1984

In George Orwell's 1984, the Party, the government of Oceania, has many slogans. One of the sayings is "Big Brother Is Watching You". Despite the fact that the slogan is only mentioned a few times throughout the novel, it embodies the government that Orwell has created.

We first learn of the slogan when the setting is described on the first page of the book. Orwell depicts, in explicit detail, the sights, sounds, and smells of Oceania. When illustrating the hallways of Victory Mansions, Winston Smith's and other members of the Party's apartment complex, Orwell writes:

On each landing, opposite the lift shaft, the poster with the

enormous face gazed from the wall. It was one of those pictures

which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you

move. Big Brother Is Watching You, the caption beneath it ran

(5).

This poster shows Big Brother as having a face. Big Brother was not an individual person so he did not have a "face". The face, however, gives Big Brother a human quality. By doing so, the government puts itself on the same level of humanity as the citizens that it governs. The people are supposed to feel more comfortable with a ruling party that is just like them. The billboard is also found on every landing and every streetcorner. The overbearing number of posters is a way for the Party to continuously remind its citizens of its presence and ingrain the message into the people's conscience and subconscience minds.

"Big Brother" is another name for the Party. It's an ironic choice of words for the Party's second name. First, the notion of a "big brother" connotes a child's big brother. One thinks of comfort and protection, fun and trouble, and love and other feelings when thi ...
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