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1984 - Quote Analysis

on Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:43 pm
“BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU”

In the novel 1984, Oceania is a fictional totalitarian state where all the citizens understand that they could be watched at anytime. There are telescreens everywhere, through which higher ranking Party members can watch and record its citizen’s activities. According to the Party, this surveillance is for the betterment of Oceania, and citizens who resist or disobey are labeled as traitors and subject to disciplinary action, even death. The leader of the Party is known as Big Brother. Big Brother’s face is seen on posters in the streets, on their telescreens and on their money. Big Brother’s image and the “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU” slogan are a constant reminder that the citizens of Oceania are being watched. It is all powerful and God-like, and replaces love from the citizen’s lives with fear, and expects them to follow the rules, regardless of whether they need to betray their own lives in his honour. Because the citizens are never sure whether they are being watched at any time, most tend to behave obediently. The Party effectively controls its citizens through this uncertainty and through the widespread symbols of Big Brother's watchful face. The citizens of Oceania are always aware that Big Brother might be watching them, even though government officials cannot possibly be monitoring all telescreens at all times.

Big Brother is a symbolic representation of dictators and dictatorial regimes.
 
I chose this quote because it is constantly repeated throughout the novel. Thus, the reader comes to realize how much influence the government could potentially have over an individual. It is scary to think that every move that you make can be watched and judged by the government.
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