Notes: important quotes with citations

This film differs from 1984 in that Orwell did not offer even any appearance of a solution to the problem of fully realized socialism. Winston Smith’s defeat is total and thorough. He loves that which has destroyed him. Though Orwell supported the desires and intentions of the do-gooders who became socialists, he could never see how those intentions, after consolidating power to do good things, could keep that centralized power from the brutal and devious thugs who would always be attracted to it. Since he didn’t see a solution, he focused on making the threat clear.

McTeigue’s story, by contrast, ends on a triumphant note, as though destroying totalitarianism were as simple a matter as shooting a bank robber in some Hollywood West. The image of triumph is not without horror, of a sort, as a mass of identically masked terrorists grin their porcelain grins–a not overly appealing nod to equality–amid explosions bringing down the architectural symbolism of Western Civ–the fireworks of emancipation, or something–with rousing music.

 

MARGINS OF THE IMAGE: FRAMING AND DEFRAMING IN THE GRAPHIC NOVEL AND THE FILM
V FOR VENDETTA

A THESIS
SUBMITTED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATION AND DESIGN
AND THE INSTITUTE OF FINE ARTS
OF BĐLKENT UNIVERSITY
IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS

By
Ayda Sevin September, 2007

Alan Moore explicitly disapproved and disassociated himself from the film. Unlike David Lloyd, who supported the adaptation, Moore wanted his name not to appear in the closing credits, due to his opinion that the film script contained plot holes which are contrary to VfV’s original theme, as well as his previous frustrations from film adaptations of his other work (From Hell and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). He stated:

One of the things I don’t like about film is its incredible immersive quality. It’s kind of bullying – it’s very big, it’s very flashy, it’s got a lot of weight and it throws it around almost to the detriment of the rest of our culture [...] Real art and the things that actually change our culture tend to happen on the margins. They don’t happen in the middle of a big marquee [...] Those words, ‘fascism’ and ‘anarchy’, occur nowhere in the film. It’s been turned into a Bush-era parable by people too timid to set a political satire in their own country. In my original story there had been a limited nuclear war, which had isolated Britain, caused a lot of chaos and a collapse of government, and a fascist totalitarian dictatorship had sprung up. Now, in the film, you’ve got a sinister group of right-wing figures -not fascists, but you know that they’re bad guys- and what they have done is manufactured a bio-terror weapon in secret, so that they can fake a massive terrorist incident to get everybody on their side, so that they can pursue their right-wing agenda. It’s a thwarted and frustrated and perhaps largely impotent American liberal fantasy of someone with American liberal values against a state run by neo-conservatives -which is not what ‘V for Vendetta’ was about. It was about fascism, it was about anarchy, it was about [England] (The Last Angry Man, 2007).

Truly, as Moore states, in the film adaptation of VfV, there are significant changes in the plot line; the minor characters are not present and the characterizations of the majors’ are fairly dissimilar; the anarchist themes are almost totally removed; there are no drug references; and the political message is visibly updated. Yet, although it is possible to agree with Moore and consider all of these “reframings” as unfaithful revisions that disturb the integrity of the original work, this thesis prefers to see the matter in a new light.

To begin with, whereas Alan Moore’s graphic novel is a reaction to Margaret Thatcher’s Administration, Wachowski’s version adapts the story to point a finger at the Bush’s. It does this through several allusions, rather than directly mentioning the U.S. As a result, the film reads as a universal declaration against America and its turning of people into impassive subjects. In this respect, the film facilitates and extends the scope of identification with the context, since the object of attack is very much available and ubiquitous.

As a result, the film ultimately achieves to make the audience feel that they can be like V as well, since Evey, to whom they identified with, becomes V’s successor.

This book uses the image of Guy Fawkes to initiate a powerful anarchist critique of fascism. The book experiments with postmodern symbolism, but its version of anarchism remains mainly modern. However, the film version of Vfor Vendel/a (dir. James McTeigue, screenplay by the Wachowski Brothers, 2006) articulates a full-blown postmodern anar- chism.

In the hands of McTeigue and the Wachowskis, the face of Fawkes realised its full p(){ential. [t became a truly nomadic, perpetually mutating post modern symbol, impossible for the state to nail down. Shifting meanings in every frame, the face demonstrated its ability to destabilise the entire represen- tational order which underwrites state power in the postmodern world. Among other things, Moore objected to the filmmakers' decision to turn the story into a 'Bush-era parable' (quoted in Xenakis 135).

Although the Wachowskis had been interested in the project since the 80s, it didn't get off the ground until the early 21st century. By then, Moore's modernist cautionary tale about late Cold War politics was no longer relevant. By necessity, the Wachowskis told a new story, one that made sense in the symbolic universe which came into existence after 11 September 2001. Clearly they struck a nerve, particularly on the right.

