countries always have a chance of falling. We must be ready. No one wants to live their life fearing their children or never having any privacy even if your head. “Always the eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake, working or eating, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or in bed—no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimeters inside your skull.” (Orwell, 18) This quote embodies the sole purpose of Geroge Orwell writing his now-iconic novel; he wanted to scare us straight. During the time Orwell was writing his book the world was in complete disarray. World War two was entering its third year, Hitler was still on the rise, the shadow of Stalin was slowly descending on Russia. The world needed to respond, pronto.
Luckily we did just that; it’s 2016 now and although it looks like the end of the world (especially for Americans) we did not succumb to what Orwell predicted our current year would be. Orwell warned us, and we- the human race responded.

Dean, Mike, and George Orwell. 1984. N.p.: Amazing Reads, 2014. Print.

Orwell, George. "George Orwell’s Letter on Why He Wrote ‘1984’." The Daily Beast. Newsweek/Daily Beast, 21 Aug. 13. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.