Studiu de specialitate – ”Big Brother is Watching You” George Orwell – from past 1948 to future ”1984”


Autor: prof. Pop Simina Ana
Școala Gimnazială Socond, jud. Satu Mare

In 1948 George Orwell, on his real name Eric Blair, gives life to his own ideal world. Initially, the anarchist and socialist Orwell, was very fond of the utopia that seduced ideologically many European intellectuals: communism.
The novel is set in the middle of 20th century, and the Marxism still has followers. We are after the end of the World War II. Humankind has seen the massacres and the atrocities of war and witnessed the hidden face of Marxism. Orwell presented a perfect totalitarian communist, exactly how it works and destroys. His reasons were, obviously, to attack the system but to the ones still loyal, Nineteen Eighty- Four is just a personal journal where their thoughts are open to the world.
Orwell lived and experienced everything, war, death and sufferance. He was the son of a subordinate British civil servant in India. Due to the years spend in public school back in England where he was abused, he was left with haunting memories for life that influenced his writing career. With all that, now he fears that the world is fooled by good orators. ( Ranald, George Orwell’s 1984)
Orwell’s interest in torture and in the human mind was influenced by the period spent in the schools in Britain where he was subjected to some harsh beatings from the headmasters, and it is reflected in themes like:
[t]he effects of prolonged punishment on the human spirit, the importance of heredity and environment and the possibility of brainwashing (Ranald, 9)
Ralph A. Ranald states that this beating was the starting point of the installment in the young Eric Blair of an “awful conviction of worthlessness, guilt and weakness, which, by his own account, he wasn’t able to overcome for years.” (9)
After the marriage with Eileen O’Shaughnessy – which seemed to be a happy one – the couple moved to Spain. He was trying to write a book about the war and the best way of writing a genuine work is to actually live it. Due to that, Orwell enlisted in the Workers’ Party of Marxist Unification in order to fight against Stalinist communism for the Republican cause. During the elimination of the Party, Orwell was badly injured in the throat and was suspected of being part of the resistance. He and his wife were blessed to escape Spain alive while others weren’t that lucky. That experience gave him a firsthand aspect of the realities of communist “utopia”. Orwell considered the actions of communism as a betrayal of the popular revolution which might otherwise have given the working class real freedom and status. This idea will be used in Nineteen-eighty-four especially when presenting the only Party of Oceania and the differences between what it is in practice and how is presented in theory. (Ranald, 15-6)
From here rises a second interpretation and it is questioned Orwell’s intention in writing a critical novel. The term most often used when talking about Orwell’s Oceania is dystopia. Orwell wrote a utopia for the ones loyal to the system, but his real purpose was to write a twisted utopia, a dystopia, meant for those who had become suspicious of the system. Caught in the trap of time, Orwell had one too many events in his life that served as a starting point of a genuine work that presented the communist utopia. As victim of the totalitarian system, Orwell astonishes with a genius twisted utopia.
Rogers noticed that Orwell’s novels are made up from “a socialism that is less than whole-hearted and that has trouble in defining itself, and a socialism that is opposed to Communism must be un-whole-hearted, craving yet rejecting the ideology of its rival. Orwell was a pragmatic English public-school socialist, and the tensions and contradictions of his work do spring from necessary strains in this self-definition. Life, in a sense, was easier for the writer who declined the call of revolution and reform.” (Rogers, Cassell’s History of English Literature, 443-4)
(fragment)

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