Revisiting an introduction to George Orwell’s 1984.
Revisiting an introduction to George Orwell’s 1984. It is less than a year since Donald Trump took office. It is clear that his actions are leading to the subversion of American institutions. Government agencies exist for the sole purpose of restructuring themselves. The Department of Justice is still far from embracing the notion of justice for all. The Supreme Court is defending the federal government, not the people. The Civil Rights Movement has been set back, and minority rights are being trampled upon! Has Orwell’s 1984 been updated for our generations? Are the being revised for his campaign, his subsequent election. His follow through, has many people re-reading this science fiction novel. This has much to do with his flipping the purpose of American institutions. Institutions such as the EPA and the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice is now under Jeff Sessions. You may recall that he fought against the Civil Rights movement. The Environmental Protection Agency is deregulating controls on the protection of the environment. Looking at an introduction to 1984 might be useful in evaluating the present situation.
Ricardo Montoya Ochoa
George Orwell‘s 1984, like many works of literature, unmistakably carries with it literary traditions reaching back to the earliest of storytellers. Among the literary traditions that Orwell uses is the concept of utopia, which he distorts effectively for his own purposes. Utopia, or Nowhere Land, is an ideal place or society in which human beings realize a perfect existence, a place without suffering or human malady. Orwell did not originate this genre. In fact, the word utopia is taken from Sir Thomas More’s Utopia, written in 1516. The word is now used to describe any place considered to be perfect.
In 1984, Orwell creates a technologically advanced world in which fear is used as a tool for manipulating and controlling individuals who do not conform to the prevailing political orthodoxy. In his attempt to educate the reader about the consequences of certain political philosophies and the defects of human nature, Orwell manipulates and usurps the utopian tradition and creates a dystopia, a fictional setting in which life is extremely bad from deprivation, oppression, or terror. Orwell’s dystopia is a place where humans have no control over their own lives, where nearly every positive feeling is squelched, and where people live in misery, fear, and repression.
The setting of 1984 is Oceania, a giant country comprised of the Americas; the Atlantic Islands, including the British Isles; Australia; and the southern portion of Africa. Oceania’s mainland is called Air Strip One, formerly England. The story itself takes place in London in the year 1984, a terrifying place and time where the human spirit and freedom are all but crushed. In the novel, war is constant. The main character, Winston Smith, born before the World War II, grew up knowing only hunger and political instability, and many of the things that he experiences are hyperboles of real activities in wartime Germany and the Soviet Union.
It is important to remember that Orwell based 1984 on the facts as he knew them; hunger, shortages, and repression actually happened as a result of the extreme governmental policies of these countries. The war hysteria, the destruction of the family unit, the persecution of “free thinkers” or those who were “different” or not easily assimilated into the party doctrine, the changing of history to suit the party’s agenda, were all too real. Orwell’s speculation of the future is actually a creative extension of how the masses were treated under Franco, Hitler, and Stalin.
By setting 1984 in London, Orwell is able to invoke the atmosphere of a real war-torn community, where people live in “wooden dwellings like chicken houses” in bombed-out clearings. His intent clearly was to capitalize on a memory that every reader, especially a British reader, was likely to have. London in 1984, then, becomes not just a make-believe place where bad things happen to unknown people, but a very real geographical spot that still holds some connection for the modern reader.
In 1984, the world is sliced into three political realms — the super states of Oceania, Eastasia, and Eurasia. Orwell drew these lines fairly consistent with the political distribution of the Cold War era beginning after World War II. Each of these three states is run by a totalitarian government that is constantly warring on multiple fronts. By creating an entire world at war, Orwell not only creates a terrifying place, but he also eliminates the possibility of escape for Winston, who is forced to live within his present circumstances, horrible and unremitting as they are.
