Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell In part 1 of Nineteen Eighty-Four Orwell introduces us to the many means of control used by the Party to maintain power over the people. These tools of power are of many kinds and are extremely effective. For example some use technology, some come under the category of propaganda and some can be discussed in relation to structure of government. All these systems combine into a brutally effective machine for dominating the population, as the book’s main protagonists, Winston and Julia, discover.
They discover late in the novel that the Party is utterly without human sympathy and empathy, and exercises power not to order human life according to any beneficial principal, but only to keep power. It is impossible to defeat a regime so single-minded. George Orwell’s main contention in the novel is to show that, if a completely power-driven totalitarian government ever came into power, it would stay there. It would become an irresistible and therefore permanent authoritarian government for all mankind.
The Party’s effectiveness is partly due to the technology of the time which allows the party comprehensive powers of surveillance. By means of telescreens and hidden microphones across the city, the party is able to monitor its members almost all of the time. In addition there are surveillance helicopters that fly around peering into people’s windows; there is no privacy at all. With this constant observation there is no escape, “your worst enemy, he reflected, was your own nervous system. At any moment the tension inside you was liable to translate itself into some visible symptom”.
The party’s use of technology makes control over the citizens brutal and extremely effective. The brutal control is also due to the constant propaganda that acts as psychological stimuli designed to overwhelm the mind’s capacity for independent thought. With the help of telescreens a constant stream of propaganda is always heard, designed to make the Party’s shortcomings seem like triumphant successes. “Big Brother is watching you”, citizens are constantly reminded with huge posters of Big Brother and slogans printed everywhere. Propaganda plays a big part in the dominating control the Party olds over Oceania. The Party also uses a method to weed out the malcontents and rebels. This helps them construct a completely controlled civilization. The party sets traps, lays bait and tempts rebels towards an organization that offers hope but tragically doesn’t exist. It gives them an illusion that there is a way to oppress the Party, but it traps them like a Venus fly trap and “vaporizes” them. So, Winston and Julia are led unknowingly into the shop of Mr Charrington who, we learn, is not a mere prole but a member of the thought police.
Winton is lulled into the trap early as he buys the diary from Charrington’s shop and slowly is dragged into renting a room above it. A nostalgia for the past and a desire for privacy is what drives them and this plays directly into the hands of the Party. Another tempting trap devised by the Party is Emanuel Goldstein’s Brotherhood, which Winston and Julia both fall into. What emerges from O’Brien’s deception of Winston and Julia is the fact of the Party’s complete inhumanity.
The Party expects the human desire for happiness and freedom to rise up from time to time, but, because of its commitment to power, it has found a system to cull out individuals who experience this desire and destroy them. The Party’s use of traps allows them to catch the rebels easily which in turn allows them to maintain total control. The Party’s control is complete and final. Through many systems their superior control comes with ease, hand in hand with the suppression of the human spirit and hope.