The book 1984 (1949), by George Orwell is one of the most enduring books i have read in a long while. The book was written in 1949 but still manages to feel fresh and for some reason, very familiar. The familiarity i feel when reading 1984 can be explained by the cultural impact that the book have made. So many movies, series and games have looked to 1984 for inspiration. So many in fact, that when reading the book i feel like i have read it before. The movie Brazil (1985) is a perfect example of this, a dystopian depiction of future society molded by the model George Orwell created. The
There are therefor many similarities between Terry Gilliams film, Brazil, and George Orwells novel, 1984. The protagonists in each story have very similar personalities, thoughts, and actions. Along with the connection between the main characters, the perspective governments in each story are extremely similar and, in general, the plot and overall feel of the stories are similar.
1.1 The characters
The plots of these two stories are extremely comparable, and it is easy to see why. Both tales have a protagonist that doesnt really fit the role of a hero, and each hero eventually failing at the end. Winston Smith and Sam Lowry are essentially anti heroes who both work for fascist governments, and the paths that these two antiheroes take leads them to similar consequences.
The comparisons between Sam Lowry (Brazil) and Winston Smith (1984) are evident throughout both works. Their lives, in general, are quite similar. Winston Smith lives in a tiny, run-down apartment, as does Sam Lowry. The only difference is that Sam doesnt have Big Brother watching over him, but the level of fascism between the two pieces isnt that different.
Along with both characters living in pathetic little apartments, they both do boring, middle-management type jobs for their respective governments. Winston Smith works in the Ministry of Truth, which controls the news, and Lowry works at the Ministry of Information in the Department of Records. The Department of Records basically makes sure that all records of any kind are properly filed and taken care of. They both find their jobs boring and tedious for the most part, but they both love them as well.
Just as Winston loves his boring job, so does Sam. As Sams friend says to him, Let a friend tell you that your life is going wrong. Records is a dead-end department. Your security is never worth a damn; its impossible to get noticed, and Sam replies, I know. Wonderful. Marvelous. Perfect. It is obvious that these two men are quite happy when they are at work, and they dont feel the need to be promoted or have too much success. Sam Lowry actually says to his mother that he doesnt have any dreams or aspirations, and he definitely does not feel the need to be promoted to a better job. Another ironic similarity between these two heroes is that they are both employed by governments they end up trying to destroy. While Winston secretly wants to corrupt his government from the beginning of 1984, Sam doesnt desire to go against his government until he meets Jill, the girl of his dreams. The reasons behind these two characters attempting to destroy their governments are extremely similar in that a woman pushes both of them to act. The main motivation for Winston to continue his secret affair with Julia is because he knows that he is being corrupt and straying from his government. Winston does everything he can to stray from the ideals of Ingsoc, but in sleeping with Julia, he eventually falls in love with her, which happens to be yet another crime. The main reason that he falls in love with Julia is because he loves the corruptness of the whole affair. Winston says to Julia at their first encounter, Listen. The more men youve had, the more I love you. Do you understand that? I hate purity, I hate goodness. I dont want any virtue to exist anywhere. I want everyone to be corrupt to the bones.
Sam, on the other hand, doesnt lust for Jill because he wants to break the law; Jill just happens to be the girl of his dreams, literally. Even though Sam has no intention of being fraudulent toward his government, his love for Jill causes him to become so.