When technology controls us
1984″ was published in 1949 and became immediately a success. Orwell started it in 1946, and the title recalls the last year the author spent on it. This device as a symbolic meaning; in fact, Orwell’s aim was to ck the society he lived in, and also to warm the future. The novel has been defined a “dystopian work”: it describes a possible future world, where the most negative trends of Orwell’s time find expression. “1984” is set in England, an outpost of Oceania, the enormous empire, which covers over a third of the globe. Orwell’s work is divided into three parts: the first one introduces us to the main character, Winston Smith, and his oppressive, squalid world, where there is no privacy:
(from “Only Connect 3” p. F206 lines 42-54)
“behind Winston’s back the voice from the telescreen was still babbling away about pig-iron and the over fulfilment of the Ninth three-year Plan. The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it; moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live – did live, from habit that became instinct in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every moment scrutinized” from the text, we can understand how the lives of the citizens are ruled by he Party, which controls press, mass-media, propaganda, and even history and language. Every aspect of life is submitted to the interest of the state, and the smallest sign of rebelation is punished with prison, torture and liquidation. Telescreen are used to watch people, as the slogan of the Party – “the big brother is watching you” said, and to spread the politic of the government and its successes during the permanent war that Oceania is involved in, in order to prevent people from thinking by themselves.
The second part describes the love story between Winston and Julia, and the temporary happiness the relationship brings to both. The last part of the novel deals with Winston’s imprisonment and torture by the thought police and the final loss and destruction of his intellectual and humane dignity.
Winston, the main character of the novel, is described as the “last man”, who still retains his dignity and his individuality as humane being. He works at the ministry of the truth, where he alters records of the past to fit the current Party policy, but during his private life tries to fight the totalitarian power of the Party. Orwell wants to convey, through Winston, man capability to fight against the oppressive, controlling power of, in this case, the big brother. The author underlines the role of the media in this work of control: Winston’s life is ruled by altered newspaper, reduced language and Televisions which watch and convince him of the honesty of the Party. Technology is used in the worst way, to undermine humane freedom and individuality, in order to make people a multitude with the same feelings and emotions, unable to rebel.
Orwell drives this idea to its highest point, and the result is an apocalyptic scene, grotesque but not false: in others words, a real warn also today.