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An Ideological Threat

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  1. Introduction
  2. The book Winston receives from O'Brien
  3. The strength of Nineteen Eighty Four lies
  4. Conclusion
  5. Works cited

Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four examines a society plagued by war, hunger, and ever-present government surveillance. Lack of resources and the prospect of death face all citizens everyday, and yet their ruling body is in no danger of losing its power. This body, the Party, employs bizarre and extreme measures to ensure its survival, limiting education and resources to the lowest classes of the population. This is reminiscent of communist or dictatorial governments of the past, except that the ?dictator? is an ideology, and Party members do not indulge in their positions of power, living in conditions not much better than that of the teeming masses.

[...] These two dissimilar approaches reach the same point: they ensure complete faith in whatever the Party states, allowing the Party to create whatever universe they see fit, and then completely change it in an instant. Although a Party member, Winston is not completely convinced of Its statements, and makes a determined effort to find the Brotherhood, a supposed resistance group against the Party. He contacts O'Brien, an Inner Party member he believes shares his ill will towards the Party, and is given a book written by the Brotherhood, describing the true workings and intents of the Party; in reality, O'Brien is working with the Thought Police, and gives Winston the book only so he can charge him for the equivalent of treason later on. [...]

[...] This directly translates into how complete faith in an ideology can be dangerous, as the wish for others to conform results in the degradation of society as a whole. The strength of Nineteen Eighty-Four lies in its ability to convey a warning of the harms of a society governed by unquestioning faith, hidden in a situation that could conceivably occur in the real world. Orwell develops the novel's society so that it clashes with commonly held beliefs, but illustrates how that society came to be, making it all the more plausible and, in some instances, frightening. [...]

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