George Orwell’s novel ‘1984' and '2001: A space odyssey', a film by Stanley Kubrick, clearly communicates the connections of alienation as protagonists in both texts are monitored by higher authorities. Based on a time where civilization is monitored and the freedom to think differently is punishable. George Orwell’s ‘1984’ is a novel based in a society that lacks personal freedom, dignity, and humanity. Stanley Kubrick’s film ‘2001: A space odyssey’ follows the journey of protagonist Dave Bowman and his team of astronauts on their extraordinary expedition to investigate a strange discovery. Living on a spaceship, characters are restricted to tedious day to day activities and their spacesuits to survive, which links to the emotional detachment that becomes evident in the majority of the characters. The supercomputer, 'Hal 9000' controls all functions to sustain life on board, who also like 'BIG BROTHER' sees everything.
‘1984’ is a dystopian novel by George Orwell, Which follows the journey of Winston Smith, a low ranking member of 'The Party', who happens to be annoyed and frustrated by the use of the power they force on civilization to manipulate the way people, think, act or speak. ‘Big Brother', the leader of the party uses his power, to cause paranoia of the people. This is manipulated by the knowing of ‘Big Brother’ watching them through telescreen and technology, while the boundless posters of the party are hung up all over the town. This, in turn, causes Winston to rebel against the party as he keeps a diary of his secret thoughts, which is seen as a fatal ‘thought crime’. Upon meeting Julia she forces herself at Winston, resulting in him not liking her. Soon after he starts to take a liking for her, their hate-love relationship turns into a romantic one where they sneak upstairs to the abandoned office above theirs to canoodle. The idea of love and romantic relationships is seen as a crime in the text as 'The party’ does not like the idea that people would be thinking for themselves. Therefore, George Orwell displays multiple exampled of the absence of personal freedom within the text.
George Orwell displays multiple examples of the lack of personal freedom, as the protagonist feels alienated from his rights of freedom. This can be seen within the text as the protagonist, Winston Smith is monitored by a higher authority, ‘The party’. Suggestions of Alienation, effectively represent the absence of personal freedom within the text, “Always eyes watching you and the voices enveloping you. Asleep or awake, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or bed-no-escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimeters in your skull', (pg. 32). This further proves the lack of personal freedom within the novel; 'Eyes always watching', referring to 'The party' always keeping an eye on the people, 'Nothing was your own except the few cubic center meters in your skull'. This meaning your thoughts. Although 'The party' cannot know what the character's thoughts are, they are severely manipulated by the endless threats opposed by ‘the party’, and the ‘Thought Police’. Another representation of the lack of personal freedom, found within the text is “Who controls the past, controls the future”, this represents the absence of personal freedom as 'The party' are in control of records and the minds of their employees, telling the characters in the story what the past is, therefore controlling what happens in the future. This can be interpreted as the past is whatever the ‘party’ decides. Like, George Orwell’s ‘1984’, Stanley Kubrick’s film ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ also illustrates representations of alienation of personal freedom.
Stanley Kubrick’s film ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, shadows the odyssey of protagonist Dave Bowmen. A closed-off, adventurous astronaut who gets assigned an extraordinary expedition to investigate a strange discovery. Partnered with a supercomputer, 'Hal 9000, who the astronauts rely as the supercomputer holds information on the mission, the spacecraft and to communicate to the people on earth. Dave Bowman seems to be distant, as when he receives a birthday message from his parents he doesn't give any emotion to the video. This is ironic as Dave seems more like a robot than what Hal does. When Hal lies and informs the Astronauts that there is a failure of an antenna control device on the spacecraft, they retrieve to an 'EVA' pod and investigate finding nothing wrong with the antenna. Although, mission control tells the astronauts that, results from their computers show that there is nothing wrong with it, Hal pursues to say there is. The two of the astronauts proceed to go and check, only for Hal to cause malfunctions with their 'EVA' pods, and suits. This, in turn, causes the two characters to die. Dave takes an 'EVA' pod and tries to save his teammates, only to return to the ship and Hal refusing him to come aboard. This, in turn, leaves Dave with no choice but to let his friend go to save himself.
Stanley Kubrick displays multiple examples of the lack of personal freedom, as the protagonist feels alienated from his freedom. This can be seen in the film, as the astronauts are restricted to their surroundings. Having to wear a spacesuit when they are outside of the ship, being confined to the space crafts, leaving the characters to walk or run aimlessly around the spacecraft, sleep, eat, and watch TV, not being able to do anything too extreme. Living under these conditions alienates the astronauts from their sense of independence. This leaves them feeling powerless with a loss of dignity. This, in turn, shadows the emotional detachment of characters. For example, when Frank receives a birthday message from his family on earth, he lays down next to the screen and shows no emotional reaction to the video, as he blankly stares up at the ceiling or the screen. Another example of this can be when characters sit down to eat and do not communicate at all to each other and go on with keeping to themselves. Hal watches the astronauts and keeps a close eye on them, it is seen that they do not have privacy within the small number of conversations that they do have, as Hal may not be able to hear them, but he can read their lips. Upon doing so, this causes Hal to react, by looking at everyone out of the spacecraft, murdering the astronauts except for Dave who eventually defeats Hal.
George Orwell's novel '1984' and '2001: A space odyssey', a film by Stanley Kubrick, both communicate connections of alienation of personal freedom. This can be seen as both protagonists struggle with higher authorities that challenge to think a certain way or act taking away their freedom, dignity, and humanity.
- Margaret Miller and Robyn Colwill, “Macmillan English QCE units 3 and 4,” English 2019 v1.5 General senior syllabus.
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