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Essay/Term paper: British lit term paper

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Essays

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The definition of the word "Utopia" is defined as a

place or state of ideal perfection (A Dictionary of

the English Language 1575). How can a society

reach a point of Utopia? Although many countries

have tried to achieve such a goal, they have been

unable to attain a state of perfection. In 1984,

written by George Orwell, government takes control

of every aspect of person"s life in an attempt to

achieve "perfection". In Childhood"s End, written by

Arthur C. Clarke, the human race is assimilated into

a Supreme Being allowing humanity to enter into

state of Utopia. Did Orwell and Clarke really

characterize utopian societies? Although on the

surface the two books seem to portray

characteristics of Utopian societies, in reality both

societies leave people without free will and

individuality leading to an anti-utopian society.

George Orwell creates a society, Oceania, which

revolves around "Big Brother," the name of the

government in power. Big Brother controls every

aspect of society including political, social, and

economic activities as well as every aspect of the

individual including both physical and mental

behavior. Big Brother is able to manipulate its

citizens to suite its own needs. Using science and

technology as well as fear and intimidation, Big

Brother eliminates all forms of individualism,

independent thinking, and free choice. This leaves

the government with the freedom to continuously

shape and reshape all thoughts and activities of its

citizens. In effect, Big Brother creates a utopian

society by constantly monitoring, brainwashing, and

if necessary destroying its citizens. This perfect

society is achieved through the principles and

practices of totalitarianism.

The goal of creating a utopian society is attained by

eliminating unhappiness. Big Brother uses a

number of different techniques to acquire the

support of his citizens and to control their behavior

and actions. By using various psychological

techniques such as fear, intimidation, and

brainwashing, the government is able to rid society

of problems.

The Thought Police, a division of the Ministry of

Love, are the enforcers of society and strike fear

into the minds of all the citizens of Oceania. They

are the eyes and ears of Big Brother and are in

control of monitoring every single person in

Oceania. Because of the number of people within

Oceania, telescreens, televisions that while

displaying images also serve as surveillance

cameras, serve as a way for the Thought Police to

watch every movement and listen to every sound in

Oceania at anytime.

It was terribly dangerous to

let your thoughts wander

when you were in any public

place or within range of a

telescreen. The smallest

thing could give you away. A

nervous tic, an unconscious

look of anxiety, a habit of

muttering to yourself—…to

wear an improper

expression on your

face…was itself a

punishable offense (Orwell


These telescreens are located in every room, street,

or alleyway and are practically impossible to avoid.

The Ministry of love also uses undercover agents in

order to watch people on a person to person basis.

These undercover agents, in conjunction with the

Thought Police, serve to regulate people"s thoughts.

Their job is to find persons who have even the

slightest feelings of resentment toward Big Brother

and whisk he or she away in the middle of the night

never to be seen again. A common elementary

precaution in Oceania is to never face or be near a

telescreen. If unavoidable, it is rudimentary to wear

a fake face regardless of one"s current thoughts

because one may never know who is watching

(Orwell 54). In addition to avoiding telescreens, it is

unwise to trust any fellow coworker, friend or even a

family member. It is impossible to know who is a

spy and who is not because undercover agents

pretend to be sympathize with people unhappy with

Big Brother and later report them to the government.

In addition to being used as surveillance cameras,

telescreens are also used to convey endless

newscasts praising Big Brother. They display

statistics after statistics of how the quality of life has

increased since Big Brother took control of the


"Comrades!" cried an eager

youthful voice. "Attention,

comrades! We have

glorious news for you. We

have won the battle for

production! Returns now

completed of the output of all

classes of consumption

goods show that the

standard of living has risen

by no less than twenty per

cent over the past

year…Here are some of the

completed figures.

Foodstuffs— (Orwell 51)"

Posters are located on every wall of every building

depicting the face of Big Brother. Public gatherings,

created in order to honor Big Brother, are held

every day. By ingraining these ideas into a person"s

mind, he or she has no choice but to follow along

and conform to society. "Of coarse he chanted with

the rest: it was impossible to do otherwise. To

dissemble your feelings, to control your face, to do

what everyone else was doing, was an instinctive

reaction (Orwell 18)."

From the time of birth to the time of death,

telescreens, along with posters, public events, etc.,

are many of the ways Big Brother convinces its

unsuspecting citizens into admiring and obeying the

government. The fear of being detected by the

Thought Police and the constant images of Big

Brother force the people of Oceania to conform to

the ways of the government. "Family Love, human

Love, is impossible in the 1984 world (Sperber

222)." These psychological techniques rid society

of problems thus creating a world without dissent, a


In Arthur C. Clarke"s Childhood"s End, the existence

of mankind is in danger due to the possibility of a

full-scale nuclear war. Tensions between countries

are increasing and society is about to break down.

