Government Surveillance in G. Orwell’s 1984 Novel and Film

Subject: Art
Pages: 2
Words: 295
Reading time:
< 1 min

One of this movie’s main features is that the citizens of Oceania are under constant government surveillance. The fact that they are observed and heard through telescreens and microphones significantly influences their lives and behavior. Some of the movie’s main characters have to hide things, whisper, write secret notes, meet in a meadow, make hints without pointing or saying out loud not to be caught by the overly-controlling and prying Big Brother.

For example, at the beginning of the movie, the protagonist Winston Smith comes home and has to show himself and all the things he brought with him on the camera in the wall. However, Smith has a diary with him, and it is prohibited by law and punishable by death. That is why he has to carefully put it on the threshold and kick it so that the diary gets under the table and is not noticed by the telescreen. Moreover, when the main characters want to speak sincerely or do something normal but prohibited in their world, they always have to hide somewhere far from telescreens. Such pressure is a significant barrier to a happy life, even for an ordinary person who does not do anything illegal.

In the modern world, knowing that people are always observed and listened to can make them paranoid and afraid of saying something that may be misinterpreted. Actually, some persons believe that TVs, smartphones, and laptops are already used to constantly watching and listening to everyone. If the surveillance presented in the film was happening in our own lives, people would probably behave the same as the characters. They would avoid saying things on camera and prefer going to forests or meadows to discuss important things.