George Orwell's 1984 vs. Brave New World Essay Examples & Outline
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George Orwell's 1984 vs. Brave New World
1984 is a novel by George Orwell that was published in 1949. It covers a totalitarian government. One of the main characters is the Big Brother. He appears a fictional character in this novel, a dictator in Oceania in which the ruling party exercises total power for its own benefits at the expense of the inhabitants (Orwell, 1992). In Oceania society, all the people are under total surveillance by those in authorities, mainly through the telescreens. The phrase “Big Brother is watching you”, constantly remind people that the government is in full control over them.
Big brother not only controls the knowledge of the citizens but also controls them physically. Monitors have been put to watch them in their homes and also everywhere they go. In every blank wall, signs are posted with a message, “big brother is watching you” (Orwell, 1992). The posters have enormous face gazing from the walls with eyes that look like following you everywhere you go. This instills fear of torture or arrest to citizens who always have to keep watch of what they do or say. The government invades privacy in their homes where children are taught to report their parents to police. They also have to be careful with any person they come across because they could be members of the “thought police”. This is a secret society of people hired by the government to monitor actions and thoughts of people who may be a threat.
In his book, “Brave New World,” Huxley combines his satirical skills with his scientific fascination to come up with a dystopian world, where a totalitarian government controls the society through science and technology. He explores the shortcomings of linking associating science and technology with politics and argues that this link or association is likely to reduce human individuality. Huxley, in my view, anticipated the occurrence of World War II and the cold war, associating this with technology. This is evident as Hitler assumed in Germany one year after the book and six years later the World War II broke. The cold war was initiated when the atomic bomb was dropped, thirteen years later. Therefore, Huxley uses his book to prophesize radical struggles and themes that dominated debate and life later in the 20th century. This would continue to dominate into the 21st century. In a way, the book attempts to create an imaginary society as Huxley attempts to come up with ideal conditions for the human race by eliminating evils of the world.
George Orwell 1984 and Brave New world both depicts dystopia in their novel where all the actions and behaviors of people by a state that is all-powerful. This state does this in order to preserve and maintain its own power and stability (Orwell, 1992). In “Brave New World,” the new world maintains power by the use of technological advances and interventions, which begin before and are used all the way to death. The new world manages to control its citizens by ensuring that they are superficially fulfilled and so happy that they forget about their personal freedom. This state control results into loss of emotions, dignity, values and morals, and eventual loss of humanity. This can be compared to George Orwell's book where the government under Big Brother attains its power by controlling actions, the mind and knowledge of the people. The people’s knowledge is controlled through the government rewriting all past documents in its favor (Orwell, 1992).
There lies differences with the two books; the first is that in the Brave New World, the author sees the modern society as one which moral relevance is not a priority. This, he lays the blame on technology and technological advances. For instance, the name of the founder of the automobile company, Ford Motor Company, is frequently replaced by “Lord,” a term used to refer to Christ. This is an indication of how the modern society is obsessed with technology to the extent of disregarding religion or equating technology to religion. The Director remarks “in Our Ford’s day,” games (Huxley, 2003). The author also views the modern society, in which the reproductive rights and sexual mores are rigidly controlled by state authorities.
In this society, approximately two thirds of the women technology is sterilized, and contraceptives use is required for the rest. This means that the modern generation is overly dependent on technology. Processes that are supposed to occur naturally such as reproduction are done by surgical removal of the female ova and artificial fertilization. It is also a society in which virtues and vices are always opposing. For instance, the desire that Lenina has to have sex with John conflicts with John’s desire for love. Those advocating end up losing or giving up like in John’s case. He gets insane and commits suicide due to the conflict between the values he hold and the cruel reality surrounding him. “…a swarm of visitors descends on John’s lighthouse, discovering that he has hanged himself (Huxley, 2003).
However, this is not the case in George Orwell's book where the focus is on the government. Big brother has control of everything; their money, food, job, clothes and their wellbeing. With time, the citizens feel that they cannot live without him. In the novel, the citizens are accustomed to speaking words that praise Big Brother. Several times, Winston finds people saying that Big Brother is incredible. The government keeps the people tired through daily exercises, lack of sleep and long working hours. The name big brother is inviting because big brothers are people one can depend on and look up to. The government gives false sense of protection.
The most powerful tool that is used by the Big Brother government is propaganda whereas in the Brave New World it is by the use of technology. Big Brother rules with a philosophy that subordinates the people to total surveillance. Big Brother's government has various ministries that operate contrary to their names. These are ministry of plenty, ministry of plenty and ministry of peace. The Ministry of Truth is responsible for historical revisionism and propaganda. Winston work for the Ministry of Truth. His role is rewriting articles of the past newspapers. This is done to change the historical data to make it congruent with Big Brother’s current party ideologies. He hates the party secretly and has a vision of rebelling against Big Brother.
Winston rewrites magazine articles, which refer to, things the government want forgotten. The citizens believe what the government tells them without evidence. Big brother ensure that citizens let out anger toward the government by allowing them to have “two minutes hate” where they express all anger. Citizens are not permitted to possess personal documents like diaries, books and photographs in order to prevent them from saving information. This enables the government to manipulate the present and past. Winston hides when writing his journal.
The most powerful tool that world state uses to control its citizens is technology. Therefore, Huxley uses this book to warn of the dangers that are linked with the state controlling new and powerful technologies. This can be illustrated; by the way, the state controls the reproduction process by the use of medical and technological intervention. This includes removing ovaries surgically, hypnopaedic conditioning and the Bokanovsky Process. The states, “…human beings no longer produce living offspring. Instead, surgically removed ovaries produce ova that are fertilized in artificial receptacles and incubated in specially designed bottles.” (Huxley, 2003) Another technological approach that the new world uses in controlling the society is through the creation of entertainment machines that are complicated which provide harmless leisure or encourage a high level of consumption.
These entertainment machines are technologically advances aimed at maintaining stability of the world state. There is a thin line between science and technology as the state talks of science and progress. This scientific progress forms the basis of developing or building technology. This technology is aimed at creating a happy, seamless and superficial world through the creation of the likes of “feelies.” However, the state limits or censors science in a way as it views science as the ultimate threat to the state’s stability. It is quite clear that scientific progress is not used to support itself, but it is used to facilitate technological control. This is the ultimate goal of the state in using the technology as confirmed by the state’s motto “Community, Identity, and Stability (Huxley, 2003)."
Orwell, G., & Symons, J. (1992). Nineteen eighty-four.
Huxley, A., & York, M. (2003). Brave new world. North Kingstown, RI: BBC Audiobooks America.