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Totalitarianism in Film, 1984

In his novel 1984, George Orwell warned of the seductions of government thought control as he saw them developing in the Soviet Union and elsewhere because of the tensions after World War II, and while the world never reached the state of control seen in that book, it did tend in that direction in response to threats, real and perceived. There has been much comment on the book given that the year 1984 was reached and passed without the development of the sort of thought-controlled future depicted. The essence of the novel does not depend on the year, of course, but on the ideas about society and the political and social forces that can distort it. This is evident in the film version produced in 1984, at a time when it was known that society in that year was not really like the novel, but using "1984" as a metaphor for totalitarianism. Orwell showed a world in which thought control had been honed to a science and where every member of society shared in the underlying belief that thought control was a good and necessary thing. This was our vision of the Soviet Union, though it could never have been as efficient or pervasive in its effort to control the thoughts of the people as the government of Oceania managed to be. After all, dissent in the Soviet Union grew stronger rather than quieter over time, and the entire system ultimately imploded in part because of economic realities and in part because of the force of dissent from within. Americans seem to balance most of the time between a respect for government and a mistrust of government authority, and this seems to prevent the development of too strong a government. The end of the Cold War has brought about a reexamination as well as a celebration.

In 1984, the Party subjugates the will of the majority to the will of the Party itself. The way this is accomplished with Julia and Winston is telling, for the Party uses fear and a form of brainwashing to make these individuals ...

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Totalitarianism in Film, 1984. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 16:52, December 06, 2021, from