Lack of Privacy and Individualism in '1984': Essay

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Personal privacy and individualism among humans are what make unique individuals who all contribute something different to society. Microcosm criticism focuses on the internal society created in the novel and ignores the time and place in which it was written. It focuses heavily on unacknowledged societal structures in our society. Usually, it has an underlying connection to the society at the time the novel is written. The novel ‘1984’ by George Orwell gives interesting examples of what can happen without independence. The lack of personal privacy and individualism in ‘1984’ influences individuals and society as a whole to follow the government's ideas. With one’s own family members and friends observing them and the Thought Police always watching, it makes uniqueness scarce.

One of the main points in ‘1984’ that shows the severity of their very open and governed society is the presence of the Thought Police. The Thought Police is a secret police force that observes people’s thoughts and punishes them if they think personal or political thoughts. The Party regulates the society’s thoughts to ensure that they will not be overthrown. By regulating people’s thoughts, this creates a society of people who are all the same, and who do not have creative and unique ideas to present to the world. This will limit new innovations and advances in the world. For example, when Julia passed the note to Winston reading “I love you”. This would be considered thoughtcrime because the Party does not want love to exist. After all, if people end up loving each other, their feelings and opinions will be harder to control in the way they want to be able to. Collecting the shell from Mr. Charrington is also an example of thoughtcrime due to its reminiscent nature of the past.

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Big Brother has spies working for the Party. These spies act like they are part of the Brotherhood. This is so they can find people actively planning to rebel against the Party and punish them. Having these spies is another way to ensure people do not have privacy within their own beliefs and always have someone around to keep them on the path the government wants them to follow. The Party instills fear into people rather than motivation. Instead of trying to persuade people of all the good things that can come out of this new society, they force people to be a part of it by scaring and torturing them. Near the end of the novel, Winston is sent to the Ministry of Love where he is tortured and brainwashed by O’Brien (a Party spy), before being sent to Room 101. Room 101 is the last place someone who opposes the Party. They have his worst fear of killing him, but Winston breaks and says to do it to Julia instead. This is what the Party wants, no love between them. This shows the extent that the Party (and Big Brother) will go to ensure everyone follows a certain way of life and certain thoughts. They may have been able to do what they wanted differently, without torture. They could have created their own society with people who want to be a part of it, in their own region. Then the Brotherhood and people who disagree with the way of life of the Party and Big Brother, then they could have it the way that they want. The issue is that Big Brother is controlling and wants everyone on the Party’s side, or the goal has not been fully accomplished.

What makes you you? What makes you different from the person standing next to you in the line to pay for your groceries? What about the difference between you and your sibling? Your brain. Your brain makes you who you are. You can be identical twins and to the naked eye be exactly alike, but when getting to know their personalities, ideas, thoughts, and beliefs, they can be very different and unique to themselves. If this is taken away, as shown in ‘1984’, people all become alike and cannot progress the world in a positive direction. The novel ‘1984’ by George Orwell presents ideas of what can happen to our society if personal privacy and individualism are removed.

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Lack of Privacy and Individualism in ‘1984’: Essay. (2024, March 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from
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