1984 George Orwell Surveillance Essay

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The book 1984 by George Orwell centers on the character Winston Smith who stays in Oceania. The government in Oceania is a totalitarian government which employs several instruments to constantly monitor and watch its citizens. Examples of such are the telescreens, posters of Big Brother and microphones placed in hidden places. These methods of surveillance are to a large extent quite effective, as shall be elaborated in this essay. Before the various methods of surveillance can be discussed, the concept of the Panopticon has to be explained. Jeremy Bentham is accredited with the idea of the Panopticon. He came up with it as a design for a prison institution. The thought behind it was to have a system whereby all the inmates’ activities could be monitored at any given time by a person in a central place, without the inmates knowing they are under surveillance (Toeniskoetter S.B, 2007). Knowing that such a system is in place would affect the way…show more content…
Apart from children being spies in their own homes, one could not even trust other acquaintances be it at work, school or any other place. People were so absorbed in the party ideologies that one would rat you out to the police without hesitation. Making friends became difficult, because you could never be sure which side the next person is on, or what they think. In a way, these people acted as spies as well. This is shown in the early days where Winston met O’Brien and made eye contact. He says of O’Brien. “Even after this Morning's flash of the eyes it was still impossible to be sure whether O'Brien was a friend or an enemy.” (Orwell, 1949, 17). This ultimately eliminated any chance of subversion because a people that are incapable of uniting will never form a revolution of any sort. So it is evident that this instrument of surveillance was a very effective method of control and it caused self-regulation within the citizens of

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