I argue that screenwriters Andy and Larry Wachowski choose to update Moore‟s critical analysis of 1980s Thatcherism into a foreshadowing of President George W. Bush‟s administration: a neoconservative atmosphere that is largely dystopic.

 

V for Vendetta (2005, dir. James McTeigue) alters its theme

from fascism versus anarchism to conservatism versus

liberalism, although the film still retains the

basic plot structure and story outline of the comic

books.  This decision did, in essence, allow for a

greater appeal to American audiences from an

originally British text.  As noted by McAllister,

Gordon, and Jancovich:

V for Vendetta... translates the original

Alan Moore-created critique of Thatcher-era

conservatism to filmic symbolism more

closely related to the recognizable, well-

circulated iconography of the era of George

W. Bush, Abu Ghraib, and Guantanamo Bay.

The film deals metaphorically with a Gordian

knot reminiscent of Iraq in a way that few

 

Smith 39

other fictional films have to date; the fact

that the hero was a sympathetic “terrorist”

was, to say the least, unusual for the time,

and clearly struck a controversial

note with critics (see Giles; Els).

Although the original graphic novel was

commenting on a different and quite specific

historical context, Moore’s use of allegory

to explore contemporary political abuses and

the role of violence as resistance

facilitated the story’s application to

post-9/11 society.  The fact that the film

version was not produced until well over 20

years after the original [comic book]

version debuted speaks to the uncomfortable

political nature of the source material for

Hollywood (qtd. in Els 86). (112-113)

V for Vendetta, as a film, carries a theme similar to

the comic books; in this regard it does temper itself

to the “spirit” of the original, as Dudley Andrew

noted in his ideas on “fidelity and transformation.”

The film does not employ the theme of fascism versus

 

Smith 40

anarchy, but it does utilize a theme of extreme left

wing ideals versus extreme conservatism; both themes

are concordant with their surrounding political

culture.  Just as V for Vendetta, the comic book, was

a reaction against the era of Margaret Thatcher in

England during the mid-1980s, the film version of V

for Vendetta is a reaction against the Bush

administration in 2006.  In this vein, the film

version does adhere to the spirit of the original,

although the changes made are notable.  As a

contemporary reinterpretation, the ideological

interpretation of V for Vendetta must be considered a

Type Two film.

The governing principle of the relationship, as it was with the empire, was not lover or even respect but, as Orwell portrayed it, fear.

The determining element of the imperialist model was that it was quite impossible for the exploited ever fully to join the exploiters, what ever their achievements. (39)

Ingle, Stephen. The Social and Political Thought of George Orwell: A Reassessment. London ; New York: Routledge, 2006.

Bulloch, Douglas. “V Is For Vendetta: P Is For Power A Film Reading Of V For Vendetta.” Millennium (03058298) 35.2 (2007): 431-434. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Dec. 2012.

Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1949.

Sage, James. “V for Vendetta and Political Philosophy: A Critique of Thomas Hobbes.” Department of Philosophy  University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (2007): n. pag. Print.

During my research process, once I found useful information that is possibly able to support my main argument or even one particular points, I would copy and paste those words in a separate documents. In doing so, I could reduce the rick of missing pervasive supports when they are needed. The reason why I attached citation with each quote is that made it easy to go back to original context to see how the scholars come to such conclusions, which helped me forming a deeper understanding of the quotes I used and would improve my explanation on the quotes.

Stage Three Final

Comparison between Orwell’s 1984 and the film V for Vendetta: the power of fear

Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 is a milestone in modern political literature everlasting. The novel, published in 1948, the start of the Cold War, is regarded worldwide as the “greatest expose of the horrors of Stalinism” (Gleason, 5). Directly responding to Orwell, Alan Moore released a graphic novel series V for Vendetta in 1988, offering a hopeful ending rather than the chilling one in 1984 under a similarly dystopian background. Almost twenty years later in 2006, V for Vendetta came to the world as a great hit in the film industry. Although overall faithful to the original graphic novel, a few film adaptions have been made to reflect the contemporary social issue. With Moore’s comic book acting as a median in between, the comparison between 1984 and the film that borrowed major plots from Moore’s version, becomes especially intriguing. In George Orwell’s ideology, as he demonstrated through his dystopian fictional novel, fear is the indicator of government control and is an essentially impenetrable force. However, the dystopian film V for Vendetta believes that fear, while agreeing on its political repressive nature, is surmountable by liberty, courage, and justice.

