Nineteen Eighty Four

1 January 2017

Orwell has depicted technology in 1984. In George Orwell’s novel ‘nineteen eighty four’ Winston and his fellow party members are constantly observed by an array of party technologies designed to spy on the citizens of Oceania and are also used to spread propaganda and enforce obedience among the people. These technological weapons are one of the main influences in the party’s totalitarian rule. The Way that Orwell depicts the use of technology and the way that it has been abused is crucial in understanding Winston’s dystopic world.

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One of the main points to consider when the author introduces the reader to the array of party machines is that Orwell is demonstrating the potency of the misuse of technological advancement. This is evident in the novel as Winston is constantly in fear of the inescapable extension of the party’s rule, which reaches into every citizens home and life, creating paranoia and distrust, this distrust This allows the party to further increase their hold on the masses as they are now all-seeing and all-hearing, unlike previous dictatorial groups who could not reach every citizen in their homes at all times.

Another dimension to Orwell’s use of technology is that Winston never knew when he was actually being observed, which has allowed the Party to take advantage of the human psyche and constantly play on Winston’s paranoia. The most obvious indication of observation is the Telescreen, however Winston knows that there could be hidden cameras, microphones or any other number of much subtler forms of observation. This forces him to constantly guard himself even when he may be alone. This vigilance would eventually the citizens out and only makes them more obedient to the wishes of the party.

What could be one of the most interesting abuses of modern technology in George Orwell’s ‘1984’ however would be the party’s invention of artsem or as it is more commonly called ‘IVF’. When Orwell mentioned this in the novel he described the fact that the party wishes to eliminate one of the strongest human traits, pleasure. By taking all pleasure out of the sexual act the party continues to separate ties between the family unit, driving apart couples while still creating children. For many readers of the novel when it was first released this was shocking and drove home Orwell’s demonstration of technological abuse.

Although George Orwell has created the interesting and unusual dystopic world of Oceania and it is a work of fiction, his prophetic commentary on the use or misuse of technology is startlingly accurate when compared to the modern world. Every minute we benefit from transportation, education and up-to-the-minute communication, and while this technology is being used for the benefit of society at the moment, The modern-day reader cant help but wonder what would happen if this powerful infrastructure was used against all citizens for malicious purposes.

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