Could care less about English. Here's my required essay, though...
The novel 1984 (1949) by George Orwell is rich in human truths and genuine philosophies. Orwell addresses the nature of time and reality, memory and the limits of the human mind, and love within his scathing portrayal of a futuristic dystopia.
Time is a purely human thing, relative to the individual. The time one lives in is not the same as that of the average stranger on the street. People do not collectively share the same pasts, so how do human beings confirm the existence past events? Through memory. But because time is perceived and every human perceives it differently, memory is only accurate to the individual and not to the collective. And because the past is not concrete, existing solely in malleable venues of the present, Orwell shows how manipulation of the past by the Party can, in turn, manipulate the masses. "Who controls the past, controls the future; who controls the present, controls the past." (p. 204) is one of the Party's slogans that illustrates their view.
O'Brien says to Winston "Does the past exist concretely, in space? Is there somewhere or other place, a world of solid objects, where the past is still happening?" (p. 205). Winston replies that there is not. This is one of the many paradoxes humans experience; the brain remembers the past, the body lived the past, and yet the past exists only in something that is intangible.
To exercise control, the Party manipulates memory first and foremost, teaching its followers to accept hypocrisy and to truly believe both sides of opposing issues. At a crucial point in Winston's development in the Ministry of Love, O'Brien holds up four fingers and says "There are five fingers there. Do you see five fingers?" (p. 213). Winston replies with an affirmative. "And he did see them, for a fleeting instant, before the scenery of his mind changed. He saw five fingers, and there was no deformity" (p 213). By showing us this, Orwell implies that the nature of perception can be changed- in an extreme totally and completely altered- by what a person chooses to perceive. As O'Brien explains it "We control matter because we control the mind… I could float off the floor like a soap bubble if I wished to." (p. 218) In other words, if he perceived himself as floating, and all others viewing perceived him as floating then, of course, he would float. The major hurdle to overcome to achieve this is the preprogramming of the human mind. Because humans believe they cannot float, they do not. And, even if one wants to believe he can float, he surely has trouble truly believing it.
Emotion in the world of 1984 has not been abolished, though the eradication of all complex emotion is one of the Party's many goals. Because of the strive to mold a world built of hate and fear, Julia and Winston's love is forbidden and political. They are outcasts and rebels; they enjoy it.
But what is love? Strong emotion, sexuality, friendship? In the end, Winston betrays Julia by sacrificing her to save himself. Does this mean he did not love her? It is a question of pure emotion and the battle between fear and love. Which will win under pressure? Or do the two exist as completely separate entities, never the twain shall meet?
In accordance with the Party, there is to be no love but that for Big Brother. By violating this principle, Julia and Winston know that they will eventually be caught and killed… and yet they continue. Was their love that strong? Was is strong enough to withstand fear of capture, but not strong enough to resist the deeply rooted fears of the subconscious? And why is that?
Some say that love is the greatest thing in the world, the best thing a person can experience. But under the heel of the Party, is this still true? No. Were it true, it seems logical that Julia and Winston would have been able to sacrifice themselves to the worst thing in the world without betraying one another. But, because love is so ostracized by Ingsoc, it did them little good.
Orwell inserts many truths into this novel, subtly weaving them into the fantasy world of Oceania, a world which parallels the modern world more and more each day. But, while he speaks truths, many are only half truths. And this is where the loopholes lay, the subtle debatables that maintain flexibility and freedom within our own society.