How Orwell’s “1984” Challenges Information Control and Thought Manipulation

1984 depicts a society where Big Brother manipulates information and language to control people. The novel remains relevant today, challenging the status quo and encouraging critical thinking.

In 1984, you will find things that won’t just challenge your world but challenge the entire world. What is 1984 about? It describes a world where “war is peace” and “ignorance is strength.” It’s about a Big Brother who controls people’s lives, especially their thoughts. How does he do it, you might ask? How are millions of people convinced, subjugated, persuaded to think what Big Brother wants?

Big Brother controls information because if you control the information given to people, you control those people. He controls what people read, hear, and listen to because if you fill people’s heads with gossip, nonsense, and trivialities, they will end up talking only about gossip, nonsense, and trivialities. In 1984, entire departments and factories work non-stop producing trashy newspapers talking only about sports, crime, and astrology, films oozing with sex, and sentimental songs.

Big Brother changes the meaning and sense of words, alters, and rewrites history because if you control the past, you also control people’s present. If you control the words they use, you control their thoughts as well. Does this sound familiar? Remember when Peter Pan, The Diary of Anne Frank, and To Kill a Mockingbird were censored? When Christopher Columbus’s statue was torn down? Perhaps you don’t know that most books targeted by cancel culture deal with America’s racist past.

And no, it’s no coincidence that 1984 has been discouraged for students because it “contains material that could be unsettling and dangerous.” And they are right; it is undoubtedly dangerous, but not for the youth—it’s dangerous for the status quo. Heaven forbid they start doing what Winston did and begin doing the most dangerous thing for all governments, nations, powerful entities, and Big Brothers of today and yesterday: think.


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