1984 And The Second Coming


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In the early twentieth-century, many people felt as if their societies were headed for a horrible downfall. With the Great Depression taking place, many people found great comfort in those individuals who rose to the occasion to help the people. Those such as Hitler, who promised jobs and a better life, also provided a scapegoat, just as Big Brother did in 1984, written by George Orwell. However, there were also those individuals who felt that the world was going to come to a rapid end if people did not learn to appreciate the things that had been given to them, as William Yeats speaks of in "The Second Coming". In both pieces, the author has a very evident fear of the future and what is to come.
"The blood-dimmed tied is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned". As many currently see our society today, Yeats was in fear of what the future had in store, and felt it necessary to warn society of their abominable behavior. All of the good in the society has been taken over and overwhelmed by the horrible actions. No longer do ceremonies, or acts of kindness, take place, which Yeats believes is a direct effect of the loss of youth and innocence. "That twenty centuries of stony sleep were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle". This quote from "The Second Coming" informs the society that if they do not begin to correct their transgressions against one another as a whole they will awake the anti-Christ. The anti-Christ will come to claim his Jesus and correct the predicament that they have gotten themselves in to.
Also on its way to becoming very stagnant and progressing at a very slow rate economically, was the community in 1984. With all of the power in the hands of one individual, Big Brother, there were constant wars, withholding the economy at its current position. In the novel, there is an evident amount of those who have lost their individual self. People are no longer allowed to maintain personal beliefs and must believe what the party tells them to. "And if the party says that it is not four but five- then how many?" "Four." (Orwell 273). By forcing the party members to say that two plus two equals five is an example of mental control.

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With such strict mental control there is no room in the government to allow individual freedom for the fear that a person might express their dislike to the government, causing an imperfection that the government may be against.
In Yeats' poem, "The Second Coming", he gives the impression that the world is becoming far too consumed in their own personal well-being. Yeats feels as if the early twentieth-century society were to become less worried about their own personal being, and start caring more about the way that God views them, then the fear of an "inhuman world" would not be so evident.
When writing 1984, Orwell wanted the reader to come to the conclusion that if a society does not learn from mistakes that have been previously made in the past, we are doomed to repeat them. The party slogan reads "Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the future controls the past"(Orwell 39). This slogan proves to the reader, as well as the party members that the party understood the power of history. By constantly changing and reconstructing the past to satisfy the party officials, the citizens of Oceania believe what they have been told. Most of them have not noticed, or are too afraid to say if they have noticed the constant change in the historical information. Strong, early twentieth-century government leaders, such as Hitler, also practiced the destroying of documented history such as reference books and newspaper. Hitler, as well as Orwell, knew that history is mutable, and this also proves that this type of changes that lead to the death of culture and freedom.
Both of the works portray the fears and concerns that may become evident if we do not correct our flaws and foibles as a society. If the errors in society are not corrected, we are uncertain of the outcome that will be obtained by our mistakes. These mistakes will become evident when it is too late to fix the damage that has already been done.

Works Cited
Orwell, George. 1984. Evanston, Illinois: McDougal Little, 1998.
Yeats, William Butler. "The Second Coming." 1921.


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