In 1984, Orwell sets the story in London, now Airstrip One, in the nation of Oceania. Ruled by the Big Brother, the leader of the inner Party, people in Oceania live under the totalitarian guardian of the Party. Since the fact that human nature fights totalitarian, a dominant force to suppress this portion of rebellious nature is desperately in need. As Ingle addresses such force in her book, “the governing principle of the relationship, as it was with the empire, was not love or even respect but, as Orwell portrayed it, fear” (39), the Party constantly exerts tension on its citizens in favor of maintaining a orderly society. Such tension is classified in to two major categories in 1984: the external fear of the outside settings and the internal fear of the Party.

The Party inclines to draw an illusion of warfare and class fight in favor of creating mass fear. People are exposed to the messages that Oceania is at ceaseless wars with Eurasia then later Eastasia. The threat of war is kept at the forefront of people’s mind by the rocket bombs constantly falling on their land. Moreover, in Two Minutes Hate, the Party presents Goldstein who is the leader of Brotherhood, as the traitor to Big Brother, the enemy of people and the object of hatred. Facing this hostile figure, Winston Smith, Orwell’s protagonist, feels that “the sight or even the thought of Goldstein produced fear and anger automatically” (Orwell, 13). The Party spreads out the intimidation from outside world with hope to break down a stable and peaceful image in the masses’ mind. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (image attached to Notes page), safety that might include the security of physical body, health, resources and property, sits at the second to the bottom of needs. If this particular need is not satisfied, people could barely concern themselves with esteem and self-actualization, which possibly leads to up-rising intentions or even action. What people would instinctively do is to seek shelter, under either a government or a leading power, for security. Geoffrey R. Skoll comes to a supporting analysis when he justifies the close connections between fear and authoritarian control. He writes,

nothing motivates like fear, and gratitude is accorded to those who promises protection. Authoritarian regimes reply on this simple psychology. They point to enemies who would terrorize without the state’s protection. Enemies are always defined as part of a network of terror (Skoll, 58).

The external terror in Oceania functions in a similar way. The image of external threats to their society’s existence such as wars and crisis is exploited to incite fear and hatred to the population. Taking advantages of this panic, the Party is able to drag down people’s basic need to merely the second to the bottom level of the hierarchy since the Party’s ideal plan is to keep the need beneath love and belonging that indicates the rise of individuality and humanity. In this way, the Party successfully establishes its control and “keeps the structure of society intact” (Orwell 164)

When it comes to internal control, Orwell particularly highlights the scrutiny and torture as ploys for the Party itself to extend fear among the masses. The first two parts of the novel present the readers with an intense feeling of insecurity, by displaying detailed reactions and inner thoughts of Winston Smith. In such a depressing dystopia society filled by fear, Winston, as well as every other citizen, lives a helpless life with no privacy. The Party sets up a structured monitoring system of Telescreen to keep track of people’s physical behaviors. In the fear of the insecurity that “every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized” (Orwell, 3), Winston puts great efforts controlling his actions, his words, and facial expressions from revealing symptoms of disloyalty against the Party. Drawing on the concept mentioned in the book the rape of mind, “in the panic caused by totalitarian terror, men feel separated from one another as by an impassable vaccum, and each man becomes a lonely frightened soul” (Meerloo, 126), the spying construction reduce the possibility of a united alliance by splitting the citizens into sole existence distrust anyone else. To a startling degree, intension to rebel is no longer private belongs that could be concealed forever from the Thought Police. This fear of getting caught disciplines people to retain pure loyalty towards the Party, and works effectively for most people in Oceania, but not perfectly well for Winston so far.

Later on the novel, his love with Julia and enrollment in the Brotherhood are the embodiments of his rebellion against the Party. However, his disloyalty against the party unfortunately fails to eschew the eye of Telescreen. The Party arrests him and punishes him by severely inhuman tortures and interrogations. Then his worst fear is realized when he is finally sent to Room 101—the darkest and scariest hell in Oceania—after his constant resistance to follow the Party. In Room 101, O’Brien, one of the leaders of the Party mercilessly says to him,

pain is not always enough. There are occasions when a human being will stand out against pain…But for everyone there is something unendurable—something that cannot be contemplated. It is merely an instinct which cannot be disobeyed. It’s the same with rats. For you, they are endurable. They are a form of pressure that you cannot withstand, even if you wish to (Orwell, 284).

When Winston is forced to face a full cage of rats running to his head, which symbolizes his greatest fear as indicated in the book, he hysterically begs “Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! Not me!”(Orwell, 286) It is precisely at this moment that Winston’s individualities as a human beings collapse. His vicious betrayal marks the victory for the Party and the extinction of his humanities: his courage, love, faith, loyalty, and integrity no longer exist in the face of this terrible fear. It overrides his preceding moralities and individualities and therefor turns him into an emotionless pawn of the Party.

