Big Brother is Watching You. Essay on 1984

Do you ever feel as though you’re being watched? Have you ever heard something and thought, “Wait, didn’t I hear something different about that yesterday?” If so, you’ve gotten a glimpse of the world of Winston Smith in George Orwell’s 1984. It is set in a semi-dystopian society with a huge, controlling government. Some people may not see a problem with a large government, but Orwell took proving how horrible one would be with his writing. George Orwell’s novel 1984 challenges the idea that big government is good for a society by showing the effects of oppression if the individual, creating a malevolent leader, and manipulating the truth.

Winston Smith is the main character of 1984. He is your average citizen. He wakes up, goes to work for the government, and finally goes home to sleep and do it all again the next morning. Although he has days off from work, he is never truly free with time to himself. His government is constantly watching him — and everyone else — through telescreens, which are inside and outside every room in the country. This keeps Winston in a constant state of anxiety which, in turn, spreads anxiety to the reader. Telescreens alone show how oppressed Winston’s people are. They aren’t allowed to do anything or else they will be caught and taken away. This also goes to show how oppression leads to fear and anxiety throughout a country. 

Something else in 1984 that provokes fear is Big Brother, the leader of Winston’s country. Later in the book, we find out that Big Brother is not a real poster, only a symbol of INSOC that can be printed onto posters. Big Brother is characterized as a man with dark hair and a dark mustache, most likely to parallel him to Josef Stalin. The only other times the people see Big Brother are in videos of him yelling speeches promoting the way he runs his own country. Orwell does this to show that Big Brother is an aggressive and malevolent leader of an aggressive and malevolent government. 

The biggest way that Orwell challenges the idea of a big government being good for a society is through Winston’s job — his daily work routine. Winston works at the “Ministry of Truth,” which is full of irony. Winston’s only job is to manipulate things like newspapers and books to keep up with the facts the government wants people to believe. The only way to know what is truly happening is to be part of the government that changes the truth. For example, the government will completely erase certain peoples’ names from articles if the person commits treason or “thinkcrime.” This is to keep the people feeling like they’re being kept up to date when in reality, they are being mislead and occasionally told complete lies.

In summary, George Orwell uses his novel 1984 to show that a big government is not good for a society. He does this through showing the oppression of a big government’s citizens, creating a malevolent government leader, and revealing how easily a big government lies to its people. To many, 1984 is a symbol of what the future should never be allowed to become. To George Orwell, it is proof that a big government would only harm a society. To everyone, 1984 should be a warning to always think for yourself.



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