“Strength is irrelevant … Freedom is irrelevant … Resistance is futile … Your life as it has been is
over. From this time forward, you will service… us” is a line from Star Trek: The Next Generation when
members of the Starship Enterprise encounter the Borg for the second time. In the episode, Captain
Picard was assimilated into the Borg, which is a collective of minds, ran by a super computer. In 1984,
the people are controlled not by a super computer, but by Big Brother. However, the goal of Big Brother
and the Borg Collective is the same: to eliminate the individual. Now unlike the Borg, whom had cyborg
implants controlled by the super computer, The Party used different methods to achieve the same
objective. They went as far as to “plan” a rebellion using Winston and Julia to have others willingly
assimilate into The Party rather than being forced.
The leaders of The Party used many methods to control the masses. The most important one of
them is the use of the telescreen. They are able to use the Tele-screen to monitor the masses and send
out subliminal messages to encourage the masses do things that might be out of their nature and to
implant ideas. Subliminal messaging is where there is a message played in the background of a song or
some other noise that only the mind is able to decipher. Subliminal messaging is “linked to the idea of
mind control… [and making people do things that] … they would not ordinarily do.” (Dane, Johnson and
Pauli) and has been used for centuries. With the Tele-screens always on and playing music most of the
day, there could be actually subliminal messages played in the background. That would explain many
things, particularly how Winston heard O’Brien’s’ voice in a dream, Winston knowing all the details of
the Golden Country, and why he had such an affinity for O’Brien when he discovered he could not trust
his perception of people. A normal person would question his perception of people when they find out
they are wrong about an individual. Upon meeting Julia, when Winston first saw her, he hated her to the
point that he wanted to bash her head in with a rock. To Winston, she looked like a member of the
Thought Police even though she was not and was actually in love with him. Moreover, after Winston
found out about Julia, one would think he would question his perception about O’Brien. However, if
they were using subliminal messaging, they would be able to encourage him to trust O’Brien. Winston’s
dreams are more evidence that The Party used subliminal messaging. He dreamed of going to the
Golden Country and of Julia throwing off her clothes before it actually happened. Was it a coincidence
Julia did as he dreamed or was it preplanned by the Party?
Other methods The Party Leaders employed to control the masses were the ThoughtPol, and
the Spies. A person will not know a member of the ThoughtPol until the day of their capture, as one saw
at the end of the second book of 1984, the ThoughtPol are able to take any form they choose including
Poles to catch Thought Criminals. However, one does know who the Spies are. The Spies is a group like
Boy and Girl Scouts because they are full of children. However, one of the Spies’ main goals is to spy on
adults and turn in those that they see committing ThoughtCrime. With the Spies, The Party Leaders are
teaching the members of Oceania to trust no one, including their own flesh and blood. The Party goes as
far as to prevent marriage based on love. If there is any form of attraction present between two people,
their relationship is denied. That is why there is no one that an individual is able to place any trust. The
reason the leaders of The Party goes so far to prevent “ThoughtCrime” and to catch Thought Criminals is
to do away with the individual and make the masses into a collective controlled by one person or group
Most times, this monitoring would lead many people to act like they true members of The Party,
but that is not enough. The Party Leaders want complete control of the masses and are not satisfied
with the appearance of being one with The Party. That is why at different times when the leaders feel
that the masses need a reminder of whom is in control, they have someone revolt so they can do their
absolutely worst to that person. When it is over with, that person comes to love The Party that reduced
them to a nothingness state. This is where Winston and Julia’s role come in. They were groomed though
the use of subliminal messages to fit the role of a person that would rebel against The Party. They are
placed where the most people will see them in order to make the greatest impact possible. Then, when
The Party is sure that the most number of people could see the rebellion in them, then picked up and
delivered to MiniLuv. the place where individuality and rebellion is completely removed from a person.
The process is brutal as one sees throughout the third book of 1984. They start with starving a person
and having them sit for days upon end with no sleep. When The Party Leaders get bored with that, they
then go into the beatings. These beatings go on until the individual passes out. The beatings only stop
when The Party Leaders are sure that the prisoner betrayed anyone and everyone they know and are
ready for the indoctrinating process. In 1984, O’Brian, one of those leaders of The Party, controls the
indoctrinating process. This this time a softer hand is used than the rough methods from before, but
there is still pain involved to make the lessons stick forever. As O’Brian states “What happens to you [at
this point forward] is for ever … [The Party] will crush you down to the point from which there is no
coming back … and then we shall fill you with ourselves.” (Orwell). The mind is weak at this point,
exhausted and open to anything The Party says and will absorb it. Now when the victim is released, he
or she can show the world what The Party does to someone who is not a member of the collective.
However, no matter what The Party does, there is always some that retain a little of their
individuality, and when those people are identified they will be removed. This is the process of
vanishing. The individual that retains a little of their individuality is also brought to MiniLuv to correct
those little issues. However, their retraining process is not the same as the rebel’s process. It is similar,
but is not so rough. At first, they are detained without food or water for many hours or days. Then they
are brought to room 101. Everyone’s worst fear is in room 101 and is where one makes the ultimate
betrayal. Once this betrayal is done, The Party is sure the person will no longer show signs of
individuality. It may take hours, days or even years, but due to that betrayal, that individual will turn to
The Party for comfort and at this point truly become a member of the collective; destroying any sense of
personality the person has left. What happens at MiniLuv is the destruction of rebellion, but also in
sensually the ultimate destruction the individual.
These methods for controlling the masses are only effective if they are repeated several times. It
is not to the same effect the Borg Super Computer has over all Borg, but the supervisory part is just as
good. However, unlike the Borg’s implants which control and supervise the brain, The Party Leaders in
1984 must always use different methods to supervise the masses, and improvise different ways to
remind the masses that is always better to be on the inside of the collective than the outside.
Dane, Danielle, et al. “Subliminal Messaging.” 12 November 2001. University of Michigan. Web. 10 December 2013. <http://www.umich.edu/~onebook/pages/tablepages/history.html>.
Orwell, George. 1984. Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd, 1948. Kindle.
Written for Eng: 1302 for a class taught by Megan Fisher, November 12, 2013.
Commented [m5]: Follow MLA guidelines more closely. Incorporate evidence from at least three sources.
Very impressive work, Frances. This is a well-written, beautifully polished analysis of Orwell’s novel. Your language is crisp, your sentences flow smoothly into one another, and your essay is well-crafted. I love the comparison you make to Star Trek in your introduction, and while I almost wish the entire paper developed this idea, you do a very good job of connecting the comparison to your overall argument about Winston’s assimilation into the Party. I enjoyed having you in the class this semester. Your contributions to class discussions have always been thoughtful and original, and your humor helped create an overall positive atmosphere. I wish you the best of success in your future academic and professional endeavors. If you ever need a letter of recommendation, feel free to get in touch with me.
Frances Lejeune is a student at Catholic Distance University and is a Theology Major. She is expected to receive her Associates June of 2019. She also writes about day to day life about living with depression, anxiety and loss.