Alienation in 1984

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In 1984 In the novel 1984 by George Orwell there are many causes which lead to Winston Smith’s alienation. Winston lives in the dystopian society known as Oceania, which is controlled by the “Party” and a dictator named “Big Brother. ” “Big Brother” watches over and controls the thoughts and actions of the citizens in Oceania. Winston feels oppressed by the control of the “Party”. The actions of the “Party” affect Winston and lead him to feel alienated. To alienate is to make someone feel indifferent.

One way alienation is defined as is, “alienation, in social sciences, the state of feeling estranged or separated from one’s milieu, work, products of work, or self”. (Alienation Society) In 1984 it is very evident that the “Party” is one of the factors that could have led to Winston Smith’s alienation. In Oceania, all of the citizens are controlled and watched over by “Big Brother”. This total control has caused Winston to think differently of everyone. He feels that he is the only person in Oceania that thinks freely.

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Winston’s free thinking leads him to believe that he is different from the world around him. The ability to have freedom of thought caused him to feel indifferent and isolated from everyone. This has led to his alienation. According to Discover Your Mind alienation creates isolation and vice versa, “Alienation can produce isolation. The person’s values have become different from the norm. ” (Alienation discover-your-mind) and it also causes one’s views to be drastically change. Oceania is controlled by a totalitarian group called the “Party”.

Totalitarianism is a form of government which seeks to take away freedom and forces individuals to live by the values of their government. The way they rule the people takes away all of their freedom. There are many crimes in place that keep everyone “equal”. The government was a great factor to his alienation. This is even true in real life, “Already, Fromm observes, contemporary forms of communism and of capitalism (or “managerial industrialism”) appear to have begun the process of alienation, even without benefit of war. (Deery) Alienation can start from many places and this shows the government is one of them. It can be seen that Winston’s life was a living hell, “Nineteen Eighty-Four has successfully recreated the idea of hell and endowed it with an immediacy and significance…” (Pittock) The “Party” made life miserable for him and the rest of Oceania. The actions of the “Party” set off a domino effect on Winston that led him towards his alienation. Winston’s rebelliousness creates a barrier between him and the rest of Oceania. He often committed thoughtcrimes which are rebellious thoughts that seen as illegal by the “Party”. Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime is death” (Orwell) Winston committed these thoughtcrimes through a diary that he purchased. In his diary he wrote about his hate for Oceania and his other feelings. Even riskier, he once wrote down in his diary “Down with Big Brother” (Orwell) a thought which would get him sentenced to death. “The thought police would get him just the same. He had committed –would have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper-the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it.

Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you. ” (Orwell) The “Party” wants to completely dispose all freedom of thought. Anything related to free will is considered illegal. Winston’s isolation is apparent through his rebelliousness, because no other citizen of Oceania has the courage to commit such crimes. In a way, Winston’s actions cause his own alienation. Winston’s loneliness also leads to alienation. The very limited social interaction caused Winston to feel lonely.

He feels that he has no one to talk to about his thoughts aside from his useless wife. The dislike of his wife does not help loneliness, but make his alienation even worse. He ultimately feels alienated by her. He also has no family left. The disappearance of his parents and sister were most likely caused by the “Party”. This fuels his hatred for the “Party”, and pushes him away from the thought of having a “Big Brother”. Having no close family of friends causes Winston to believe that he is different from everyone which is alienation.

