George Orwell's 1984 is about a man Winston Smith in a country called Oceania with a government called IngSoc. Winston lives in constant fear as he is arrested and tortured by members of the Party, people participating in IngSoc. Orwell shows how IngSoc is a controlling government. Also, he discusses the dangers of a government like IngSoc. IngSoc is a totalitarian government. Orwell denounces totalitarianism by creating a dystopia that has a totalitarian government.
Totalitarianism is the "form of government that theoretically permits no individual freedom and that seeks to subordinate all aspects of the individual's life to the authority of the government." When Orwell published 1984, "'totalitarianism' denoted a society in which political power was in the hands of a dictator or 'leader' and a nontraditional ruling elite; the mass of the population was not only politically powerless but deprived of all intellectual and cultural resources" (Gleason, 148). Totalitarianism is a tempting option for countries whose citizens are suffering. "The totalitarian states of Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler (1933-45) and the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin (1924-53) were the first examples of decentralized or popular totalitarianism, in which the state achieved overwhelming popular support for its leadership" ("totalitarianism" n.p.). In Nazi Germany, the citizens were overcoming a huge depression resulting from the loss in World War I. In the Soviet Union, the people overthrew an unproductive, uncaring Tsarist government.
George Orwell had many bad experiences with totalitarianism, and recounts these events in 1984. He experienced firsthand the effects of a fascist government in World War II. "In 1948, when Orwell's 1984 was first published, World War II had just ended." During World War II, mass murders were ordered by totalitarian leaders like Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin. "Adolf Hitler, in Germany, had slaughtered his enemiesâ€¦ killing six million Jews plus nine million Slavs, gypsies, political dissidents, homosexuals, and mentally challenged people" ("1984" 242). Orwell, influenced by genocide caused by a single powerful man, prompted him to reflect upon the cause of so many deaths. He powerfully expresses his worries about the dangers of a totalitarian government by creating his own dystopia in 1984.
A totalitarian government works to control the mind of the people. One way to induce subservience is to control pleasure. The Party controls people by limiting and suppressing pleasure. To remove the pleasure from society diminishes the morale of the people, allowing the government to enforce its will. Sex is a social activity looked down upon by the Party through organizations like the Junior Anti-Sex League. Laurence Lerner suggests, "[Orwell] considers [sex] extremely important because of its concentration on pure pleasure and IngSoc is a society dedicated to the abolition of pleasure" (Bloom 73). Julia uses sex as a medium to rebel against the...