This paper will discuss the similarities and differences between the Oceanic society of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and the society of the United States. First I will talk about the similarities and then I will finish off with the differences, all of which will be based on factual information that I have gathered both, from the book and the mainstream media. Then I will finish by coming to a conclusion to an opinion I have and whether the government systems are more similar or different.
In order to do so, I had to ask myself some important questions like: Is the telescreen in the book the same as the cameras at work watching us or the satellites the government has in space that can see you move about in your home or record your vehicles license plates? Is this just a mere coincidence or is the story a true telling of what has and is to come in the future? There are things in the book that will not be exactly as something that we have in our country today though it might serve the same purpose and they will be defined through logic and simple explanations.Order now
The three most obvious similarities that I will talk about are the classes differences, the slogan “War is Piece” and the fact that even though with different intensity, both governments have their hands and control in every aspect of society’s life. The three differences that I will write about are the legal systems of the societies, the privacy people have or don’t have and love and emotions between people. The first similarity I would like to discuss is the different classes of people.
In the Oceanic society Orwell explained that there were three classes of citizens: the Inner Party members like O’Brien, who had all the power, the Outer Party members like Winston and Julia, who worked for the government in one of the four Ministries and the “proles” the so-called lower class people who did not actually qualify to belong to the Inner or Outer Party. These people were put on the same level with animals. The similarities that I see in our society are that we also have three different classes of people.
We have the Upper Class which are Senators and Generals who can basically do as they please and get what they want, then we have the Middle Class which are people who work for other people or for the government, people who have to work hard to reach near the Upper Class and last we have the Poor Class who are unemployed or work hard jobs for very little money. These people, for whom the government really does not care, are seen as a burden.
The overall conclusion to this statement is that the classes are divided with different opportunities and even though not as much as the government officials in the book, the upper classes still have more freedom to excel and do as they please. The second similarity is that both governments believe that “War is Peace. ” We saw in the book that the government of Oceania believed that the only way to have peace was through war and strength. They would at one time be peaceful with one of the two other two countries in the world, Eurasia or Eastasia, while waging war against the other.
The government would also use excuses on why they were waging war. The same is here in The United States. We went to Iraq for reasons that some feel were not justified while others feel differently. The main argument of the opposition was that we went to war with Iraq on the basis that they had weapons of mass destruction and so forth but non were found. The question that I want to ask is: Were we lied to as the people in Oceania were? The third similarity is that both governments have their hands and control in every aspect of society’s life.
Also the government spies on their citizens. In the book we saw Oceania had absolute control over people’s life. Even though the control that the United State government has over people’s lives these days is not as great as the one in the book, they still interfere with people’s lives more than I personally think they should. Few of these examples are that the United States Government CIA & NSA monitors telephone calls, fax transmissions, television programming, and movie and book rentals.
Also they control what a person can or cannot do with their own lives such as people with chronic illness who choose to end their suffering through assisted suicide and euthanasia. It is true that we can stand on the street and criticize our government or write a diary, but if we become too extreme or noisy we will likely be arrested by the police. I believe in my own opinion that this is a first step to a government as the one in the book.
The first difference that I see between the United States government and the one in the book is that here, in our country we have the constitutional right to “Due Process” which guarantees right to a fair and public trial and right to be heard in one’s own defense. To be arrested by the police, the court has to have witnesses and forensics evidence admissible at trial. The sentence given to someone who has been convicted of a crime in the United States usually fits the crime; cruel and unusual punishments are not given . In the country of Oceania there was no such system.
As soon as the government of Oceania thought or suspected you of a thought crime or any other crime that you had supposedly committed ,even without evidence, they gave you immediate sentence without any right to fair and public trial . In this kind of system people were not allowed the right to defend themselves; even if they did so it was to the deaf ears of the government In Oceania if you were convicted or suspected of thought crimes, example of keeping a diary which represent a personal freedom, you got “vaporized” by the Party.
The records of all vaporized people were deleted, so that according to the records, they had never existed at all, so of course they could not have been killed. The Second difference is that in Oceania you had no privacy whatsoever, neither in your home, work or the streets. Examples of that are the helicopters, which would hover by your home and watch you in the window or the telescreens created to watch people in their flats or houses. In the United States we have privacy in our homes and the government cannot watch you through your windows unless a warrant is issued.
It is a matter of national security or a felony is in progress. They have though started placing cameras and other monitoring devices in the work place to prevent people from not working properly and to keep the workers from doing things they would normally not do when others are around. The government has also started placing cameras in public places such as roads and sidewalks to prevent theft, as they say. However, I think that people today have much more freedom, choices and opportunities. We can read the books we want to read, we can eat the food we want to eat and so forth.
The third and final difference is that in Oceania you could not love and have emotions for one another. The sex instinct was another part of life that the party in Oceania sought to kill or distort it. Only the proles who did not qualify to belong to the party were acknowledged to have sexual instincts. Among party members all the love and eroticism was removed from the sex act. Marriages were permitted though they had to be officially approved by the government and were only to be under taken for the purpose of creating children who would grow up to be responsible Party members.
Permission would be denied if the couple showed any signs of being attracted to each other. Love between family members was also forbidden. Children eavesdropped at their parent’s bedroom to see if any thought crime remarks were made. These children who turned in their own parents as traitors were referred to as “Child-Hero”. There was only fear, selfishness and suspicion between family members. In the United States usually the government does not interfere in sex and eroticism between two consenting adults.
They also do not interfere in marriage of an adult male and female. Although the United States government refuses to recognize same sex marriages, they do not charge a couple that have a marriage with a partner of the same sex. The United States also promotes families supporting each other and does not get involved in family matters. The United States government would only get involved in these matters if there were crimes committed, such as sex with minors, domestic violence against your husband or wife, marrying more then one partner, or cases of fraud.
In conclusion I want to say that there are many more similarities and differences between the two societies. In general I think that our society today does not really resembles the society of Oceania, even though in my opinion I believe that they may someday be equal in techniques and policies. The government and its duty changes every day and I think that they are taking more and more control over people’s lives. This is why we should be careful and take part in the development of our great nation no matter how small the contribution may be.