1984 Literary Analysis Essay
1380 WordsMay 16th, 20136 Pages
The Nature of Control
Is it the common human nature to feel power over others? A totalitarian government seeks to utilize its message of confinement and authority to control the many aspects of life. In the novel 1984, Orwell portrays totalitarianism through psychological manipulation, physical control and the control of language.
The totalitarian party manipulates and invalidates the minds of the outer party and proles. Orwell describes the surroundings of Winston, showing totalitarianism, writing:
The black-mustachio’d face gazed down from every commanding corner. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption said, while the dark eyes looked deep into Winston’s own. Down a street level another poster… uncovering the single word INGSOC. In…show more content…
The little sandy-haired woman had turned bright pink, and her mouth was opening and shutting like that of a landed fish. Even O'Brien's heavy face was flushed. He was sitting very straight in his chair, his powerful chest swelling and quivering as though he were standing up to the assault of a wave. The dark-haired girl behind Winston had begun crying out ‘Swine! Swine! Swine!’ and suddenly she picked up a heavy Newspeak dictionary and flung it at the screen. (30) The outer party is forced to take part in an “activity” of screaming and shouting at the face that stands for everything the party admonishes. The Two Minute Hate illustrates the extent of control. The totalitarian government manifest the ideas of hatred of Goldstein; to an extent of picking up the “Newspeak dictionary and flinging it at the telescreen.” Forcing them to take part of the Two Minute Hate will make them believe more and more in Big Brother; by oppressing their minds and thoughts.
They are forcing them to double think; two opposing thoughts that contradicts one another. The party not only controls the people through psychological manipulation, but also with physical discipline.
The dominions of the party are also oppressed with common, physical control by the Inner Party. The narrator explains the physical control through the beating of Winston, saying:
With the first blow on the elbow the nightmare had
Before that, however, he becomes involved in a brief, ecstatic love affair with Julia (Suzanna Hamilton), a reckless, similarly disenchanted young woman, who also works at the Ministry of Truth, and is befriended by O'Brien (Richard Burton), an urbane member of the Inner Party, someone who may know the truth about the existence of a political underground.
That time has overtaken only the title of George Orwell's ''Nineteen Eighty-Four'' is vividly apparent in Michael Radford's admirable, bleakly beautiful new screen adaptation, which opens today at the Cinema 3 and the Beekman theaters.
This ''1984'' is not an easy film to watch, but it exerts a fascination that demands attention even as you want to turn away from it. That the Orwell tale still works so well - and this version works far better than the 1956 film adaptation - also makes it apparent that the novel was always more cautionary in its intentions than prophetic.
Orwell's ''Nineteen Eighty-Four'' is not science-fiction, and his 1984 is not a particular time but a vision of the future projected from a very specific present, 1949, the date of the book's publication. In the years immediately after World War II, when Orwell was writing ''Nineteen Eighty-Four,'' the victorious former Allies were dividing Europe into Eastern and Western blocs, separated by what Winston Churchill, at Fulton, Mo., in 1946, called the Iron Curtain.
The Soviet Union was absorbing Hungary and Czechoslovakia into its sphere of influence. It was the time of the Berlin airlift, the Marshall Plan, of waiting for the Russians to build their own atomic bomb, of calls to rearm in the name of peace, of spies and defections and economic and spiritual exhaustion. Even as the Cold War was starting, Orwell's London was still dealing with the physical debris of the 1940 blitz and the later buzz bombs.
As both the writer and director of this ''1984,'' Mr. Radford, represented here last year by ''Another Time, Another Place,'' has probably made as fine an adaptation as possible of a work that is far more effective as a passionate, witty political essay than as narrative fiction. Though Orwell tells his story in clean, uncluttered prose, and though the downfall of Winston Smith is compelling, the real subject is language, which can be abused as relentlessly by a kind of tyrannical capitalism as by totalitarian Communism.
The story's immediate references are to the Russia of Stalin. Oceania's legendary traitor, Emmanuel Goldstein, is Leon Trotsky. ''Doublethink,'' the ability to hold two contradictory ideas in the mind at the same time, is not, however, an exclusively Communist talent. There are conditions under which all of us - Orwell is saying - might be persuaded to affirm the fact that two and two add up to five.
Mr. Burton is fine as the suave, avuncular O'Brien - his last film role - and Miss Hamilton, with her little-girl prettiness combined with a steely self-assurance, would seem to be a major find as Julia. Mr. Hurt's performance, however, is the film's center of gravity. He is splendid, and if his Winston Smith never seems truly tragic, that's in the nature of the Orwell work, which has a journalistic dryness to it that denies tragic possibilities.
Most stunning of all are the film's production design, by Allan Cameron, and Roger Deakins's photography, from which all the colors of sunlight have been drained. Except in Winston's occasional dreams or memories, when everything is bathed in an eerie golden glow, the world of this ''1984'' is uniformly blue-gray and beige. It's as if the state, which has declared that ''War Is Peace,'' ''Freedom Is Slavery'' and ''Ignorance Is Strength,'' had vaporized the primary colors.
1984, directed and written by Michael Radford, based on the novel by George Orwell; director of photography, Roger Deakins; edited by Tom Priestley; music by Eurythmics and Dominic Muldowney; produced by Simon Perry; a Virgin Films/Umbrella-Rosenblum Films Production; released by the Atlantic Releasing Corporation. At Beekman, 65th Street and Second Avenue, and Cinema 3, 59th Street at The Plaza Hotel. Running time: 117 minutes. This film is rated R. WinstonJohn Hurt O'BrienRichard Burton JuliaSuzanna Hamilton WITH: Cyril CusackContinue reading the main story