James Sage affirms the point made in this paper about Orwellian ideas when he claims, “in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, we see Big Brother and The INGSOC Party using fear as a ruling principle. Fear is the source of hopelessness and misinformation; it is fear that leads to a loss of freedom and individuality; and fear serves as the basis of social control.” Winston is the only one in the book who stands up to the fight of individualism and freedom in the face of the Party’s oppression. Nevertheless, the novel finishes with Winston’s struggle succumbing to his great fear as he is brainwashed to love the Big Brother. Orwell, by ending up the novel in this respect, conveys a message that fear stands at the top of human emotions, and once utilized by totalitarians, could not be overcome. In other words, since fear is an embodiment of the totalitarian control, its unbreakable nature, according to Orwell, leads directly to the ultimate triumph of the totalitarian governing.

Instead of a chilling ending in 1984, the triumphant ending of the film V for Vendetta, conveys a different message argued in Orwell’s novel. The setting of the story is a futuristic dystopian society in London, ruled by a totalitarian political party, the Norsefire Party. In an amazingly similar style of the Party in 1984, the Norsefire regime asserts considerable force on its citizens with the assistance of its well-established key branches of the government, including but not limited by The Eye, The Ear and The Finger. It’s not hard to guess from what they are called, The Eye and The Ear are responsible for monitoring individuals of rebellious actions. The Finger’s obligation is to deal with problematic people, torture and execute them. Adding on that, London in the film happens to be a place full of  “virus outbreaks, crops failure, and numerous wars”(Sage 8). In such a depressing dystopia comes a fearless man, V. He, described by film critic David Edelstein, is a masked man who “takes vengeance on repressive totalitarian state”. When he blows up the Old Bailey, a symbol of Norsefire regime, he sends message to the world,

fear got the best of you. And in your panic you turned to the now High Chancellor Adam Sutler. He promised you order and he promised you peace. And all he demanded in return was your silent obedient consent. Last night I started to end that silence. Last night I destroyed the Old Bailey to remind this country what it has forgotten (James McTeigue, 2006).

He unfolds the fact that people are suppressed through terror and intimidation, which they assume it to be reasonable. Seeing the hope that fear inside everyone’s heart could be eventually overcome, He promotes the public to stand up for freedom, liberty, and civil rights, in promising to carry out a sparkling revolution to destroy Norsefire’s dictatorship.

The film introduces V as someone endowed with intrepid nature. Some may argue that no one in the reality is able to be utterly immune to fear. However, the story of V would be more logical if viewed from V’s symbolization. Throughout the story he is represented by his strong idea and courage under the white Guy Fawkes mask, rather than his physical being. As V himself says right before his ultimate death, “beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof” (James McTeigue, 2006), the whole idea about V concerns merely his mind: his pursuit of freedom, his hatred to the Norsefire regimes, and his hope of a better world that would never come to an end. The film, in shaping such a fear-resisted character, suggests the fact that the ideas and faiths could somehow immune to the plague of fear.

Evey, another protagonist, is a constantly scared woman in most part of the movie. She is afraid that the Fingermen would arrest her for her rebellious activities involved with V. Terrified of what V has done and well aware of the risk to be with V, she takes every possible way to escape from him. After she successfully runs away from Shadow Gallery (V’s house), her panic and insecurity drive her to turns to Gordon for protections. However her peace does not stay for long. Fear again takes over Evey after she finds out the fact that Gordon has boldly humiliated the Norsefire on his TV show. Evey’s whole body is violently trembling and her eyes are filled with tears when she witnesses how the Fingermen beat Gordon down and bring him away. Evey herself also get caught when she attempts to escape from the house and put in prison. Here comes her greatest fear. In jail, she suffers from inhuman tortures and interrogations. Fear pours out from her dramatically wild-open eyes, disordered breath, and her hysterical scream. This is the moment when, as V said, “fear [gets] the best of  [her]”. However, everything starts to change after Evey finds Valeria’s letter. At the end Valeria says,

I shall die here. Every inch of me shall perish. Every inch, but one. An inch. It is small and it is fragile and it is the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must NEVER let them take it from us. I hope that whoever you are, you escape this place. I hope that the world turns, and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that, even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you, I love you. With all my heart, I love you (James McTeigue, 2006).

