Success is the main object of desire for many people in the world of today. In George Orwell’s 1984, the author provides a speculative view to the future and brilliantly describes what would happen if ultimate success was attainable. George Orwell describes success in three extremes: those who succeed ultimately, those who fail miserably, and those who are neither capable of succeeding nor failing. In 1984, the success of the individual is forbidden, while the success of the Inner Party is ultimate.
The Inner Party resembled a group of aristocrats. They ruled the country and all the people in it. They made up a figurehead for themselves, Big Brother, who was almost like a god. Everyone worshiped him because they made it look like he was the one who did everything that was good. The members of the Inner Party had complete and undoubted success because they achieved and maintained their goal, which was to become the most powerful people in the country and stay that way. They did many things to achieve this, including creating an imaginary evil force, known as the Brotherhood, which planned to overthrow them. They used this ‘Brotherhood’; to blame all the bad things on and make Big Brother (and through him, themselves) look good by fighting against this ‘evil force’;. The Inner Party was not happy with only physical obedience, they wanted complete obedience, including the human mind. They didn’t want people to think for themselves, because then they might plot to overthrow the Inner Party. They controlled the general populations’ minds by involving them in many verbal demonstrations, such as hate week, which downplayed the Brotherhood and made Big Brother look good. They also had telescreens in every building that allowed them to spy on the people and make sure that they didn’t do anything that might be harmful to their control. When they found someone who was a traitor, and wanted to disobey or overthrow Big Brother, they didn’t just punish them, they converted them:
We are not content with negative obedience, nor even with the most abject submission. When finally you surrender to us, it must be of your own free will. We do not destroy the heretic because he resists us: so long as he resists us we never destroy him. We convert him, we capture his inner mind, we reshape him. We burn all evil and all illusion out of him; we bring him over to our side, not in appearance, but genuinely, heart and soul. We make him one of ourselves before we kill him.
From this quote we see that they ensured their own complete success. They didn’t just persecute or punish their enemies, they turned them into supporters of their own cause.
The success of the general population, when compared to the Inner Party, was the opposite. They could not think for themselves. All they could do is what the Inner Party wanted them to. They were watched constantly and ‘converted then killed’; if they tried to go against the Inner Party. Their own personal success was forbidden. The degree of their mind control was so great that they didn’t even know what happened a few days ago. The Inner Party would alter history so that they were never wrong:
It appeared that there had even been demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration to twenty grammes a week. And only yesterday, he reflected, it had been announced that the ration was to be reduced to twenty grammes a week.
The example is clear: no one ever questioned what the Inner Party (through Big Brother) said. It was impossible for them to think on their own and have dreams or wishes; therefore, they were not capable of succeeding or failing.
Winston was different from the rest of the general population. He still had control of his own mind. He hated Big Brother and the Inner Party. He wanted to help the revolution so he joined the Brotherhood. He knew it would only be a matter of time before someone found out that he was against the party. He knew that he would be ‘converted’; and then killed. In the end, he found out that he had been tricked, and the people that he had trusted were really spies for Inner Party (also known as Thought Police). He was taken to the Ministry of Love, where he was tortured and brain washed to the point where he really did believe in Big Brother. He had failed. His dreams of escaping the rule of the party were impossible now. He had been converted, just like everyone else, and was no longer capable of thinking on his own. ‘He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.’;
The Inner Party worked hard to ensure that they had ultimate success while controlling everyone else to the point where they were not capable of succeeding or failing. George Orwell wrote 1984 as a prediction of the future. As such, we should take it as a warning. With all the advertising on the radio, TV, billboards, etc., we are essentially being brainwashed. We must fight to keep our rights and limit what the advertisers can do to us, especially children, who are more likely to believe everything that they see or hear. The next time that you see a TV commercial that is too forceful or deceptive, will you do something about it?