George Orwell confronts us with the concept of manipulation. Manipulation is shown through many different ideas in the book Nineteen Eighty-four. Three of these are the alteration of the newspapers, how you are tricked into feeling a certain way and the restriction on language. George wanted to warn us of the dangers of manipulation in hope to change future generations. He shows us that not only can you manipulation people into doing things for you and in your way but you can also control their minds and how they think. Although we do not live the same life as the people in Nineteen Eighty-Four, some ideas of Orwell’s transfer over into the world we live in today. We do indeed let people in authority manipulate us and may already be turning into the robots that Orwell predicted.
“Who controls the past, controls the future” was the slogan of the party within the book Nineteen Eighty Four. George Orwell alerts us with this one-liner quote which portrays the idea of altering the past. The party wants to have full control over our minds and believes starting with controlling the past will do this. The party employs people to alter and reprint all the newspapers before they are seen by the public. Their job is to completely erase any events that may have contradicted what the party was saying in the present. The party does not want anyone to see any past events or articles from people who used to exist. It wants to get rid of every single thing from the past so that no one in the present has any idea of what it used to be like. This is because the party does not want to provoke any feelings. This is their mechanism of power and control. They are showing everyone that they have full control over everything and leaving nothing to the imagination. By changing the past, the party is able to remain in power for the entire lifespan of everyone’s lives and have full control over their minds at all times. The people only put up with the conditions they live in because all the newspapers say it was much worse in the past, but who really knows what is true. No correct information exists anymore, just lies.
Newspeak is the official language of Oceania. It consists of abbreviations and replaces the use of the English language. Newspeak cuts the language right down to the core, leaving a very small and bland vocabulary. Association words are also removed. The idea of newspeak is to make all other ways of thinking impossible and remove all opposing thoughts. An example of newspeak is the word “UNCOLD meant ‘warm’, while PLUSCOLD and DOUBLEPLUSCOLD meant, respectively, ‘very cold’ and ‘superlatively cold’.” People were only able to describe the bare minimum with the language they were given. The language continued to be cut down even further as time went on. From the quote, you can see that they are trying to make it as much emotionless as possible. By using the same word as plus, it cuts out all adjectives. The emotion of the sentence doesn’t sound great or horrible but just okay. This making people slowly turn into emotionless robot people.
The party even manipulated them into feeling a certain way. Feelings are a personal thing but the party found a way of making feelings disappear in a way. People are okay to work long hours in bad conditions, love big brother and then sleep every day as they did not know any other way of living. The party wanted “consciously to induce unconsciousness and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis they had just performed.” The party brainwashed the community, making them into robots that don’t know how to do anything that wasn’t asked by taking their feelings away. They put people in a state of hypnosis, where they are physically awake but in a state of unconsciousness. This way people will do things without any questions as they are just following what everyone else is doing and what they have been told to do. Again giving all the power to the party as they are the only ones with emotions. To have emotion is actually illegal in nineteen eighty-four, they can be arrested and vaporized for feeling love or hate making people scared to even think about how they feel. The ‘thought police’ can tell when you are feeling feelings that you shouldn’t be which makes people try to become emotionless as they do not want to be vaporized, they would rather be emotionless. With the combined alteration of the past and the new language of newspeak, its what limits people to their emotions. People don’t have the words or knowledge on how to feel.
George Orwell was warning us about our future and gave us some valuable lessons about manipulation in the world today. Our current president, Donald Trump is the man in authority. He is the one running the country so we should be able to trust what he says is true but yet we were still manipulated into believing stuff that is not true. For example, the lie saying “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration – period.” about his inauguration speech was something we were tricked into believing. It made him look powerful and in control of the country, which is what he wanted. Trump wanted us to know that he had the biggest following from the public and he was powerful. Just like the alteration of the newspapers in Nineteen Eighty-Four was a mechanism of power for the party. By lying about his speech he was able to persuade everyone that he was a force to be reckoned with and that he was powerful enough to be the present just by lying about facts to make himself look bigger.
Emotions are expressed in an open way compared to Nineteen Eighty-Four, where they were concealed, but in both worlds, we have some outside force telling us how to feel. If we look at the magazines that are out there everywhere, they contain all sorts of things to make us feel a certain way and one of those feelings is shame. There are pictures of young beautiful skinny women placed throughout most magazines that have all been photoshopped to look ‘Perfect’. We look at these and feel shame and jealousy as we want to be just like them. We feel that if we are skinny and beautiful then we will finally be able to love ourselves as well as everyone else. We are manipulated into feeling guilt on our own bodies. Kate Winslet said “I do not look like that and more importantly I don’t desire to look like that,” about a picture of her that was put on the cover of a magazine that was photoshopped. She had said she didn’t want to look like that but yet the photographer and the magazine continued to photoshop her into the perfect body shape. If the person herself did not want to be photoshopped, there were obviously other intentions. They wanted to make us feel bad about ourselves and make us feel like we have to do something about our bodies to match the ones in the magazines such as Kates. Doing this, it manipulates us into buying things like how to loos weight book or pills to make us lose weight as well as makeup and new clothes to be beautiful. It is to trick us into buying their products and it works as these products are still selling every day.
Paragraph 6 – Real World 3, Language. The manipulation of language is used in a different way then it was in Nineteen Eighty-Four. In Nineteen Eight-Four the mechanism of manipulation was to cut the language down, Giving people no words to describe what they felt. In today’s society, we focus on making negative information sound positive. This is a different way of manipulation but still achieving the overall goal of power. Food products are something that we need every day which means there is a great range of everything we need. Including different brands of the same product. For example, if you want to buy bread, you have a choice of Vogals, Tip Top, Pams, Freyas and much more. This means companies need to make the best product to compete with other products but instead choose the use of language to make their product look good. For example, saying the product is “95% fat-free” instead of ‘’5% fat” makes us amazed to see how much fat is not in the product which gives us a good feeling and makes us buy it. If the product said 5% fat we would be disgusted in the product even though they are just stating the facts. Our society today tricks us into looking only at the positives in order for us to buy their products. Using a twist on the language you can achieve great power and even be a talking point. Being 95% fat-free persuades us to think of all the fat we aren’t putting into our bodies and makes us not realize the 5% we are putting into our bodies. This gives us the good feeling we want and makes us think we are being healthy even though we may not be. Language like this is able to trick us even if it is telling the truth.
Conclusion: Nineteen Eighty-Four challenged the idea of manipulation and blew it out of proportion in hope we would take a warning away from it. It showed us that with the power of manipulation you can strip away the personality of an individual and start to make them into robots. He showed us just how much control can be taken advantage of by using different techniques such as the alteration of the newspapers, tricking people into their emotions and changing the language. These three things were mirrored into today’s society, showing us that manipulation still exists proving that Nineteen Eighty-Four had some valuable lessons for us to learn from and start to notice the environment we live in today.