Oceania’s political structure is divided into three segments: the Inner Party, the ultimate ruling class, consisting of less than 2 percent of the population; the Outer Party, the educated workers, numbering around 18 to 19 percent of the population; and the Proles, or the proletariat, the working class. Although the Party (Inner and Outer) does not see these divisions as true “classes,” it is clear that Orwell wants the reader to see the class distinctions. For a socialist such as Orwell, class distinctions mean the existence of conflict and class struggle. In Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union, for example, the few people who comprised the ruling class had a much higher standard of living than the masses, but in these nations, as in 1984, revolt was all but impossible.
Lin and I took a quick shopping trip to Morelia to get our medicine, get groceries and do other shopping. Morelia is about an hour’s driving time from our home in Patzcuaro. The day started out a bit overcast, cool, with a little bit of rain.
Here are pictures taken a stop to get gasoline for our car. You can see how the weather was early in the day.
By the time we got to Costco, the sun had come out and it got warmer. We got our med and did some looking around to see what was new. Turns out that they had moved many things around. So we are going to have to orient ourselves again. Lots of stuff to see. Christmas season is upon us, or will soon be as seen by the displays of Christmas trees and decorations. One time caught my fancy. Don’t know if you can tell that the Carousel was in motion turning.
I noticed at the Costco pharmacy a sign saying that for every peso contributed by it’s customers to the disaster relief fund for the earthquake and hurricane areas, that they would match the contribution by the same amount. Glad we found a place to do this. There were many places in both Patzcuaro and Morelia where on could take food, clothing and other items. But what really helps is cash.
Onward to Walmart Super-center. We need a few more things that we could only find at Walmart. They have the best produce, and many goods imported from the US. So we got those and head toward the exit a bit tired by now. Walmart anywhere in the world it seems, does things ass backwards! Line were long even with many cashiers open. There were to stations that were supposed to be specially for seniors and customers with their own ecology approved shopping bags. Both were closed. I went to customer service to complain. They said that they would send someone over but they never did! Finally got out of there even more tired. But we still were trying to find a couple of items lacking from our list. So off to McDonald’s for a burger and just a bit of relaxation before continuing. But that was not to be!
I felt this as good photo op to illustrate Fall season in our area. This is from the produce section at Walmart.
McDonald’s was so noisy that the server could not hear our order. Kid were screaming, our minds were echoing those tiny screechy voices. But we did get food and drink, enough to continue to our next destination, Chedraui. This is a really cool supermarket that often has American and foreign staples not found elsewhere. We did find most of those things remaining on our shopping list. Only thing is that it was taking forever for the cashier to keep the line moving and then it stopped! Was this a curse that was going to follow us from store to store? Cashiers were tallying long lists. I did not get it why they had stopped doing their normal work. Got a good answer. Shoppers were donating item to disaster relief. The store would be moving those goods to those in need. So that needed to have an accurate accounting of the items. So I have little to complain about in that regard.
Grandma Montoya, Dad’s mom crossed from Mexico into the United States in 1910. She lived a quiet life in El Paso, Texas. She raised sons and daughters Three of her sons joined the military and went off to war. Over the years, she never thought of applying for citizenship. Later, when she wants to visit a daughter in Mexico, she was told that if she did that, she would not be able to return home. Dad was born in Texas in the town of Stanton. I don’t know if that makes him the first generation of the Montoya’s born in the United States? Dad had four kids, three sons, and one daughter. I was of course on of the sons. I don’t know if that would make us second generation Americans?
My grandparents could be called undocumented immigrants. Let’s put this into historical context. Around the turn of the century, there were few requirements for entering the country. You paid for an entry card and that was about that there was to it. The US and Mexico were equal in most ways. So begs the question, what changed?
So I am starting to feel like I am not a legitimated American. If you can follow the chain of evidence you might come to the same conclusion. Grandparents upon entering the country did not apply for citizenship. Could it be, that their sons and daughters shouldn’t for citizenship themselves? What about their children? So that might well bring into question my status and, that of my own children.
Is there such a thing as an illegal alien?