Thursday, September 26, 2013

Connecting Two Dystopian Futures to Our Own


When discussing the topic of censorship by government in the future, one would most likely reference the two novels 1984 by George Orwell and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Both of these novels were written at about the same time and examine similar topics. They also share many common themes and even have similarities between the writing styles. It is much easier to compare these two novels than it is to contrast them. These two books express each authors' fear of the unknown future and each deliver political statements that have held true from the time the books were originally published during the 1950's until now.

The society that Winston lives in is governed by the Inner Party, and ultimately by a figure referred to as Big Brother. No members of the society are allowed to speak out, or even think out against the government. Every house, building, street, and public place has something called a telescreen, which constantly monitors the people and each of their actions, speech, and even expressions. If a person even appears to have a different thought than what they are mandated by Big Brother to have, this person will be arrested by the Thought Police and eventually vaporized. "Winston kept his back to the telescreen. It was safer; though, as he knew, even a back can be revealing." (3)
Winston is not comfortable with the way Big Brother operates, yet is forced to keep his opinion strictly to himself. If he were to let on to anyone even the slightest rebellious or questioning opinion, the person would turn him in. Winston therefore is completely isolated, even though he is forced to interact with other people all day at work and after work in the volunteer associations. The paradox of this is that all people in this society are in fact isolated, yet each person spends as little time as possible by themselves. No one can is ever given the chance to think or talk for themselves, instead everyone repeats what Big Brother wants them to talk about, and is too busy talking mindlessly to other people to think for themselves.