George Orwell's Influence In Disguise

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Influence in Disguise Have you ever found yourself in a situation wondering how you got there? Did your own values or societal norms dictate your actions? This question of true motivation represents a topic studied, especially in literature, for several generations. For example, both George Orwell in his novel 1984 and Elie Wiesel in his memoir Night study whether personal desire or public influence represents a stronger form of motivation. In 1984, Winston Smith distinguishes himself from the rest of the brainwashed, dystopian society for he can remember the past and therefore recognizes the flaws of the ruling Inner Party. However, he struggles to remain true to his opposition of the Party and finds himself following his fellow citizens.…show more content…
In order for the Inner Party to command total control, members must create a system in which the middle class cannot gain enough strength to revolt. They develop a leader named Big Brother who watches over the citizens through telescreens that occupy every area of the city. Telescreens survey the city, but they also relay important announcements such as morning activities. Often, an instructress comes on screen to lead everyone through various exercises. During one of the morning sessions, she notices Winston exerting minimal effort during stretching. The instructress communicates specifically with Winston through the screen and after exorbitant amounts of encouragement, “Winston, with a violent lunge, succeeded in touching his toes with his knees unbent, for the first time in several years”(37). Winston recognizes the problems with the world in which he lives; unlike others, he can remember the past and knows that the Party alters history so that they can remain in power. However, even he ultimately recognizes that going against the Party will result in punishment. Therefore, although the exercises hurt Winston, the combination of the lady’s relentless focus along with the idea that the rest of the population also participates in the stretching overpowers Winston’s innate resistance to the Party. The abruptness of his movements results from the inner turmoil that Winston…show more content…
In the memoir Night, Elie and his fellow prisoners struggle to retain their humanity as guards separate families, take personal possessions, and replace names with numbers. This dehumanizing process leads many prisoners and guards to prioritize themselves. While most struggle to retain any part of their former true selves, Elie remains devoted to his father and finds comfort in their relationship. Eventually, his father’s health declines and Elie starts to listen to the advice of others who suggest he worry about himself, not his father. For a moment Elie begins to understand the merit of this argument and when a guard advises him to keep his father’s rations for himself, he agrees thinking, “he was right. I though deep down, not daring to admit it to myself. Too late to save your old father…”(111). However, Elie’s true morals quickly resurface and he returns to his role of devoted son recanting, “it was only for a fraction of a second but it left me feeling guilty. I ran to get some soup and brought it to my father”(111). Despite everyone else’s actions, Elie remains true to his own desire of helping his father. He almost gives in to the influence, but he instead follows his own wishes. Just as the reader believes that Elie may continue following his own personal values, he shows signs of conforming to societal norms. As his father’s death becomes imminent, Elie fakes an
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