1984 Individuality Essay

George Orwell presents us with a world where systemic thinking, a form of solipsism represented by the Party and embodied in O’Brien, has come to permeate and dominate all aspects of human living.This type of thinking, which adheres rigidly to its own logic, becomes a form of closed-mindedness that recognizes no perspective other than its own and has become, in the novel, a self-referential totalism that neither acknowledges nor sees the need for any external stimuli.

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Winston, will insist that two plus two equals four, at least for a time – until his very ability to think at all is stamped out; until he cannot but believe the Party’s Truth that it equals five.

Orwell is careful to ensure that do not lose our perspective.

Reality, some post-modern thinkers propose, is fundamentally ambiguous: it is not simply “out there.” And this is not in itself a point that I wish to challenge, although I will in turn propose a different version of this ambiguity.

For Derrida, reality is a kind of “text” outside of which there is “nothing”; for Badiou it is “the event”; and, for Lacan, although the “Real” happens to us, it is, nevertheless, “impossible.” These are all positions which resonate in important ways in .

The Party has understood the central role that language plays in determining thought.

1984 Individuality Essay

Orwell, in presenting the Party in this way, seems to curiously anticipate certain trends in current post-modernist thinking.

This, I suggest, raises a question: why, if the relevance of truth must contain this element of individual experience to be felt as truth, can the Party apparently become so successful at imposing its “Truth” on people in the place of their own truths?

The answer, I hope to demonstrate, lies in the effect that the Party’s control of language has on the ability that the population of Oceania has (or does not have) access to its own real experiences at an individual, as well as collective, level.

Written by: George Orwell Type of Work: novel Genres: utopian literature; social criticism First Published: 1949 Setting: Oceania Main Characters: Winston Smith; Julia; O'Brien; Big Brother/Emmanuel Goldstein Major Thematic Topics: mutability of the past; the existence of fact through memory; memory; history; language; oppression of writers Motifs: repressed sexuality; dreams Major Symbols: Newspeak; prole woman; birds; telescreens; glass paperweight The three most important aspects of Removing #book# from your Reading List will also remove any bookmarked pages associated with this title.

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