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The Panoptic Eye In George Orwell's The Past Controls The Past?

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George Orwell, 20th century award winning novelist of 1984 wrote, “ He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” This quote was meant as a warning against totalitarian rule. Within the book 1984, the panoptic gaze instills a sense of fear within the people as even their language is altered to aid the Party in their mission to dominate society. The Matrix applies a much more literal reality of a panopticon, and the surveillance of humans goes deeper than just monitoring and swaying behavior, as their actions are all controlled and premeditated. Stranger things comes closer to our own government, as the big brother in this t.v. show is a group of scientists with ambiguous intentions who spy on…show more content…
Parents begin to fear even their children, who are capable of landing them in jail. This establishes relationships built on distrust, further distancing people and disabling the ability to form social bonds. This is best portrayed in the scene where Winston visits his neighbors, the Parsons. Mrs. Parsons is visibly shaken the whole time, as her children keep a watchful eye over their conversation. It seems ridiculous to fear children, especially your own children, but as the kids had their own father thrown into jail, it makes sense for Mrs. Parsons to feel afraid and distanced from her children. As each person feels alone and alienated under big brother’s watchful eye, they have no choice but to build the only relationship and bond they can, with that of their oppressor. The knowledge that the thought police watches the citizen’s every move influences the masses towards a “norm” of a constant state of fear and discipline resulting in utmost loyalty to Big Brother. Also, because people have no idea when they’re being watched, they learn to behave as if always under scrutiny. This transforms people into their own forms of a panoptic gaze, policing their own thoughts and actions from the fear of possible surveillance. Foucault refers to it as “ becoming the bearers of our own oppression”. Aside from establishing a norm for behavior, the panoptic gaze and thought police also exhibit deadly force on those who display what they consider abnormal behavior. When Winston and a woman named Julia from his workplace commit the crime of falling in love and starting a relationship as an act of rebellion, the thought police capture them and take them to the Ministry of Love. Ironically here , they are tortured until no feelings of love or treason remain.
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