Significant Connections

Texts Unifying Idea Nineteen Eighty-Four Minority Report Clockwork Orange
Controlling State
Corruption of power Power Corrupts. When humans acquire power over one another, there is an inevitable about what happens next. The powerful use this to their own advantage. Any morals they may have held are abandoned in their corrupt pursuit of control. 1:17:00-1:20:00

specifics are the comparisons between minority report and 1984. Physical oppression is the use of birds eye, invasion of privacy, the spiders, physical oppression, he took out his eyes, thermal tracking.

P.g 31

Says he chooses to be bad. Without the choice then there could be no good only compliance. in history we only congratulate the good. Reads articles referring to the problem being the adults and their nature, where as he knows being bad is his choice simply because he enjoys it. It make him human.

Anti-Hero character
Invasion of privacy A common element in many dystopias is the invasion of privacy. The state over-steps the boundary and invades peoples private lives to the extent that in many cases the very thoughts of an individual fall under state control.
manipulation of language

 

Literature is essential to human society for many reasons; chiefly due to its function as a means of helping us to think about ourselves, our lives and each other within our societal and political structures, it makes us more aware of the world we live in. Literature hands us the tools to decipher our world and consider alternative perspectives and ideas to those we currently hold.  This idea is key within dystopian novels, in which an idea common among all dystopias is the corruption of power and the totalitarianism this generates. Through the following texts, “Nineteen Eighty-Four” by George Orwell, “Minority Report” by Stevan Spielberg, “A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess and finally the lyrics of “2+2=5” by Radiohead, I will identify the connections they hold with one another, and the true calamity that the corruption of power has on society and how these dystopias all ultimately achieve the same goal; to warn our modern society about the true nature of power.

George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” is a dystopian novel that serves as a warning to readers of the impending future. Through physical and psychological manipulation “Big Brother” achieves this within Airstrip One exerting unrelenting power and control over the state and ultimately our protagonist, Winston. “Big Brother” is everywhere. On posters and walls, surrounding every aspect of daily life. The idea that every move made, and word spoken is scrutinised by some higher authority, plagues Winston within the text. Orwell achieves this physical oppression within this text when he explains how… “any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it…” showing us how little voice Winston is given to express what he truly believes in. Anything loud and worthwhile must be acceptable by the status quo or risk being scrutinised by the acting government, plucked apart to decipher even the slightest attempt at mutiny. As the novel progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that Orwell is trying to tell us that to live in such fear that someone may know what you are truly feeling is to be controlled and oppressed, thus destroying our individualism by creating a “uniform” of acceptable actions to perform day to day. Expressed when Orwell metaphorically refers to the population as a..”million people all with the same face.” Orwell refers back to this idea that the masses must all behave in accordance with the parties motives. No one is allowed to act out of self interest through fear of what might become of them. Serving as a warning, Orwell uses another metaphor when showing the reader that whilst Winston… “remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard.” he is trying to tell us that as long as we allow the scrutiny of the “higher power” to wash over us, we will always remain oppressed. It is not until we find our own corner of the room in which there is no “metal plaque” commanding our actions to be acceptable that we are free of “Big Brother”; a sole figure used to effectively deliver a focus for all party propaganda to resonate around. To understand how easily this simple invasion of privacy that develops into a mainstay theme within this dystopian novel, is to understand to what degree of power the party has over its inhabitants and how this invasion of privacy is an entirely necessary component to remain in control. The party’s purpose itself being to remain in power after all. This is where the physical oppression begins to embody the mind and is not unlike other texts that reside within the dystopian genre.

