Defacing Humanity

"1984" by George Orwell

“1984” by George Orwell

A society is easiest to regulate when people are almost programmable, unable to feel or think for themselves and are completely devoted to the state. Stripped of their humanity, the people are putty in the government’s hands and have limited personal freedoms. In George Orwell’s fictional dystopian novel, 1984, Oceania enforces regulations through language, personal relationships, work, and the media that limit the Party members’ freedoms and destroy their human spirits.

People think, speak, and communicate with words, and by controlling the words that they are able to use, Oceania controls and limits its member’s thoughts and conversations. By creating a new language, Newspeak, and enlisting it as the national language, Oceania began requiring its members to write and speak with the improved language. English was then considered Oldspeak, and was declared outdated and flawed. Deleting words and eliminating ideas, Oceania slowly began to compress Party members’ thoughts and control their minds with each new installment of Newspeak. “Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?” declared Syme, an Outer Party member defending Oceania’s purpose for limiting language. The time in which Party members would only be able to think what the Party wants them to think since unwanted ideas cannot exist would begin an era in which Oceania would completely control its members’ minds and their overall humanity.

Family and human relationships currently dominate human lives today, and continue to define us as mankind. In Oceania, families supported the world’s population, but personal freedoms are not granted and the family is used as a vile poison from within. The Party raised children to become relentless spies, eager to report any suspicious activity they witness and to obey Party regulations, learning to live by them. The bond between child and parent is broken, betrayal becoming a common act between the two. Even natural human instinct is destroyed, and sexual activity becomes inappropriate. “Chastity was as deep ingrained in [women] as Party loyalty. By careful early conditioning, by games and cold water, by the rubbish that was dinned into them at school and in the Spies and the Youth League, by lectures, parades, songs, slogans, and martial music, the natural feeling had been driven out of them,” explained Orwell. Marriage was permitted, but divorce and awakening sexual feelings were considered against Party policies. Although deepening relationships were not allowed, Party members were not expected to spend time alone. All must remain equal, everyone each other’s comrade, and must spend time as a group, so as not to allow thoughts to wander. Friends no longer exist, family becomes corrupted, and marriage becomes a duty to the Party. When one’s personal bonds are broken and become shackles left to drag him down from his ankles and wrists, his humanity is shattered along with them, leaving him with little to live with.

When nothing remains to live for, work becomes the Party members’ primary concern. Raised to complete the jobs assigned to them and pledge loyalty to the Party, members become devoted to their work. By working in solitude and obeying orders that arrive from unknown sources without questioning, members serve their time and duty to Oceania. With limited freedoms and odd requirements, Party members are expected to surrender themselves to their work and to the society.

When thoughts are controlled, relationships are destroyed, and work is the main focus, humanity can still flicker within a person’s spirit. Oceania uses the media to stamp out this final flame of hope by constantly infiltrating its members’ privacy, minds, and lives. Through telescreens, Oceania is able to deliver Party slogans and news to its members while taking in each facial expression and action they display. Constantly bombarded with propaganda and advertising, Party members lose themselves as they are slowly converted into perfect Party citizens, their minds filled with Party policies, their actions monitored and restricted, and their lives containing no secrets. Through media, Oceania is able to strip the humanity from its members and replace it with hatred, fear, and loyalty, creating an army of expressionless slaves.

Language is controlled, limiting the expression of the mind; family is turned against each other, personal relationships becoming non-existent; work becomes the one goal in a Party member’s life, his only pride and joy; and the media invades his life, stealing from him the only sliver of humanity he has left. By regulating, limiting, and exposing, Oceania succeeds in creating non-feeling, non-thinking automatons, loyal to the Party and anxious to serve their duties. With humanity stripped from their core, only a uniform remains on their skin. Party policies fill their minds, and a love for Big Brother burns in their heart.