Essay title: The Reflection of George Orwell
George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four presents a negative utopian picture, a society ruled by rigid totalitarianism. The government which Orwell creates in his novel is ruled by an entity known as Big Brother and consists of four branches.
The Ministry of Truth, overseeing the distribution of propaganda and other printed materials, the Ministry of Peace (dealing with war), the Ministry of Plenty, handling economic affairs, and the Ministry of Love, the law enforcement division, make up the government. The main character, Winston Smith, does not completely accept the ideology that is fed to him by the government, through the concept of Big Brother. When one examines George Orwell's life, it can be clearly seen that he personifies his political perceptions, social and aesthetic characteristics, and self-examination of his own writing, through Winston Smith, in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Orwell's political perceptions, especially his skepticism of mass media, are given life through Winston Smith. Spending time working for the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), Orwell experienced many distorted truths and propaganda (Woodcock 9). This led to an intense distrust of those in power and their influence on the information distributed to and received by the general public.
Orwell explains how history is altered by whomever is in power. In Orwell's essay "Revising History" he examines the credibility of history and finds that it is based on the person or group in control. Orwell hated totalitarianism, primarily because of its attacks on unbiased truth and so saw it as the enemy.
If a person or organization in power finds a fact damaging or out of sync with his cause, he can simply change it by the manner in which it is reported. Orwell states, "A certain degree of truthfulness was possible so long as it was admitted that a fact may be true even if you don't like it." ("Revising" 1). He is supporting his ideas with an obvious example familiar to most. World War II, Orwell points out, had two very distinct slants depending on whether you subscribe to the Nazi account or that of their enemies. Another telling example he spoke of was the broadcasted outcome of the Spanish Civil War being decided by the winning power's preferences. Simply put, Orwell boldly claims that "History is written by the winners," (Orwell, "Revising" 1).
So Orwell's own distrust is obvious in his creation of the Ministry of Truth. It is here where his main character, Winston, is employed forming propaganda and changing past facts to coincide with whatever lies Big Brother is feeding the general public. According to Woodcock, Orwell definitely based the Ministry of Truth and Winston's work on his experiences at the BBC (9). Winston's role in Big Brother's government was a projected charicteristic of Orwell's political opinions.
Furter exemplifying the attribution of Orwell's characteristics through Winston Smith, is the manifestation of Orwell's political views in Winston's own writings. Although Orwell wrote publicly, and Winston wrote in a private diary, they both passionately wrote for their own cause. Orwell was against totalitarianism and used Winston to reflect that when he wrote against the "evils of Igsoc" (Duda 1). Igsoc is the doctirne by which the government of Oceania, under which Winston lived, was operated. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, Winston Smith writes in his diary: "For whom, it suddenly occurred to him to wonder was he writing this diary? For the future, for the unborn . . .
" "For the first time the magnitude of what he had undertaken came home to him. How could you communicate with the future? It was of its nature impossible. Either the future would resemble the present in which case it would not listen to him, or it would be different from it, and his predicament would be meaningless" (10). Although both Winston and Orwell recognize their objective is hopeless, they still cling to the hope that maybe through their words and descriptions, (as opposed to logical arguments) that they might, even for a moment alter another's thinking (Duda 2). Orwell writes in his essay, "Why I Write" that "Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written directly or indirectly against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it" (4).
Serving as England's "moral conscience," he sought to boldly reveal the truth, even to those who denied its existence (Kollar 2)..