Another crime that Winston committed leading to more alienation was his affair with Julia. Having sexual relationships with another person was frowned upon by the “Party”. This was not an actually law, but these values were encouraged by the anti-sex league. The “Party” believed that having sexual relations would develop feelings, which were seen to be illegal. Winston did have a hatred for the opposite sex, “He disliked nearly all women, and especially the young and pretty ones, who were the most bigoted adherents of the party, the swallowers of slogans, the amateur spies and nosers-out of unorthodoxy. (Orwell) Winston was attracted to Julia who was an exception to his hatred and they ended up rebelling against the “Party’s” value. Because of their secret relationship, he started to develop feelings for Julia, which causes him to become even more alienated. Another factor that didn’t help was the fact that the complete surveillance of life prevented them from having a private life, “With that development, the totalization of surveillance of Party members, not only does private life come to an end, but so does the possibility of sexual desire as truly liberating. (Fitzpatrick) Not being able to have sexual relations affected Winston and added to his alienation. Their relationship ended up in the hands of the “Party” The powerlessness that Winston feels also leads to alienation. Everyone is powerless under the control of the “Party”. The “Party” gave Winston the role of changing all the history books to improve the views of the “Party”. Winston was not a fan of altering the past, but it was his job. Even though he was powerless, he had hope that one day the “Party” will be overthrown.

This made him different from everyone else. The lack of power had caused everyone give up all hope. Winston being the only one who believed differently knew that there was hope. According Kathleen Fitzpatrick Winston does have high hopes for freedom: Winston maintains, throughout the novel, two avenues of hope for a life outside the confines of the Party and the watchful eyes of Big Brother, a life which may undermine or even overthrow the Party’s hold on Oceania. One of these possibilities is conscious, spoken: the proles.

Just as Marx foresaw, in the nineteenth century, that the Revolution would come from a spontaneous uprising of the proletariat as they shook off the chains of their oppressors, so Winston writes in his diary that if there is hope, it lies in this 85 percent of Oceania’s population that exists outside the confines of the Party. And yet, the impossibility of a proletarian uprising presents itself to him at every turn. Echoing Marx, Winston writes: “Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious. And, unfortunately, he is right; as O’Brien admonishes Winston in the Ministry of Love, “The proletarians will never revolt, not in a thousand years or a million. They cannot. ” Thus this small bit of hope is crushed. (Fitzpatrick) No one else in Oceania thinks the way Winston does. This type of thinking secludes from him the other citizens thus causing Winston to feel alienated. The lack of privacy caused much paranoia in Winston. Everything he did, whether rebellious or not, he was scared of getting caught.

His fear finally became true. He trusted the wrong people and was caught with Julia. Winston was one of the few people to be caught going against the views of the “Party”. This caused Winston to feel different from the people in Oceania. The people of Oceania will view him as different for rebelling against the “Party”. They will all know him as the one who went against the “Party. Winston became isolated from the citizens and in this isolation he was tortured until the point he was brainwashed and completely controlled by the “Party”.

These events have caused him to feel indifferent from everyone. Winston feels alienated because of this. The main source of Winston’s alienation was because of the “Party”. The total control of Oceania took away all freedom. The laws and values set by the “Party” were ridiculous and invaded and robbed the privacy of the citizens. The “Party” which is a totalitarian group is similar to many of the dictators in the past. In the past during the rule of dictators there would be a person or a group of people who thought differently from them.

This utter control can be very bad of an individual, “an attack on totalitarianism and a warning that absolute power in the hands of any government can deprive a people of basic freedoms” (Explanation of Nineteen Eighty-four) all of the freewill of the people would be completely vanished. The laws and followers of the government would alienate those who thought otherwise. In this case, it’s Winston who thought in a different way. Winston thought and wrote freely. He had a diary to jot down his feelings. He had an illegal affair with Julia.

No other person in Oceania has done this or admitted to doing this. This makes Winston believe that he is the only person of his kind in Oceania. Winston thinks that he is being alienated. The actions of the “Party” triggered a chain of reactions from Winston that is seen as illegal or looked down on. Even though the “Party” was the main source of his alienation, it can be seen that it was his own fault. He could have resisted thinking freely, but he thought it. He did not have to own a diary for him write down his hatred for the “Party” or his general feelings about life and Oceania.

These actions made him different from the other citizens. Winston even knew that he was different from everyone. He started to feel estranged from the people. In the end Winston’s alienation was caused by actions of the “Party” which led to his own personal actions.

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Alienation in 1984. (2016, Oct 22). Retrieved from

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