May 29, 2004
Knowledge. In our society it is something that we take for granted, because we have so much access. We might not think much of it, but a society without knowledge, especially knowledge of the past will quickly become weak, and the people of that society will become in a trance, much like the characters in 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and Lord of the Flies had become. In 1984, the government has supreme rule, and what they say is, is, and people soon came to be in a mindless trance of government patriotism. Not much different came about in Fahrenheit 451’s societal structure. Along with the mindless patriotism, there was an inherent fear of the government. In Lord of the Flies there was no leader, and the characters knew very little about the past. They had become murderous savages that ravaged each other for power and dominance. From these textual examples I have concluded that a societies need for knowledge is vital to its functionality.
In 1984, the main character Winston is in a world where a person’s existence is of no importance. People are brain washed to love the government. The government has two names in 1984, one being “Big Brother”, and the other being “The Party”. In Winston’s society, all records were changed by the government to look like the government was correct the whole time, even though they were not. One such occurrence is when they change from being at war with Eurasia, to Eastasia. The government takes all the records that say they were ever at war with Eurasia, and quickly change them so the say they were always at war with Eastasia. Although the significance does not really make any sense, and you may be thinking, “Why does such a minor detail even matter?” Well the reason is people never notice this change. By people being so unaware, it shows what Winston’s government had the power to do. When people died, they were “erased” from the past. They became nobody, a “no one.” On page 122, of 1984 a man named Syme, who had some traits “The party” didn’t approve of “disappeared”, and only a few thoughtless people, commented on his absence. Not two days after his disappearance did people already forget about him. The only person aware of this disappearance is Winston, who has overcome the Party’s mind control, and began thinking for himself, so was able to notice such things that the government intended them not to notice.
In 1984 Winston is basically driven insane by this lack of knowledge. He has a varicose ulcer on his ankle, and more varicose veins on his legs. After he has his “breakthrough” and begins to gain knowledge, his ulcer begins to go away, and his veins begin to subside. The amount of stress he had from “The Party’s” control was incredible, and it was not until he had become more “loose” and gained knowledge did his health improve.
In Winston’s society, people did not have knowledge of the past, so they were liable to make mistakes because they could not learn from their actions. When people were “erased” from Winston’s society, people were not able to look at that person’s mistake/mistakes and prevent a horrible fate for themselves. Everyone that could think for themselves, and had knowledge of the past was bound to die.
In Lord of the Flies a group of children from England are forced to evacuate because they are at war with the “enemy”. On their plane ride to salvation, the plane is shot down by the “enemy”, and thus the children are stranded on an island indefinitely until a rescue arrives. While the children were there they had no knowledge of how a society should function, and in their attempts to run one, they killed some of the children and forced others to be outcasts. They had no adult to teach them information about how past societies were run, and had nothing to look at and fix their own societal mistakes. Their attempts at forming a “parliament” like group, and choosing a leader were futile. This ongoing breakdown of their society led to more violence and barbaric behavior, including