Aliens (known as the Overlords), who are involved in

a plan to assimilate humanity into a supreme being

known as the Overmind, come to the rescue of

humanity and create peace between humans. The

Overlords work for the Overminds as an

intermediary; walking numerous civilizations through

the different phases of the overall plan. With the

arrival of the Overlords, all signs of war immediately

disappear and worldwide peace sets in.

Remarkably, the Overlords do no more than present

themselves to humans; they do not intervene in any

way with life on earth. "In the first year of their

coming, the advent of the Overlords had made less

difference to the pattern of human life than might

have been excepted. Their shadow was

everywhere, but it was an unobtrusive shadow

(Clarke 26)." They act as if they are guardian angels

looking over and caring for humanity (Hollow 75).

Once phase one of the project is completed, the

Overlords begin phase two. They interfere with the

development of all children under the age of ten by

altering their human characteristics. As time moves

on, these children slowly move away from humanity

and become a different species that mankind has

never seen before. When phase two is completed

and the children have reached a maturation state in

which they are completely independent of

everything, phase three, the concluding phase,

takes effect and the "children" are assimilated into

the Overmind losing their humanistic traits (Slusser).

In a few years, it will be all

over, and the human race

will have divided twain.

There is no way back, no

future for the world you

know. All the hopes and

dreams of your race are

ended now. You have given

birth to your successors, and

its your tragedy that you will

never understand them—

will never even be able to

communicate with their

minds…You will not think

them human, and you will be

right (Clarke 184).

Humanity no longer can exist because any children

born into the world never grow up to become adults;

they are incorporated into the Overmind.

Without intervention, how do the Overlords prevent a

nuclear war from starting? In the minds of the

people, the Overlords are viewed as Gods.

Humanity feels a sense a comfort with the arrival of

the Overlords. By presenting themselves to human

beings, the people on Earth realize that other

advanced civilizations do exist and that their trivial

quarrels are foolish and wasteful. A transformation

occurs and society enters into a golden age.

Common problems in society such as famine,

poverty, and corruption vanish and peace is

achieved between fellow humans. The Overlords

give a sense of hope to the inhabitants of Earth that

life is worth living in its fullest. The utopia currently

present on Earth is hardly the utopia the Overlords

have in store for humanity. The object of their visit to

Earth is to combine man"s intelligence with that of

the Overmind. The Overmind is a Supreme Being

comprised of a countless number of species,

together forming a utopia in which there is a state of

perfection. The Overlords do humanity a favor by

including them into the utopian Overmind, making

them one with all the others. The price paid for

utopia is the extinction of man as we know him.

Big Brother in 1984 and the Overmind in

Childhood"s End attempt to create a utopia where

perfection is present. But in the process they

destroy a part of man that is a necessary part of life,

individualism and free will. Although achieved in a

different manner, free will is taken away from the

people on Earth in Childhood"s End just as it is

taken away in 1984. The people are left with no

choice but to conform to the ways of their superiors.

In 1984, a utopian society is never really

established. Although it may seem as though Big

Brother achieves a state of perfection, the lack of

individualism characterizes Oceania as an

anti-utopian society. Their feelings of free will are

suppressed under their feelings of fear. "Your worst

enemy, he reflected, was your own nervous system.

At any moment the tension inside of you was liable

to translate itself into some visible symptom [of

disloyalty] (Orwell 56)." From the day of birth,

people must conform to the ways of the government

in order to survive. Inhabitants are forced to wear

identical outfits, eat the same food, drink the same

liquor, and smoke the same cigarettes. There is no

choice available to the citizens of Oceania whether

it involves one"s job or one"s living quarters. Any

sign of individualism is considered to be a

"thoughtcrime" and can be punishable by death.

People are required to attend the daily activities at

the community center, which involves large groups

of people praising Big Brother and Oceania.

Telescreens prevent people from behaving in a way

other than society accepts. With these strict

principles bestowed upon society, there is no room

for any form of free will or individualism.

Childhood"s End uses far different techniques than

does 1984, but is left with similar results at the end,

a loss of free will and individualism. Despite the fact

that the Overlords save humanity from total

destruction, it is not fair to assimilate them into the

Overmind without their consent. George Edgar

Slusser"s view point that "the spirit of individual

humanity is extended beyond its tomb (Slusser 52)"

is inaccurate. Although the Overlords approach the

task at hand in a more diplomatic fashion than does

1984 making the Overlords look friendly, what is

unnoticeable until the end of the book is their overall

goal to assimilate humanity. By incorporating the

human beings into the Overmind, not only does it

put an end to the human race, but it also eliminates

all the characteristics that made humanity special

and unique from other forms of life in the universe.

On the surface, 1984 and Childhood"s End seem like two totally

different books due to the different approaches conveyed by each

author. But in reality, both books attempt to create a utopian

society in which perfection is achieved. Although 1984 may seem

like a dark and scary nightmare and Childhood"s End may seem like

a beautiful dream, their common goal is the same (Meyers 192). Can

man retain his individuality and free will and at the same time

achieve a perfect society? Only the future holds the answer.


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