George Orwell’s science fiction novel 1984, describes the events surrounding a man living in a dystopian society. Through the themes of fear and betrayal Orwell conveys his hatred of totalitarianism and by doing so tries to warn the world about the dangers such a state. Orwell is also satirising totalitarian states that actually existed at the time he wrote 1984, such as Stalin’s Communist Russia and Hitler’s Nazi Germany.
The books follow the life of a man named Winston Smith, who is living under the rule of a totalitarian government of the future; the Party. As the book unfolds we see him go from contemplation of rebellion, through to taking action on this, as he others with the same goal (most notably a young woman named Julia), and finally to his capture by the state for his treasonable behaviour.
Orwell brings our attention to the horrors of totalitarianism right at the beginning of the book by establishing the claustrophobic nature of Winston’s dystopian world. Orwell has created a world in which technology is a vital element of government control; the main factor of this being the constant observation of the people by the omnipresent telescreens, which observe every action of every individual living in Oceania;
“the instrument (the telescreen it was called) could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting them off completely”
Orwell further intensifies the book’s claustrophobic setting by drawing our attention to the chilling propaganda posters used by the party, that are near constantly in Winston’s view, and are used as a continued reminder of his and everyone else’s surveillance by the state;
“Big Brother is watching you”
Orwell uses third person narrative from Winston’s point of view to allow the reader to feel Winston’s sense of paranoia and to help emphasise how alone and imprisoned those living under a totalitarian state feel. The reason that they feel fear and...