1984" by George Orwell. Discussed: The food is bad, the alcohol is awful, and sex is suppressed. Give examples of these things and explain why the Party would discourage these things. What does suppressing natural desires have to do with maintaining the Party's power? Five sources. MLA.
1984" by George Orwell
1984" was first published in 1949. Orwell wrote it as a reminder to the nations of the West how dangerous communism and totalitarianism is to human freedom. In his novel, Orwell warns of the loss of personal freedom and the loss of enjoying life with its wonders and individual characters. He depicts the perfect totalitarian society, a government of absolute power that controls every aspect of human existence, from food and shelter to love and family. The government has even created a new language called Newspeak, the soon to be official language of Oceania, the nation that now encompasses London. The purpose of the language is one of the many forms of government control of the people. The language removes any rebellious or negative terms, thereby eliminating any chance of individual thought. The Party, the political government uses several techniques other than language to control the citizens of Oceania, such as psychological manipulation, physical control, control of information including history, and technology. All of these techniques shape human thought, feelings, and taste.
Through psychological stimuli, the Party manipulates the minds of the citizens through a variety of ways. Giant telescreens are everywhere, including everyone's room. These are designed to send continuous propaganda messages regarding the Party, as well as to monitor individual behavior. There are signs everywhere stating, "Big Brother is Watching You" (Orwell 5). Moreover, the Party slogan is "War is Peace - Freedom is Slavery - Ignorance is Strength" (Orwell 7).
Another form of psychological manipulation is the undermining of the family structure. This involves brainwashing and soliciting children as Junior Spies to report any act of disloyalty to the Party by their parents.
Citizens were also subjected to Two Minutes of Hate each day. This is a time when citizens vented their anger and contempt for those with whom the Party was at war. This aggressive act was reinforced by the fact that the Party suppressed sexual desire. Sex was simply a Party duty to create new Party members. There was no passion, love, or lust involved with a sexual act. "Sexual intercourse was to be looked on as a slightly disgusting minor operation, like having an enema" (Orwell 57). Eroticism was the enemy, inside and outside of marriage. All marriages had to be approved by a committee and there was even a "Junior Anti-Sex League which advocated complete celibacy for both sexes...all children were to be begotten by artificial insemination and brought up in pubic institutions" (Orwell 57). The purpose of forbidding sex was to kill sexual instinct, thereby creating another loss of individual freedom and desire. What ensued from pent-up sexual desires allowed the Party to manipulate through the Two Minutes of Hate. Citizens vented their anger and frustration toward the object of the Party's hatred and political enemies. Orwell describes it as "A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledgehammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one's will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic" (Orwell 16). The suppression of sex also prevented men and women from forming bonds and loyalties that the Party might not be able to control.
One way of suppressing desire, was by eliminating 'scent' from daily life. Scent is an arousal for appetite, lust, love, and a number of other desires. It creates emotions that trigger memories of the past, dreams, and longings. Therefore, Party women were not allowed to wear scents, thus, helping to eliminate sexual arousal and desire. Moreover, food was processed to remove aromas that stir the senses. When Julia meets Winston, she brings a bag of erotic things, food and cosmetics. As she opened her bag, a packet fell out that conjured a "strange and yet vaguely familiar feeling" in Winston (Orwell 116). "It was filled with some kind of heavy, sandlike stuff which yielded wherever you touched it...Real sugar. Not saccharine, sugar...and a loaf of bread - proper white bread, not our bloody stuff" (Orwell 117). Julia also brought a small pot of jam and a tin of milk. She brought real tea, not blackberry leaves. When she opened the next sack,
The smell was already filling the room, a rich hot smell which seemed like an emanation from his early childhood, but which one did occasionally meet with even now, blowing down a passageway before a door slammed, or diffusing itself mysteriously in a crowded street, sniffed for an instant and then lost again. It's coffee, he murmured, real coffee. It's Inner Party coffee, she said"
All of these scents and aromas stirred emotions in Winston of pleasure and desire as they do with any human being.
Humans, like animals, are stimulated by odors, whether for appetite or sex. When Julia appeared with make-up on and fragrance, Winston was overwhelmed with memories and emotions.
The improvement in her appearance was startling.
With just a few dabs of color in the right places she had become not only very much prettier, but, above all, far more feminine...As he took her in his arms a wave of synthetic violets flooded his nostrils...Scent, too, he said" (Orwell 118).
Winston and Julia enjoyed all the normal things that lovers enjoy, good food and romantic fragrances. These small things allowed them to bond and form a sexual union that was considered a danger to the Party.
Aroma is a vital part of our memory," according to Dr. Alan Hirsch, the neurological director of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago. Hirsch studies how smells influence human behavior and states that the average person can detect about 10,000 scents (Lawrence B30).
Says Hirsch, "A smell can trigger an emotion that recalls a pleasant association... A freshly mowed lawn may trigger memories of summer, as might a whiff of pine remind one of woodland walks" (Lawrence B30). Scents create moods, whether melancholy or joyous. Humans tend to feel connected to the natural world through scents. The ancient Egyptians used the art of aroma therapy for healing, relaxation, and sexual seduction. When scents "stimulate the olfactory nerves, they send signals to the brain's limbic system, which plays a key role in regulating moods" (Lawrence B30). Odors are powerful connectors to memory. Moreover, "one wonders about the connection and significance of the parallel loss of memory and smell" (Quirk 1D). Can smell deprivation cause memory loss, as it does in "1984"? Medical centers today are using the same techniques as the ancient Egyptians, aroma therapy, to relax patients and ease pain. "Marketing experts have connected aromas and sales...convinced that the pleasant smells of a bakery, or other olfactory delights, influence how ready we are to part with our dough, so to speak" (Quirk 1D). Life would be rather dull and bland without scents. "The sense of taste and the sense of smell are so closely related that when one is diminished, the other is equally affected" (Quirk 1D). The odor of coffee brewing or the smell of lemon can stimulate appetites. If food does not taste good, then nutrition is compromised (Quirk 1D).
The Party's purpose was to make food as bland and tasteless as possible, thus blocking memories and feelings. Without smells, the world was as the Party said it was, no more, no less. Without the smells of such things as fresh coffee or fresh bread baking, there was no desire for any foods that were not given by the Party, the citizens did not know the difference. They had nothing to compare. The Party used the same theory for perfumes and fragrances. By prohibiting the use of scents, it decreased the desire for sexual encounters. As Orwell writes, "The smell of her hair, the taste of her mouth, the felling of her skin seemed to have got inside him, or into the air all around him. She had become a physical necessity" (Orwell 120). Thus, the Party controlled by desire. This is perhaps why O'Brien serves wine and proposes a toast to the past, when Winston comes to his house, simply another form of control (Orwell 141).
Orwell's novel has continued to intrigue for decades. This year there was even a television show called Big Brother. People lived in a house where Big Brother watched everything they did and heard everything they said. "As a social experiment, the television Big Brother would seem to have some merit for psychologists who want to study interaction between human beings" (Traynor 6).
Much like lab rats, the housemates slept, chatted, and drank to excess, argued and laughed, "all under the watchful eye of the cameras and seven million viewers" (Traynor 6). However, unlike…