In Valeria’s story Evey sees her own identity. In Valeria’s hope, peace and love, Evey finds her own. When her eyes are no longer filled with horror, but with courage and determination, her fear comes to an end. Even threatened with death, Evey keeps V’s information from the interrogator to ensure his safety. Death is Evey’s greatest fear that she has been running from through her past life, but now she is afraid of it no more. As the interrogator says, “then you have no fear anymore…you are completely free” (James McTeigue, 2006), she has broken down the wall that for so long had kept her in a terrifying life, which had stopped her from speaking up for what she knows is the right thing. V inspires her to be aware of and to face her fear, and finally, Valeria helps to overcome her fear and let out an empowered Evey. She found something matters more than her life—love, courage, and justice. She is reborn in the falls of rain, she looks up and whispers, “God is in the rain” (James McTeigue, 2006). In the film scene of Evey’s reborn, “V’s baptism of fire is paralleled with Evey’s baptism of water,” she has freed herself from the miserable life in fear and in respect of her identity is now V’s successor. She later pulls the lever to destruct the House of Parliament, and becomes the one who complete V’s fight of subversion. She inherits V’s legacy—his idea of anti-oppression and freedom—and carries the fire of liberty.

Just like Evey, citizens of London are kept in a state of fear and obedience. Terror silences their voice of freedom and justice. The citizens’ authentic laughter when they watch Gordon’s satire show which humiliates the Norsefire regime actually reflects their hiding hatred to the government. However, under its fascist control, few of them are sufficiently brave to stand out. V again changes the whole story. After his promotion of a violent revolution, he sends out to every citizen a white Guy Fawkes mask and black robes. Putting on V’s suit, everyone wears not merely V’s clothes, but his identity, his idea and his faith. People’s fear has no reason to stay any longer for they are V now; beneath the masks are more than the face of individuals but V’s fearless spirit.

Either in the film V for Vendetta or in the novel 1984, fear explicitly emerges as a main ploy to manipulate citizens in a totalitarian respect. In terms of Winston in 1984 and either V or Evey in V for Vendetta, free spirits fighting against the repressive regulation are acknowledged to emerge in dystopian society. Revolt, regardless of which point from intension to action it stays at, takes place wherever government manipulation robs freedom, justice, and individuality. This physiological notion interestingly resembles Newton’s Third Law of Motion: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Although not always necessarily comes with an equal force, people’s rebellion against government oppression is, by its essence, originates from the very same thing. Although they share the same idea that inherent human nature resists external suppression, Orwell and McTeigue hold contradictory understandings on the impact of such spirits and nature. In 1984, the only subversive element against the Party’s uniformity is the rebellion of Winston and his lover Julia. Nevertheless, the intensive fear the Party exerts on both of them eventually leads to their mutual betrayal and surrender to the Big Brother. Since the success of fear symbolizes the ultimate victory of totalitarianism, Orwell stresses the impossibility of the survival of rebellions, which kills the hope of breaking down the dictatorship once it is given the chance to establish. However, in V for Vendetta, hope to overturn a fascist system does exist. After Evey’s reborn, V’s fearless faith empowers her and guides her to uproot her deep fear. As previously justified, V is a representation of an idea that opposes government suppression. The ending implies McTeigue’s idea that fear, as a tool of control, is vulnerable in the face of faith. Since the film is considerably based on a graphic that is directly response to Orwell’s 1984, a question rises: why would McTeigue argue against this specific Orwellian theory?

To decode the contradicting ideology between Orwell and McTeigue, historical contexts of both eras when they created the works are the prior concerning matters. For 1984, the fact that the book 1984 actually first met with its readers in the year 1948 implies the prophetic feature of this publication. After watching the rise of dictatorship, such as “the Russian Communists” and “the German Nazis” (Orwell, 263), as an anti-Stalinism political writer, he foresees the risk of such increasing tendency in modern society. By displaying the live of his protagonist Winston under the Party’s absolute control, Orwell puts the reader into an image of how liberty would come to an end after communism’s dominance of the world to strike an alarm to the dander of totalitarianism. Abbott Gleason notes such intention when examining George Orwell’s ideology during the Cold War,

Orwell’s era may be said to have be gun with the outbreak of World War I, took on more coherent shape with the Russian Revolution and culminated in the long years of the Cold War. It could be called the “era of totalitarianism,” or as the historian Elie Halevy called it, the “era of tyrannies.” Underlying many of the political horrors of this period was a growing skepticism about the centuries…Nineteen eighty-Four reflects his own loss of confidence, and he fear that the age of totalitarianism meant that liberty would come to an end “world wide”. Orwell’s deepening despair, however, seems also to have had to do with something more personal: not only with gloom about the potential totalitarianization of the world, but also with an increasingly vivid realization that the autonomous individual with a morally based personal agency was unsustainable fiction. This conclusion, emphasized by Alan Sandison, seems evident in Winston’s total submission to O’Brien at the end of Nineteen Eight-Four. (74-78)

In other words, Orwellian ideology suggests that liberal individualism is profoundly periled by the totalitarianism. At the end of the story, Winston’s struggle of freedom and justice and every piece of his humanities surrenders to the great fear that the Party exerts on him. The way Orwell ends the novel 1984 with the ultimate victory of totalitarianism cannot be view independently of his despair to future communist construction: no hope of the success of liberty and individualism lies in the totalitarian. He dramatizes this extreme version of the totalitarian state regulating the life of it subject, for not necessarily the single mission but certainly the most conceiving one—to warn people of the coming perilous communisms.

