Key spaces in George Orwell’s 1984
George Orwell’s 1984 is a book that revolves around the oppression that the totalitarian government laid against its citizens. The government tightly controls the minds and the bodies of the civilians and does not allow them to think freely or even engage in sex. In the book 1984, Orwell structures his narrative around several key spaces in which visibility, knowledge and power come into play. The spaces comprise of physical and inner spaces.
George Orwell illustrates the manner in which controlled spaces may encourage issues of resistance. In self and space, resistance and discipline, Orwell explores the issue of the implications of the controlled space and the choice that people make either to resist or consent by show of discipline. In this passage, Orwell transforms imagery into real world scenario by showing a concern for the loss of individuality rather than the political element in the book. The totalitarian government has controlled the inner spaces where people are supposed to think freely without interference of their thoughts. People are forced to follow what the totalitarian government thinks is good for them. People cannot live by what they think is right but by what the government thinks is right. As such, people lose their individuality because they do not have the freedom of thought let alone the freedom of expression. The oppression that people experience in their inner spaces makes them develop knowledge for resistance. With too much control, people realize that they cannot live their lives fully. For example, Winston Smith who is the main character together with his love, Julia believes that even though the totalitarian government controls them, it can never rob them of their love and hatred towards the government. This makes them believe that they can overthrow the government so that they can get a freedom over their inner spaces (Orwell 136).
George Orwell understood that the constitution of the inner space was put in place such that it resonates the aspect of immediate agency and meaningful identity. The surveillance that the ‘Big Brother’ has put on individuals prevents them from gaining a meaningful identity of themselves and this creates an immediate agency for people to rise against the totalitarian government to get space where they can freely explore their thoughts (Orwell 136).
The knowledge that freedom over both inner space and outer space can be gained from access to power makes Winston search for a way that he can organize for the overthrow of the totalitarian government. He goes in search for help and thinks that he can find it in O’Brien who takes him to the world of Brotherhood that is an organization fighting against the party. However, O’Brien is an underground agent of the party who sets Winston up. The realization of that O’Brien is an agent destroys the relationship that he has with Winston (Orwell 136).
In 1984, Orwell proves that knowledge is power and that the one who has knowledge controls power. The party’s knowledge over Winston and his likes make it easier to control them through the Big Brother strategies. The one who controls knowledge and ultimately power has more visibility as portrayed in the Passage. It is clear that those who have the knowledge that their inner spaces are controlled by force search for power that can help them control their inner spaces. The inner spaces can only be controlled if the access to the physical or outer space is controlled by an entity. This is how the totalitarian government manages to control people because it has visibility that is controlled by knowledge, which wields power. Therefore, people like Winston are unable to achieve personal control because they possess visibility but less knowledge that can help them gain the power needed
- Orwell, George. 1984. Fairfield, IA:1st World Publishing, 2004. Print.