A fine line between fiction and reality
George Orwell’s 1984 is one of the most famous examples of a totalitarian government in science fiction. In the novel, the government of Oceania controls a large section of the world, including Airstrip One, which used to be the United Kingdom. The government is led by the Party, represented by the image of Big Brother, and controls the population through a variety of methods including censorship.
What is the main theme of 1984? The main theme of 1984 is that the goal of a totalitarian government is to maintain absolute control of its citizens’ thoughts and actions, and it will use any means necessary to achieve that goal. The government’s constant surveillance leads to paranoia and suspicion since citizens can never be certain about who or what may be watching them
The novel’s protagonist, Winston Smith, works at the Ministry of Truth, a government agency that alters records to whatever the government needs them to say. If someone is found to be a dissident and must be eliminated, for example, all records of that person’s existence are altered so it appears they never existed in the first place.
The role of censorship is central to the maintenance of power. In 1984 this is further represented by the concept of Newspeak. This is a language created by the government of Oceana to slowly replace English.
The language is based on English, but it condenses the language and cuts words and terms out every year, even combining certain phrases into new words like ‘’Minitrue’’ for ‘’Ministry of Truth.’’
The goal is to eventually simplify language to such an extent that concepts like freedom will no longer exist. This way, the Party can censor and inhibit thinking in the population by ensuring that certain concepts don’t even have words attached to them.