1984 is a dystopian novel written by George Orwell that depicts a world divided into three massive countries, Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia. One of these countries, Oceania is ruled by an oppressive character called, Big Brother. Big Brother is the almighty ruler of the country and is admired by all. The government is subdivided into four different authorities, the Ministry of Love, Ministry of Truth, Ministry of Plenty, and Ministry of Peace. Each one of these “Ministries” acts as a withholding power in order to reduce the amount of knowledge and goods and to maintain the solid line drawn between social classes.
In 1984 society is divided into three social classes, the Inner Party, the Outer Party, and the proles with the first being the strongest. The division between the classes depicted in 1984 and the forms in which these divisions are upheld are crucial points connected with Marxist theory. Constant war ensues in 1984 and acts as a form in which the Party maintains control over their subjects and keeps them from revolting and climbing social barriers.
The Inner Party uses the war as way of explaining the loss of goods and through that explanation the Inner Party provides all of the goods to the Outer Party. By granting items of low quality such as “Victory Gin, Victory Cigarettes, Victory Coffee etc” to the Outer Party, the Inner Party maintains constant control over them since they cannot gain by themselves their essential goods. War also acts as a form of projecting the people’s feelings towards a common goal.
Instead of thinking of love or freedom or other positive emotions, the feelings of all the people are directed towards the constant ensuing war. Another form of projection of emotions used by the Party is the “Two Minutes of Hate” which is also used to transform the positive emotions of the people and turn them into negative ones towards the enemies of Oceania which changes from Eurasia to Eastasia. The war acts as a source of distraction in order to direct the people’s lives towards a common goal which is the war instead of looking for freedom.
War is essential to the Party in maintaining the divisions between the social classes. Central to Marxist theory is the division of the social classes. In order to maintain this division in 1984, the Party uses the Ministry of Truth in order to erase the facts of the past and change them to favor Big Brother and the Party. By altering the past and creating a new past everyone will always be in favor of the Party and in the present stay in their respective social classes. “If the past and the present exist only n the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable- what then? ” (1984, 99)If this constant altering of the past is continued in the future the Party’s goal is to keep everyone in their own social stratum. The proles are the only ones that are in control of their mind and know the real truth, but since they are the bottom of the social status they are considered ignorant, and their knowledge ignored. The altering of the past is used to keep the strict division between the social classes.