Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Reality Check

Reality is only what people are made to believe it is, is one of the major themes of the novel 1984 written by George Orwell. In his strict practice of doublethink and forcing others to commit to doublethink, O’Brien is the greatest example of this theme. O’Brien represents people in the world who are strict followers of this theme without even realizing it. In reality, people show certain degrees of this theme throughout their everyday lives. The major examples where the theme is found in the world we live in is through the media, elections, and cover-ups made by all different types of culprits.
O’Brien states several times throughout his cleansing or reprogramming of Winston that two plus two equals five when the Party tells a member it equals five. Along with this statement is the process of doublethink that shows the theme at its strongest during the plotline of 1984. Doublethink is a word that comes from the new language of newspeak that means that a person is thinking two contradictory thoughts at one time and believes that both are true without having the feeling of contradicting themselves. O’Brien is the character that demonstrates the strictest practice of doublethink because he is part of the Inner Party and wrote “the book” that tells how the world really is doing while still believing that the Party is the right government and has done nothing wrong. He also helps Winston along his path of reprogramming to be able to practice doublethink without having conscience thought that his thoughts are contradictory. Winston even thinks, before his reprogramming, that it was astonishing how O’Brien truly believed in and loved the practice of doublethink.
If O’Brien was to take a look at our world, he would find several similarities between it and Oceania. Though not to the extreme level of Oceania, people follow the theme in this world by believing what they are told by outside sources such as the media. The media happens to be the largest influence in people’s perception of the world because it is common for people to sit at home and watch the news and believe what is being told to them without even questioning it. Whenever a television turns on these days it is filled with advertisements that belittle one candidate or another in an upcoming election. People listen to these advertisements and start to form a biased opinion about the candidate, which they take with them to the voting polls, and that is how they determine which candidate to support. If I was to ask who killed John F. Kennedy, I would be presented with varying answers of the “truth” about what happened because of cover-ups that circulate throughout our society. Unfortunately, people suffer from these cover-ups by being the scapegoats, while others come out on top and victorious like the Party did as it cover-upped various incidents to make it seem as if Big Brother was never wrong.
O’Brien used the phrase two plus two can sometimes equal five, but it is only another approach to the theme, reality is only what people are made to believe it is. George Orwell does an amazing job of presenting this theme throughout the novel, 1984 by showing a society that could have possibly evolved from some of the totalitarian governments that became intimidating forces during his life. His description of O’Brien’s practice of doublethink brings aspects of our society under a theoretical microscope that truly represents a shallower, existing form of doublethink that controls parts of the world we call our own. Reality is only what people are made to believe it is, is a theme that is strong in our world, and is brought to a strong position in our lives during years of elections, but also can be found in everyday life such as in the media influence. It ultimately means that people are too naïve to aspects of their lives and will believe the first thing they are told, which can be a dangerous decision.

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