Nearly 20 years after the issue of the comic book, the film with the identical name V for Vendetta was on its show in cinemas worldwide in 2006. The film is largely base on the original Moore’s comic book in 1988 expect for a few adaptions made to drive audience’s attention to contemporary concerns instead of obsolete ones at the end of Cold War demonstrated by Moore. The original graphic novel reveals a conflict between fascism and anarchy; while the V for Vendetta film stresses the theme of left wing ideals versus conservatism. The graphic novel is a reaction against the era of late Cold War during the mid-1980s, whereas the film tends to respond to the Bush Administration in 2006. (Ott, 5) Even Moore himself describes the film to be “a thwarted and frustrated and perhaps largely impotent American liberal fantasy of someone with American liberal values against a state run by neo-conservatives” (The Last Angry Man, 2007).

In the beginning of the twenty-first century, the Bush Administration wields power in the style of the Norsefire regime’s dictatorship in multiple observational features of its political decisions and their implicit purposes. Jonathan Schell addresses his concern about the same issue. He writes,

there is a name for a system of government that wages aggressive war, deceive its citizens, violates their rights, abuse power and break the law, rejects judicial and legislative checks on itself, claims power without limit, tortures prisoners an acts in secret. It’s dictatorship. The Administration of George W. Bush is not a dictatorship, but it does manifest the characteristics of one in embryonic form.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 with the loss of over three thousand innocent life, George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States has abolished civil liberties, which the Founding Fathers established this nation to fight for. He opposed the illegalizing homosexual marriage, and manipulates media, such as New York Times and CBS New into tools of propaganda that offer little dissent or criticism of the government. In addition, the sudden realization of the terrorist thread excited great fear in United States and shifted the major focus of Bush to anti-terrorism campaigns. In the following years, thousands of American soldiers have been killed in the war with Afghanistan and Iraq, which President Bush waged as part of the “War on Terror”—an international military campaign against terrorism. Despite its official mission to eliminate terrorist organization, the documentary video “Bush Administration and 911” unfolds the considerable yet untold benefits Bush acquired from these “anti-terrorism” wars, including substantial National Defense funds and Western-Asian oil profits. In addition, according to John Yoo, a former lawyer in the United States Department of Justice during Bush’s ear, among approximately 125 military conflicts Bush Administration involved with, Congress has declared the war only five times. The book, Liberty Under Attack: Reclaiming Our Freedoms in an Age of Terror, notes,

Yoo had a hand in virtually every major legal decision involving the U.S. response to the attacks of September 11, and at every point, as far as we know, his advice was virtually always the same—the president can do whatever the president wants. (Cole, 51)

Bush Administration’s abuse of power undermines the liberty that supposes to be carried forward on the land of America. In 206, James McTeigue directed V for Vendetta in response to the apparent corruption in Bush Administration. An CNN(Cable News Network) journalist Tim Graham regards McTeigue’s film as “a movie that has chilling allusions to everything from September 11 to government spying to terror bombings to the war in Iraq”. He indicates that in V for Vendetta, the conflicts between V and the Norsefire regime in London in fact refers to the war between freedom and oppression in the United States. In the end of the film, Evey transcends the fear of the Norse regime and inherits V’s idea­—“freedom forever”(James McTeigue, 2006). Blowing up Parliament is a symbol of hope for a triumph. The film “puts faith in our ability to resist the machinations that would use fear to control us”. (Schopp, 268) McTeigue argues the government that ignores the voice of people and violates liberty and justice, for example Bush Administration, cannot forever hold its ongoing stability.

