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Theme of Isolation and Fear Caused by Totalitarian Governments in '1984' and 'V for Vendetta'

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The novel ‘1984’ and film ‘V for Vendetta’ are both works that explore how totalitarian governments cause isolation and fear through control. They demonstrate how methods such as propaganda, surveillance and fabrication of information assert control over the lives of their citizens and remove the individual freedom to create a mass of people living in a single unified movement.


In George Orwell’s novel ‘1984’ the government, known as the party, uses surveillance as a disciplinary tool to isolate the citizens of Oceania. The constant supervision leads to fear and isolation within the population as every action, conversation and even facial expression is monitored by the party, leaving no opportunity of individual freedom or disobedience towards the party. “You had to live - did live, from habit that became instinct - in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and except in darkness every movement scrutinized”. Due to this, party members are so restricted of human contact they become isolated.

Fabrication of information is another medium in which the party controls the public as the government has total control over what he public knows. The intense restriction over information gives the party more power as there is no evidence of anything against what they want her people to believe at any time.

Another way the party controls the people of Oceania is thought he destruction of words. The idiom of “We are cutting language down to the bone” shows that the party is removing eidetic or emotional words to reduce the extent which one can think for themselves, and thus guide their own individual experience. The reduction of language means that one does not have a vehicle to express themselves, and the words which are available to do so are limited and dictated by the party such as new speak terms like ‘ungood’ and ‘plusgood’. Hence, the party uses language as a mechanism of control by restricting the limits on can think for themselves and providing words which create common thought to forge a collective cognitive experience shared between all people of Oceania. This will then lead to an unknown sense of isolation as they are not given a tool to express themselves.

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The thought police is powerful concept from the novel, where any form of rebellion towards the party, even just the thought of rebellion can be punishable by death. “This was not illegal (nothing was illegal, since there was no longer any laws), but if detected it was reasonably certain that it would be punished by death, or at least twenty-five years in a forced-labor camp”. This lack of any laws to measure what is right or wrong means that citizens are forced to live with the constant fear of punishment and vaporization. This is turn will result in the people to fearful of straying from the party and will lead to the isolation of people as they are too afraid to connect with others.

‘V for Vendetta’

‘V for Vendetta’ is another work that demonstrates how the controlling manner of a totalitarian government causes isolation and fear in the lives of its subjects. Like ‘1984’, the government in ‘V for Vendetta’ also uses surveillance as a disciplinary tool to generate fear in the citizens as a method of ensuring obedience. Although the surveillance is not as extreme as it is in ‘1984’, the film does illuminate the use of cameras during the scenes. This causes fear in the public s they must always be aware that they are being monitored and can be punished for unlawful actions.

Another way the government controls the people in ‘V for Vendetta’ is how they fabricate the news and information that is released. “Our job is to present the news, not fabricate it, that’s the governments job”, this quote shows how the government changes and forgers the news to ensure that no evidence of rebellion is presented to the public as it may result in an uprising and eventual overthrow of the government. “Avoid clinging on to the edifice of a decedent past”, this quote is clear to see how the government is determined to remove the remnants of the past to discourage any ideas of rebellion against the government.

In the film ‘V for Vendetta’, there is also the use of strict curfews and ‘Fingermen’ to induce fear in the public and therefore control them. This practice of forcing people to stay inside causes isolation as they are unable to interact with others and drive their human experience.


As seen through these examples, ‘1984’ and ‘V for Vendetta’ clearly show how the controlling manner of totalitarian governments causes isolation and fear in their citizens. The methods they use are to restrict the ways in which people can express themselves and drive their individual humane experience causing isolation as well as creating fear in the people to ensure their obedience to the government.

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Theme of Isolation and Fear Caused by Totalitarian Governments in ‘1984’ and ‘V for Vendetta’. (2022, December 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 3, 2024, from
“Theme of Isolation and Fear Caused by Totalitarian Governments in ‘1984’ and ‘V for Vendetta’.” Edubirdie, 15 Dec. 2022,
Theme of Isolation and Fear Caused by Totalitarian Governments in ‘1984’ and ‘V for Vendetta’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 3 Mar. 2024].
Theme of Isolation and Fear Caused by Totalitarian Governments in ‘1984’ and ‘V for Vendetta’ [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Dec 15 [cited 2024 Mar 3]. Available from:
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