Special to the Mirror, submitted by Michael Jordan.
Art imitates life and vice versa. Some of the greatest works in literature turned out to predict major events throughout the history. It is important not to forget that well known authors decide to write their novels after being inspired by the society of some era.
When discussing the relationship between society and art, it is impossible to neglect the connection between George Orwell’s most famous work “1984” and society today. In fact, the book and our environment nowadays can be compared in more ways than one, which is the primary purpose of this essay. George Orwell successfully played the role of Nostradamus and wrote a book that perfectly depicts the world we live in today.
In George Orwell’s famous novel, almost all private and public places feature large TV screens that only broadcast government propaganda, news, and of course, the approved entertainment. At the same time, these large screens are two-way monitors which spy on people’s private lives. Nowadays, we have easy access to media which, also, aims to display government propaganda, news, and entertainment.
Although we try to convince ourselves thinking entertainment today is largely “free”, that is not the case. Social media websites such as Facebook track our likes, dislikes, even messages.
The surveillance spreads to other websites we use daily. We may not have a two-way screen that tracks our every move, but there are multiple ways to get spied on and it is impossible to escape.
The similarities between George Orwell’s book and modern society also stretch to the endless global war. The novel describes a global war that has been going on since forever and shows no signs of slowing down. Moreover, the main hero, Winston Smith, realizes that enemy keeps changing. Things are not much different war-wise.
The United States fight wars for decades, with differing minor nations, along with Russia, Turkey, The United Kingdom, France, and many others. The so-called war on terror has no end in sight and its only “accomplishment” is spreading fear among the American public.
Furthermore, the key way Big Brother gained the tremendous power was through mind manipulation of the people. Big Brother erased history, changed facts, and rewrote past in a bid to favor a communist agenda.
Winston Churchill said: “History is written by the victors.” The quote perfectly describes the past, present, and the future. Those in power, i.e. victors, have the ability to not only rule in present but to “rewrite” what happened before. If we were to ask any historian or even students, whose major is history, they would instantly name all those times certain historical facts were rewritten just to conform someone’s political agenda.
Orwell’s 1984 is more than a brilliant work of art and one of the most important works in the literature. One can easily compare the book with reality, today’s modern society in numerous ways and this essay just outlined some of them. This just goes to show that art and life do go together hand in hand and there is plenty to learn from Mr. Orwell.