“Minority Report” by Steven Spielberg is a representation of how technology is being used in the future to “benefit” human society, by anticipating the crimes of individuals and catching them before they have been committed. The system is perfect, until it comes for you and for John Anderton this became a harsh wake up call for the world he resides within when he is accused for the murder of a man he has not even met yet. Within the famous “spider scene”, there are representatives of how in search of ultimate control, the government will exert any force necessary to remain in power, not unlike the the psychological and and physical manipulation that is a mainstay theme within “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. Just like “big brother”, the “eyes” of the government are everywhere. Iris scanners operate in every corner of every home in this dystopian America, with the “spiders” the chief form of individual identification. I believe Steven Spielberg uses these “spiders” as a vessel of physical oppression. These spiders are seen entering homes in all facets of human livelihood, in times of intimacy, struggle, anger and joy we see these spiders identify and categorise, with people halting there day to day lives to allow this “higher power” to decide if you are the one to commit a crime next and detain you. This idea is reenforced by the opaque glass which is present when the camera pans through the building in a birds eye view. Shattered and broken, with pieces in place barely hiding the work of the spiders, the glass represents what little privacy as a society we actually have now, and the true power the government has over our livelihood. In this birds eye view, with the glass used as a method of effect, Stevan Spielberg is able to show the true power over society the government has, that no wall or door, no roof or floor will be able to hide the omnipresent eyes from watching you. Stevan Spielberg is trying to tell us that we cannot allow the government to have complete control over us in such a way, for if we do, we may as well allow the governing body to watch over us 24/7 using a “gods eye view”, with only small insignificant pieces of our lives allowed to remain private based on the randomosity of this opaque glass; metaphoric for the small parts of our lives today where we are truly free from the scrutiny of a higher power. A higher power deciding if every action or word spoken is acceptable by this status quo. Ensuring we align to the governments idea of a “perfect world”. The extent of this physical oppression is evident when to escape the identification of the government, John will go so far as to have his eyes removed entirely, replaced by someone else whom chooses to conform with society. This can be seen when the spiders find John in the ice bath, and force him to open his eyes for “identification”. This serves as a metaphor that whilst the government were in control, the only way to avoid their scrutiny was to destroy an individuals identity all together. As the saying goes, the eyes are the window to the soul, and yet John is so oppressed by this all powerful entity, he is willing to give up his “soul” to achieve the freedom of choice he desires. In almost a perfect parallel to “Nineteen Eighty-Four”, these simple invasions of privacy show to what degree the government controls the citizens of a futuristic Washington D.C, with the sole purpose to remain in control after all. The idea of individualism being exterminated is a common theme within this dystopian world and is observable equally within our next text.

“A Clockwork Orange” is an unconventional take on a dystopian future. Written by Anthony Burgess,  “Alex”; our main protagonist and narrator, and his “droogs” have an unquenchable thirst for ultra-violence. However when the state eventually do catch up with him, its apparent they will go to any measures necessary to ensure he conforms to the “good”. Through a fictional language, “Nadsat” based of a Russian influenced english, Anthony Burgess provides a thought provoking take on how the government are only interested in the status quo and ensuring people conform to their ideas and valuations of good vs bad. Alex describes his humanity when explaining to the reader that he chooses to be bad… “All right, I do bad, what with crasting and tolchocks and carves with the britva and the old in-out-in-out, and if i get loveted, well, too bad for me, O my little brothers, and you cant run a country with every chelloveck comporting himself in my manner of the night. So if i get loveted and its three months in this mesto and another six in that, and then, as P.R Deltoid so kindly warns, next time, in spite of the great tenderness of my summers, brothers, its the great unearthy zoo itself, well, i say ‘Fair, but a pity, my lords, because i just cannot bear to shut in. My endeavour shall be, in such future as stretches out its snowy and lilywhite arms to me before the nozh overtakes or the blood spatters its final chorus in twisted metal and smashed glass on the highroad, to not get loveted again.’ In this passage it is clear to me that Anthony Burgess is telling the reader that, Alex understands he is doing bad. He knows that rape, murder, robbery and fighting are all crimes, however it is things he is willing to go to jail for. He doesn’t resent this, in fact recognises that to run the country you cannot be running around the night, part-taking in the acts that he does but all the same, whilst he is still breathing, he will continue to evade the sentences he inevitably is condoned with so that he can continue in the manner he enjoys to continue with. It shows us as the reader that Alex is willing to risk it all to live his own life. In my opinion this is our human right. To be able to choose how and where to spend our energy whilst we are on this earth and without this, we become creatures without individualism. Robots. In fact Alex’s gripe isn’t with the rules and regulations that make him bad, but rather the constant analysis of why he does what he does… “But, brothers, this biting of their toe-nails over what is the cause of badness is what turns me into a fine laughing malchick. They don’t go into the cause of goodness, so why the other shop? if lewdies are good its because they like it, and i wouldn’t interfere with their pleasures, and so of the other shop. And i was patronising the other shop. More, badness is of the self, the one, the you or me on our oddy knockies, and that self is made by old Bog or God and is his great pride and radosty. But the not-self cannot have the bad, meaning they of the government and the judges and the schools cannot allow the bad because they cannot allow the self. And is it not our modern history, my brothers, the story of brave malenky selves fighting these big machines? I am serious with you, brothers, over this. But what i do i do because i like to do.” It is here Anthony Burgess poses the question, why do we pluck apart the bad, without ever focusing on what makes us good in the first place. In fact, without bad, giving us an equal and opposite image to good, what does good even mean? Our history books have been written and rewritten in such a way that the only history we remember is the “good” in which brave people tackle the big, life threatening problems in our world. But without this bad in the first place, we would have no good. Alex understands what makes him behave the way he does. Its not poor parenting and bad infleunces and such, but rather “baddness is of the self, the one, the you or me on our oddy knockies, and that self is made by old Bog or God.” “Badness” is simply a way of life for some people, it is who they are. Who they choose to be. And without this choice we are simply not human but rather beings who conform to whatever we are told to conform to. The government in this text, much like the governments in both “Minority Report” and “Nineteen Eigthy-Four” wish to oppress its citizens to simply doing what they are told. By taking away there choices and individualism, including the choice to be “bad”. 

