In George Orwells classic 1984 the government
controlling Winston Smith is known as Big Brother. Big
Brother is best described as an oligarchy ; a government
which is ruled by only a small selected group (The Inner
Party). Big Brother is in control of everything, and the
common person has very few rights. Religion has been
abolished, freedom of speech is unheard of, freedom of
the press is extinct and now even freedom of thought is
gone, just to name a few. Even the idea Freedom itself
is in the process of being destroyed. How can you have a
slogan like freedom is slavery when the concept of
freedom has been abolished? (47).
So just what is it that keeps society from
overthrowing Big Brother? BB has an incomprehensible
amount of power which it can use any way it sees fit. Its
array of strategic tactics for mind control is second to
none. Exactly what does BB say or do to stay in control?
What are its values and morals? Lets just say it isnt as
concerned with family values as much as most of us would
hope. Big Brothers Structural Ideas or Campaign
Values are lies, ignorance, hatred, segregation and fear.
For example where Clinton is for pro-choice BB is
Lies: Winston Smith works in the Ministry of Truth,
one of the four major employers in the Big Brother era.
The Ministrys role is to alter the past to make Big
Brother appear to be all knowing and foreseeing.
Winstons occupation is as an editor for the times.
When he receives an assignment from a superior it is
generally to change a simple statement BB once quoted -
previously an article of good fortune for Oceania is now
an article showing declining standards of living - unless
Winston changes it. The Ministry of Truth gives false
reports of living standards and production numbers to
give members of The Outer Party the illusion that they
are better off than their ancestors were. By working for
this division of Big Brother Winston is not only
destroying a magnificent past but also the only hopes for
a better future.
Ignorance: Committees working for big brother -
members of the outer party - are working so that they
themselves and peers will have a very limited range of
thought by the means of the language Newspeak.
Newspeak is a language with a intensely restricted
number of unnecessary words, only the essential words
of the English language are left alone. For example
almost all adjectives have been eliminated. If someone of
1984 wanted to use a word like excellent or
disastrous, in Newspeak you cant. Only left for all
forms of good and bad are good and ungood. If you
want a word to have a stronger meaning you can choose
from plus and doubleplus. Dont you see the whole
aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? (46).
Big Brother believes that by eliminating words, they will
eliminate thoughts. If there isnt a word for it, it must
not be worth thinking about is the line of thought they
wish to create.
Hatred: Months of elaborate planning go towards
an event known as Hate Week. During this Hate Week
all hate towards the enemy is released. Songs are
written and prisoners are executed just so members of
The Party can express their anger. Winston Smith thinks
of event as a time to release his own inner frustration
caused by Big Brother. By regulation of emotions such as
hate bb hopes to leave only shells of a community to
execute its corrupt and immoral agenda.
Segregation: Big Brother attempts to keep its
citizens away from all others who do not live in Oceania.
Oceania covers such a large portion of the earth it would
be difficult to distinguish primarily on looks, unless the
other person happened to be of Asian descent (Oceania
occupies no territory there). Big Brother tells its
citizens that peoples of foreign nationalities are bent on
destroying Oceania and committing appalling crimes upon
its people. With exception to war prisoners, no one in
Oceania has seen peoples of Eurasia and Eastasia, the
other two world superpowers. Everyone in a certain
nation is ordered to dress certain way. She spotted he
was wearing a funny kind of shoes...so the chances are he
was a foreigner. (50). In Oceania all foreigners are
captured and convicted as being spies, no matter what
their reason for being away from the motherland.
In a sense all of these ideas work together. Lies
plus segregation (both caused by Big Brother) equals
ignorance. if you have been fed lies constantly, you
wouldnt know anything else, for you have no way of
disproving Big Brothers lies, since records are
constantly being updated, consequently ignorance equals
The only real other cause of support to Big Brother
is patriotism, and the only patriotism that exists is
caused by fear. Fear of invasion from Eastasia or Eurasia,
fear of the thought police, and the fear of knowing Big
Brother is to powerful to be stopped. If you dont
passionately display patriotism towards Big Brother the
Thought Police catch you, torture you, fix you, then kill
Lies, ignorance, hatred, segregation, and fear. If
nothing changes in the ethical code of Big Bother it will
become only stronger, and the children of 1984s society
will be faced with nothing but an infinite sadness
throughout their lives. Wouldnt the empathy of the
Inner Party force a change on the governmental system?
Most likely not. As George Orwell suggests in The Book:
Big Brother in infallible and all-powerful. Every
success, every achievement, every victory, every scientific
discovery, all knowledge, all wisdom, all happiness, all
virtue are held to issue directly from his leadership and
What about every need, every hunger, every
shortage, and every sensation of pain, is that to not
caused by Big Brother?