1984 Compared to Today
In today’s day in age, everything we do or say can be upload to the internet and seen by millions in minutes. The good and the bad is seen throughout the world once it is uploaded. Having many question their privacy in today’s world. In the novel titled, 1984 by George Orwell the main character, Winston Smith along with the rest of the nation of Oceania are being watched through telescreens in hopes of preventing political rebellious and gaining power. Every step they take, even in the comfort of their own home, the government is watching. With the main goal of the Party to control every citizen of Oceania from their history to language. The Party even goes about and invents a new language that they come to call ‘Newspeak.’ Through this new language the Party hopes of getting rid of all rebellious thoughts. Winston strongly dislikes the Party and purchases an illegal dairy in which he writes and his thoughts and his strong hate towards the Party, which thoughtcrime is said to be the worst crime of all according to the Party. He sneaks around and has affairs which is considered illegal with his co-worker, Julia. It does not stop there, Winston and Julia join a secret Brotherhood that works against the Party. As members of this secret organization they are given books to read that are banned. O’Brien, who is secretly posing as member of the Brotherhood orders for Winston to be punished for his crimes. Winston was brainwashed and tortured until he no longer loved Julia and accepted the Party. In the United States today, the issue of privacy has rose much like it did in the novel, 1984 but our constitutional rights today have guaranteed us a free and democratic society.
Oceania, a totalitarian society that was subservience was controlled in many possible of ways. The government controlled its people through a figure known as Big Brother, reminding citizens that Big Brother is always watching. Nobody knew who he was or what he looked like but were reminded of him through the poster around Oceania. All they do know is that everything they do or say, they are being watched and heard. Cameras are placed all around the town, children are turned into spies and taught to spy on their own parents, presence of the Thought police is seen at all time reading citizens minds. Although we do not live in a totalitarian society like Orwell describes, the world we live now can feel a lot like 1984.
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Everyone of us watches each other, from keeping track of their newest post on Facebook to seeing what they are doing on Snapchat. These social media accounts have allowed each and everyone of us show the world of our everyday move, much like Big Brother watched over his citizens. We have compromised our own privacy through the internet and social media applications without realizing we are losing a bit of our freedom. Winston writes in his diary, “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two makes four”(103). Due to Big Brother and the power the Party wanted, citizens along with Winson were not able to think or let alone challenge anything the Party believed in.
Even tho they knew such answer like two plus two was four if Big Brother said it was five the answer was five and nobody could question it. Under the U.S Constitution we are granted that freedom today. The First Amendment gives each and every citizen, the freedom of speech which allows every citizen to think and feel the way they want about any subject. Under this amendment are also have the right to petition the government, something Winston could not due in Oceania.
Another thing, the Party did to have total control over their citizens and the town of Oceania, was rewrite history. Big brother and the Party made sure that every record was falsified or destroyed and dates had been amended (195). Their goal was to rewrite history and make everyone believe that the Party has never been wrong and only write down what the government wanted people to remember. “History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right (195).
Today, we have laws that ensure this does not happen and history is not altered to fit the needs or wants of the government or officials. There is also rules and processes one must go to change certain things. For example, if one wants to change their name they would have to go through a process in which the local state has enforced. In California, one must go through the court fill out a petition. On the internet, today anyone can hack and change information on any website to make it benefit them and multiplate other to believing the same thing. Social media has restricted our freedom and allowed each and one of us to be Big Brother.
Ultimately, under the United States Constitution our constitutional rights are assured in order to maintain a free and democratic society. As much as Winston Smith wanted to, he could not turn off his screen, but today we have the ability to turn it off and choose not too, exposing our privacy to millions across the world. Big Brother has created a totalitarianism society, but that does not have to be created in today’s society with each and everyone of us invading one’s privacy and watching each other.