“2+2=5” by Radiohead is a modern day warning about the society we have been warned about for decades now. Released in 2003, some 59 years after the release of “Nineteen Eighty-Four” it is clear the similarities the song lyrics share with the novella. 2+2=5 is a parallel with the ideas of doublethink in George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four”; this idea that one can hold two opinions, both cancelling out each-others logic but believing in them simultaneously all the same. 

“I’ll lay down the tracks, Sandbag and hide, January has April showers and two and two always makes a five”

In this passage i believe Radiohead are referring to the population who are working for a cause simply because they are sold on a concept that is not true. They do the bidding of those who are in control because they believe the propaganda they are fed, which is inevitably leading to their demise. In “Nineteen Eighty-Four” we see this exact concept with Winston working for the records department, creating and destroying records where and when he is told to. We also see this in “Minority Report” where John is tasked with arresting criminals before they have actually committed the crime simply because he is told that it is an inevitable future. In our modern society we also see this, with journalists and writers heavily influenced by their producers about the content they can and cant produce. An example is in North Korea where there is a complete ban on western culture. Citizens caught buying a selling items that are deemed westernised are fined and imprisoned by the state. It is this freedom of choice that is constantly being stripped of us that all these examples of dystopian literature are screaming at us to notice. The corruption of power has begun to take over our society, making us believe our actions and choices are our own whilst simultaneously being told where to-place our feet and what words to speak at any given moment. Radiohead use “January has April showers” to bring home this message by referring to a concept that is very familiar to our modern society. Global warming. We are told this is not an issue by capitalistic figures in our society such as Donald Trump, simply for their own benefit. There empires of business are often built of the very resources we are expending at a rapid rate, and so to preserve their relative wealth they will go to any measure to brainwash the public into a alternative reality, even whilst scientific professionals can conclude the damage that is being caused to our flora and fauna. 

“I try to sing along, but the music’s all wrong, cause I’m not, cause I’m not”

In this verse, Radiohead refer to the concept that to “sing along”, is to conform to the status quo. It would be nice to simply accept the status quo and sing along with society’s chants, but knowing the truth of the situation makes the music unbearable. Propaganda loses its effectiveness when people are educated. Radiohead can’t simply stand by and pretend that they fully believe it anymore. They use this parallel with “Nineteen Eighty-Four”  where Winston Smith attends the “Two Minutes Hate,” a daily period during which the members of the Party must express their hatred towards Oceania’s enemies and love of Big Brother. Towards the end of the two minutes, Winston’s coworkers become excessively emotional and begin to chant. Later in the novel, Winston, enlightened by his relationship with rebellious girlfriend Julia, finds himself increasingly unable to empathise with the Party’s propaganda. The music is all wrong; the messages don’t make sense anymore. Radiohead, as well as George Orwell are trying to translate the point to the reader whereby, Knowledge is the first stage of rejecting the constant stream of lies and propaganda that is constantly fed to us by this higher power. 

Literature is essential to human society for many reasons; chiefly due to its function as a means of helping us to think about ourselves, our lives and each other within our societal and political structures, it makes us more aware of the world we live in. Literature hands us the tools to decipher our world and consider alternative perspectives and ideas to those we currently hold.  This idea is key within dystopian novels, in which an idea common among all dystopias is the corruption of power and the totalitarianism this generates. Through the following texts, “Nineteen Eighty-Four” by George Orwell, “Minority Report” by Stevan Spielberg, “A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess and finally the lyrics of “2+2=5” by Radiohead, I have identified the connections they hold with one another, and the true calamity that the corruption of power has on society and how these dystopias all ultimately achieve the same goal; to warn our modern society about the true nature of power.

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