Fear over Love in 1984
Over Love Discipline, control, and authority are required for a government to thrive and in order to obtain these attributes it’s important to instill fear into the citizens. In 1984, a dystopian novel by George Orwell, the inner party has absolute control over the society and they use the fear of punishment to manipulate their people. As the novel progresses, Winston, the main character, starts to rebel, but because of the control and power that the party has obtained, they are able to transform his rebellious act, by using his biggest fear against him.
Mahatma Gandhi states that, “Power based on love is a thousand times more affective and permanent than one derived from fear. ” Gandhi’s quote contradicts the primary source of power in 1984 is fear. According to the dystopian novel, power is present through the fear of punishment and acts of love, but evidently, the fear of punishment turns out to be the dominant power. Fear is the main source of power for the party and they achieve it through the use of propaganda and manipulation. They adopt Big Brother as a tool to implant terror into the people.
Residents know that if Big Brother caught them performing unorthodox acts, they would be in danger. The omnipresent government warns its inhabitants through propaganda, which reads, “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU” (2). The fact that Big Brother was watching them results in most Oceania residents to obey the standards of the society, which causes people to monitor themselves and make sure the acts they engage in is accepted by the obligations of the party. Through fear the party was able to manipulate its residents.
Anxiety allows the party to trick the people into believing what isn’t true like, “War is peace, Freedom is slavery, Ignorance is strength” (4). Surprisingly, not one questions the slogan of the party. They are deceived into submitting the inaccuracies of the party’s beliefs. Fear takes over their conscious and disallows them to rebel, which creates loyalty to the party. Although fear is more powerful than the acts of love, love also has its effects on power. Love cannot be as effective as fear of punishment, but it can be more legitimate.
From a young age, the children of the society were taught to be loyal and taught to love the party, which becomes the norm of the society. They do not teach them out of fear, but through what is orthodox. Children’s love towards the party reaches to an extent to where they are used as surveillance over their own parents. Parsons states, “’’Down with Big Brother! ’ Yes, I said that! Said it over and over again, it seems…It was my little daughter…she listened at the keyhole. Heard what I was saying, and nipped off to the patrols the very next day” (233).
Her love for the party is strong to an extent to where she reports her own father, not from fear of being punished but by her love towards the party. Parsons daughter knows the law has to be obeyed. In addition to that Parsons isn’t mad, rather he knows it was the right move to do in terms of the party’s obligations. Parsons love towards the party blinded him from what was humanely right, but he wants the party to prosper despite the punishment he was to receive. In addition, throughout the novel, the party experiences success due to the fear instilled within the people resulting in the progress of the party.
Ultimately in 1984, fear destroys love, as evidenced by Winston’s betrayal of his lover, Julia. The betrayal occurs when Winston is being tortured with rats, he saw, “the wire door was a couple of hand spans from his face. The rats knew what was coming now. One of them was leaping up and down…’Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don’t care what you do to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the bones. Not me! Julia! Not me! ’” (286). In confrontation with the rats, Winston betrays Julia and the promise between them breaks within matters of seconds, just by presenting Winston the rats.
In addition, when the government vaporizes a rebel, they make sure the rebel’s ideas are converted to that of loyalty and love towards the party. Utilizing their biggest fear against them, the society is capable of manipulating its people to be loyal and obedient. After presenting Winston with his biggest fear of rats, he starts to fully obey the party and later on, after the torture, he starts to “[Love] Big Brother” (297). Thus proving that the power of fear is more efficient than the power of love. Furthermore in this dystopian society, the idea that love is more effective than fear is disproven.
Therefore love can be effective, but ultimately not as affective as fear in 1984. Fear of punishment stops one or at least makes one think about the consequences of rebellion. When one fears a society they fear its punishment and because of that they respect its laws and try not to break them. Indirectly in society today, one fears to break the laws because of it’s punishment and so they become loyal to the government in order not to face the charges. After all, without the fear of the government, there will be chaos.