Texts in their Time essay A text is a mirror for the concerns of a time and place. Orwell’s “1984”and the Wachowski brother’s “Matrix” can be viewed as a mirror into the concerns of a time and place. “1984” depicts how a hierarchical world tyranny is set up, how it stays in power, how it treats people and what life is like living under such a system. The “matrix” is also a representation of how the world as ‘we’ know it can be manipulated into the unknown or changed to suit the ideology of one higher power.
The matrix is also seen as a situation that the majority of human kind cannot relate to; it is a scenario that is not only out of their control but a scenario that the average human cannot comprehend it goes beyond a control system that the average human brain cannot relate to. The matrix brings forward concepts that do not play to everyday life. Orwell vision of 1984 was shaped by his experiences though out his time as a volunteer in the Spanish civil war and upon returning to Britain post-war when the country was a place of shortages and rationing.
Orwell struggled against fascism, but was intent on destroying its anarchist and Trotskyist allies. The defeat of fascism involved the success of and the emergence of the USSR as a great power. Orwell was deeply concerned about this fact. Orwell remained a believer in the fundamental goodness of the “common people”, the workers or “proles”. Due to Orwell’s personal circumstances, his fading life expectancy from tuberculosis may have influenced the bleak creation of the world that is “1984”. “1984” is a text which depicts the story of Winston smith who is a common man or a member of the outer party in the hierarchy of the ‘big brother’ system.
The “1984” world is a totalitarian society where the party or big brother tries to control everything, including thought and emotion. Big brother is a dictator ship which controls every movement in society through constant surveillance and harsh penalties for noncompliance such as torcher or death. Big Brother is the face of the party; the party is the very dedicated dictator ship which has complete control over Oceania during the war with Eastasia and Eurasia. Big brothers slogans are repetitive and contradictory; WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.
Newspeak is the official language of Oceania which had been created to meet the ideological needs of Ingsoc. Ingsoc created newspeak to eventually fade out free thought, with newspeak no man or woman could commit thought crime and no person would be able to attempt to break up the party that is big brother. All words are groupings in newspeak. All concepts of liberty and equality, for instance, are all contained in the single word of ‘crimethink’, while all words grouping themselves round the concepts of objectivity and rationalism were contained in the single word of ‘oldthink’.
The Wachowski brother’s “Matrix” is a post-modern text which was filmed in 1999. The matrix is part of the I. T. revolution created to depict the perfect world. The matrix is about a computer hacker ‘Neo’ who is forced into the realisation of the matrix, the matrix was created to imprison you in the massive artificial intelligence system which has tapped into people’s minds and created the illusion of a real world, while using their brains and bodies for energy.
Morpheus is convinced neo is the is “the one” who can destroy the matrix and bring his people to both physical and psychological freedom. The matrix can be described as a window into the reality of the spiritual world where as humans cannot understand yet we make assumptions about a higher power this can be linked with Orwell’s 1984 with the concept of ‘big brother’ with the matrix is described as an illusion of the physical world which can be controlled through the thought of neo as he is “the one”.
In the matrix and Orwell’s 1984 the futures depicted are similar yet vastly different, the matrix depicts the future as a horrible emotionless place which has very little hope for humanity, whereas Orwell’s 1984 the future still has a bleak outline but through manipulation of the language the people have no idea how to realise that their future is bleak and or domed where as if the party was to diminish the people due to the fascist ways of big brother normal society would not be able to function as the big brother system had desterilised common knowledge of life without I higher power.
To conclude I believe that Orwell’s 1984 and the Matrix have been a great comparative study.