In sum, Orwell’s 1984 offers a clear and threatening image of a futurist totalitarian society facing the rising of communalism at the beginning of Cold War. The fact that in the story, fear, as a government manipulation technique, transcends any humanities, such as love, liberty, and individuality, is the loss of hope for the existence of real people with free mind under the absolute control of the dictator. Therefore, he doesn’t offer solutions to fight against the system, yet puts focus on vividly revealing the exaggerated thread as a warning of a possible future dominant of such power. However, the film V for Vendetta (McTeigue, 2006) is created in response to corrupted Bush Administration in United State, which is said to be a land where freedom and liberty prevails. In the film, V, Evey, and citizens successfully overcome the resistant of fear and rise up in rebellion. McTeigue, on the contrary to Orwell, puts hope in uprising against totalitarian control. Facing the increasing vulnerable liberty in U.S, McTeigue sees the enormous power of people and voices them to stand up and fight. It take the historical contract into consideration, McTeigue is not arguing against the issue of right or wrong, nevertheless, dedicating to a theme adjustment to reflect the changes in the world that have been made in this nearly sixty year after 1984.

 

 

Notes

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:

 

Works Cited

Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1949.

Ingle, Stephen. The Social and Political Thought of George Orwell: A Reassessment. London ; New York: Routledge, 2006.

Skoll, Geoffrey. Social Theory of Fear. Basingstoke, UK, and New York, USA: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. Print.

Meerloo., and Joost Abraham Maurits. Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing. [1st ed.]. [S.l.]: World Pub. Co., 1956.

Bulloch, Douglas. “V Is For Vendetta: P Is For Power A Film Reading Of V For Vendetta.” Millennium (03058298) 35.2 (2007): 431-434. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Dec. 2012.

Bulloch, Douglas. “V Is For Vendetta: P Is For Power A Film Reading Of V For Vendetta.” Millennium (03058298) 35.2 (2007): 431-434. Academic Search Complete. Web. 9 Dec. 2012.

Ott, Brian L. “The Visceral Politics Of V For Vendetta: On Political Affect In Cinema.” Critical Studies In Media Communication 27.1 (2010): 39-54. Academic Search Complete. Web. 9 Dec. 2012.

McTeigue, James, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski, Joel Silver, Grant Hill, Benjamin Waisbren, Adrian Biddle, Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, Stephen Fry, John Hurt, Tim Pigott-Smith, Rupert Graves, Roger Allam, Ben Miles, Sinéad Cusack, Natasha Wightman, John Standing, Eddie Marsan, Owen Paterson, Martin Walsh, Sammy Sheldon, and Dario Marianelli. V for Vendetta. Burbank, CA: Warner Home Video, 2006.

Sage, James. “V for Vendetta and Political Philosophy: A Critique of Thomas Hobbes.” Department of Philosophy University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (2007): n. pag. Print.

Schopp, Andrew, and Matthew B. Hill. The War on Terror and American Popular Culture: September 11 and Beyond. Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2009. Print.

Schell, Jonathan. “Terrorism and Social Panic in British Fantastic Cinema.” (2008): n. pag. Print.

Gleason, Abbott, Jack Goldsmith, and Martha C. Nussbaum. On Nineteen Eighty-Four: Orwell and Our Future. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 2005. Print.

Graham, Tim. “CNN Headline News Strenuously Ties ‘V for Vendetta’ Dictator to President Bush.” News Busters (2026): n. pag. Print.

Leone, Richard C, and Greg Anrig. Liberty Under Attack: The War on Our Freedoms in an Age of Terror. New York: PublicAffairs, 2007. Print.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stage Three Draft

INTRODUCTION

WHAT FEAR IS-AS CONTROL, SUPPRESSION

 

THSIS. In George Orwell’s ideology, as he demonstrates through his dystopian fictional novel 1984, fear is the indicator of government control and is an essentially (impregnable/impervious/impenetrable/unbreakable) force. However, the dystopian film V for Vendetta believes fear, while agreeing on its political repressive nature, is surmountable by liberty, courage, and justice.

 

NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR

Orwell sets the story in London, now Airstrip One, in the nation of Oceania. Ruled by the Big Brother, the leader of the inner Party, people in Oceania live under the totalitarian guardian of the Party. Because human nature fights totalitarian, a dominant force to suppress this portion of rebellious nature is desperately in need. Ingle specifies this technic in her book, “The governing principle of the relationship, as it was with the empire, was not love or even respect but, as Orwell portrayed it, fear,” (39) the Party constantly exerts tension on its citizens to maintain a orderly society. Such tension can be classified in to two major categories: the external fear of the surroundings/the outside settings and the internal fear of the Party.

External fear

The Party inclines to draw an illusion of warfare and class fight in favor of creating mass fear. People are exposed to the messages that Oceania is at ceaseless wars with Eurasia then later Eastasia. The threat of war is kept at the forehead of people’s mind by the rocket bombs constantly falling on their land. To another aspect, in Two Minutes Hate, the Party presents Goldstein, the leader of Brotherhood, as the traitor to Big Brother, the enemy of people and the object of hatred. Orwell indicates, “the sight or even the thought of Goldstein produced fear and anger automatically.” (13) The Party spreads out the intimidation from outside world with hope to break down a stable and peaceful image. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, safety sits at the second to the bottom of needs. If this particular need is not satisfied, people could barely concern themselves with esteem and self-actualization, which possibly lead to up-rising intention or even action. What people would instinctively do is to seek for a shelter, under either government or leading power, for security.

