Significance Of Big Brother In Fahrenheit 451

1404 Words6 Pages
Big Brother is Watching You: The Orwellian State and Surveillance in the Present Society In any conversation regarding dystopian literature, there are works that cannot be ignored due to their importance in the landscape not only within the genre, but also within the enormous works of English literature. Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, where American society has outlawed books and other written works, is perhaps one example. Another would be Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, where the year 2450 is marked by extreme class government, where citizens born into the lower class are enslaved through drugs and other nefarious substances. More recently, the recent wave of young-adult dystopian novels, such as Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games series…show more content…
Everywhere, there are “telescreens” that serve both as transmitters of information into the home, and as surveillance cameras that report the movements and activities of the people within it. Telescreens both watch and listen to everyone on the streets, and even in their own homes, and barked orders at people when they were slacking in their obedience to Big Brother (Dice 18). These devices are very sensitive, even detecting hints of rebelliousness in facial expressions and whispers. The effectiveness of these devices are described by Orwell,…show more content…
While the common thinking regarding surveillance systems is that they are aimed at the detecting the actions of the individual, it also has a more nefarious “chilling effect” within the public sphere. Michael Yeo describes this as “panoptical surveillance”, where an individual’s belief that he or she is under inspection will prompt him or her to avoid behavior detection of which would have a penalty (53). This is, essentially, self-censorship. The individual, fearful of the repercussions of a certain action – for example, speaking out against government in a private setting, spreading information that is truthful albeit offensive – censors himself in order to become a normal, productive member of society. In Orwell’s London, this was also true: “there was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment…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”

    More about Significance Of Big Brother In Fahrenheit 451

      Open Document