Why George Orwell Wrote "1984"

Though totalitarianism may seem like an orderly way to run a government, it is not as promising as one may think. In the novel 1984, George Orwell introduces his readers to the world of Oceania through the eyes of Winston Smith. As Winston struggles to defy Big Brother with his rebellious mindset, he learns the secrets of the ruthless totalitarian government Oceania is under. Throughout his journey, one can establish a connection between Orwell and Winston’s similar beliefs as seen in George Orwell’s Letter on Why He Wrote ‘1984’. Orwell argues that totalitarianism will be the destruction of society because it will lead to an elimination of freedom.

In the beginning chapter of 1984, Orwell introduces his readers to the world Winston lives in. He makes it clear the overweighing surveillance of the telescreen Winston is receiving. Because of his lack of privacy, it derails him from his freedom in order to live normally. So as long as people “think” they are being protected, they fail to realize that they are manipulated into thinking what their ruler wants them to think resulting to a lack of freedom.

By favoring a totalitarian government, it will only lead to the slaughter of society. Orwell believes, “Everywhere the world movement seems to be in the direction of centralised economies which can be made to ‘work’ in an economic sense but which are not democratically organised and which tend to establish a caste system” (“George Orwell’s letter”). He thinks that by supporting this system, society will be disorganized. The “caste system” he refers to represents a higher authority ruling lower ranking civilians, such as Big Brother in 1984 setting up all the rules. Oppressive high ranking officials lead to a destruction of society by splitting it up instead of society running cohesively.

The reason why Orwell wrote 1984 is that he wanted to express his fear of what he thought society might have become after the war. Orwell explains, “He can’t say that two and two are five, because for the purposes of, say, ballistics they have to make four. But in the sort of world that I am afraid of arrives, a world of two or three great super states which are unable to conquer one another, two and two could become five if the fuhrer wished it” (“George Orwell’s letter”). He believes that by having this type of system run society, it will not only crush their freedom but also destroy society in general.

With the idea of a dystopian future, Orwell composed his novel 1984 to showcase the flaws that exist within a government. In his letter to Noel Willmett he states, “With this go the horrors of emotional nationalism and a tendency to disbelieve in the existence of objective truth because all the facts have to fit in with the words and prophecies of some infallible fuhrer” (“George Orwell’s letter”). He expresses his fear of having one’s rights being taken away in exchange for a new set of thoughts provided by government. By not acting on will, one is basically a mindless puppet, just following what their master told them to do.

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