Commonly misunderstood, post apocalyptic authors are actually trying to convey warning messages to ensure the sovereignty of human ideals and to retain them in face of utter turmoil. Post apocalyptic authors create an imaginative dull society in a realistic scenario where individuals with moral values and ideals still exist and rise up against the oppressive government through following their own beliefs.
In the post apocalyptic novel “1984”, the author George Orwell portrays a totalitarian society inspired by Franco’s totalitarian Spain; where an individual rose up against the propaganda presented by the government which is a prime example of idealism provided by a post-apocalyptic author. Even in the midst of all oppression, George Orwell still provides hope for humanity through little hidden examples in the novel which symbolize that humanity would always revolt against oppression- an ideal Orwell deeply holds in his heart.
Another idealism that Orwell provides in his novel is that, even under a lot of pressure and torture humans tend to never let their feelings and emotions get altered. According to the points stated above, post-apocalyptic authors provide idealism in the midst of pessimism to make society believe and follow their ideals more often. The society in “1984” is a dystopian and totalitarian society where the government holds absolute power and control over the society. They invade the privacy of people, make loyal followers through propaganda.
One huge use of the propaganda by the government is “WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. ”(Orwell, 4) Using this slogan, the government is trying to manipulate people into believing that war is the solution towards peace, if people are free then they would be unhappy and not knowing something develops strength. Thus the government is trying to oppress people like Franco’s Spain, where Franco also used propaganda such as exploiting the Republicans’ anti-clericalism to appease the Carlists and thus securing his place in politics.
But Winston Smith- a man with moral ethnicity felt out of place in that abominable society. He still had a shred of conscience left in him that made him raise questions about the propaganda that the government represented. He didn’t accept the fact that the government was trying to narrow the range of thoughts of the people in that society. The government tried to demolish all the events that happened in the past in order to strip them off the truth and manipulating their minds. But Winston made efforts to discover the past, to reveal the propaganda that the government had been playing to cover the past events. Do you realize that the past, starting from yesterday, has been actually abolished? If it survives anywhere, it’s in a few solid objects with no words attached to them, like that lump of glass there. Already we know almost literally nothing about the Revolution and the years before the Revolution. Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, and every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day-by-day and minute-by-minute.
History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right. I know, of course, that the past is falsified, but it would never be possible for me to prove it, even when I did the falsification myself. After the thing is done, no evidence ever remains. The only evidence is inside my own mind, and I don’t know with any certainty that any other human being shares my memories. Just in that one instance, in my whole life, I did possess actual concrete evidence after the event – years after it. (2. 5. 14, Winston to Julia) Winston believed that even if the government controlled information, one can provide correct evidence and prove the falseness of the evidence that government provided- even if only inside one’s memory. Knowing the correct form of information is a step towards climbing out of the hole of ignorance that the many governments in the past and present tried to implant into societies. Orwell tried to warn people of these propaganda through this novel, and encouraged people to hold onto their ideals.
There are always people out there who are trying to create a better life even if there is seemingly no hope left. In “1984” Winston was once listening to a prole woman singing a song which had a gloomy and dark tone. Proles are people who belong to the lower class as mentioned in the novel. Now the woman was singing the song in such a way that made it sound delightful and had a sweet tone floating along with it. Listening to her, Winston realized that people still held hope deep within their consciousness, and that’s what made the monotonous song so beautiful to listen to.
Humanity always strives even in the face of aggression and oppression, enduring everything that are thrown at it. Hope is something that can’t fully be taken away through sheer pressure and control. Orwell tried to justify this in his novel with the example of the prole woman. Stephen Hawking, a renowned theoretical physicist and cosmologist, had to receive special needs for a huge portion of his life. But he never gave up, even though his motion later became limited to a wheelchair and had to use a computer to project his thoughts.
His willpower and devotion towards science kept him going, and he made groundbreaking discoveries in quantum physics. Orwell posted this ideal in a hopeless surrounding to make it pierce through the hearts of the readers making them compassionate for the ideals that he tried to represent. In a society where the government monitor each actions of an individual, where your thoughts are limited and are being narrowed down, it’s inevitable that any secret revolt against the government would be unveiled eventually.
Both Winston and his beloved Julia knew that. However, Winston firmly stated that the government could never alter their inner consciousness no matter how they manipulated them. “They could not alter your feelings; for that matter you could not alter them yourself, even if you wanted to. They could lay bare in the utmost detail everything you had done or said or thought; but the inner heart, whose workings were mysterious even to yourself, remained impregnable. (Orwell 167) Even if the world becomes corrupted and rotten, the feelings held deep within one’s heart will never subside; it will carry on like a blazing fire proudly lit in a dim place. Orwell illustrates this flickering of humanity in a gloomy dark dystopian society as a way to scatter idealism throughout generations and to enhance people into believing that humanity is always retained no matter what disasters are brought upon societies.
A prime example in reality of this can be seen amongst Mahatma Gandhi’s actions. When the Indian Subcontinent was controlled by the British Company, the British attempted to put down all the Indian made wares and sell their own wares instead. But Gandhi revolted against it, convincing all his people to be real patriots and abandon all British Cargoes. Even under great control and terrorism, Gandhi and his followers made a remarkable mark in showing true compassion and standing with their own feelings and beliefs.
In the end, it’s up to every single individuals in the society to hold onto their idealism and beliefs to make humanity strive in the never-ending struggle of totalitarism and false propaganda. People need to be aware of post-apocalyptic societies in order to take proper actions and precautions against it. Hence post-apocalyptic authors such as George Orwell tends to be pessimistic in their novels to awaken people against these threats, thus encouraging everyone to make decisions based on their ideals and morals.