Geoffrey R. Skoll comes to a supporting analysis when he examines the connections between fear and authoritarian control. He writes,

nothing motivates like fear, and gratitude is accorded to those who promises protection. Authoritarian regimes reply on this simple psychology. They point to enemies who would terrorize without the state’s protection. Enemies are always defined as part of a network of terror (58).

The external terror in Oceania functions in a similar way. The image of external threat to their society’s existence such as wars and crisis is to incite fear and hatred to the population. By taking advantages of this panic, the Party is able to establishes its control and “to keep the structure of society intact” (Orwell 164)

 

Internal Fear & Fear Unbreakable

Orwell particularly highlights the scrutiny and torture as ploys for the Party to extend fear among the masses. The first two parts of the novel present the readers a strong feeling of insecurity, by displaying detailed daily actions and inner thoughts of Winston Smith, the protagonist of 1984. Winston, as well as every other citizen, lives a helpless life with no privacy. The Party sets up a structured monitoring system of Telescreen to keep track of people’s physical behaviors. In the fear of the fact that “every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized” (Orwell, 3), Winston puts great efforts controlling his actions, his words, and facial expressions from revealing symptoms of disloyalty against the Party. To a startling degree, intension to rebel is no longer private belongs that could be concealed forever from the Thought Police. This fear of getting caught disciplines people to retain pure loyalty towards the Party, and this effectively works for most people in Oceania, but barely for Winston. His later love with Julia and enrollment in the Brotherhood symbolize his rebellion against the Party. However, in the last part of the novel, his worst fear is realized when Winston is finally sent to Room 101. Facing Winston’s constant resistance to follow the Party even after brutal and inhuman torture, O’Brien, one of the leaders of the Party says,

pain is not always enough. There are occasions when a human being will stand out against pain… But for everyone there is something unendurable—something that cannot be contemplated. It is merely an instinct which cannot be disobeyed. It’s the same with rats. For you, they are endurable. They are a form of pressure that you cannot withstand, even if you wish to. (286)

{FEAR=RATS}

Consequently, when[…] Winston hysterically begs “Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! Not me!”(?) At precisely this moment, Winston’s individualities as a human beings collapse. His vicious betrayal marks the victory for the Party: his courage, love, faith, loyalty, and integrity no longer exist in the face of this terrible fear. It overrides his humanities/individualities and turns him into an emotionless pawn of the Party.

James Sage claims, “in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, we see Big Brother and The INGSOC Party using fear as a ruling principle. Fear is the source of hopelessness and misinformation; it is fear that leads to a loss of freedom and individuality; and fear serves as the basis of social control.” Orwell, by revealing a depressing dystopia society filled by fear, conveys a message that fear stands at the top of human emotions, and once utilized by totalitarians, could not be overcome.

 

 


V FOR VENDETTA

Fear as breakable force

The setting of the story is a futuristic dystopian society in London, ruled by a totalitarian political party, the Norsefire Party. In an amazingly similar way to the Party in 1984, the Norsefire regime asserts considerable force on its citizens with the assistance of its well-established key branches of the government, including but not limited by The Eye, The Ear and The Finger. It’s not hard to guess from what they are called, The Eye and The Ear are responsible for monitoring individuals of rebellious actions. The Finger’s obligation is to deal with problematic people, torture and execute them. Furthermore, the film depicts a world which happens to be full of  “virus outbreaks, crops failure, and numerous wars”(Sage 8). In such a depressing dystopia comes a fearless figure, V talk about significance or symbolism of v. When he blows up the Old Bailey, a symbol of Norsefire regime, he sends message to the world,

Fear got the best of you. And in your panic you turned to the now High Chancellor Adam Sutler. He promised you order and he promised you peace. And all he demanded in return was your silent obedient consent. Last night I started to end that silence. Last night I destroyed the Old Bailey to remind this country what it has forgotten(James McTeigue, 2006)

He unfolds the fact that people are suppressed through terror and intimidation, and people assume that’s natural. The Fear inside everyone’s heart could be overcome. He promotes the public to stand up for freedom, liberty, and civil rights, in promising to carry out a revolutionary uprising to destroy Norsefire’s dictatorship.

 

V’s fear

The film introduces V as someone endowed with intrepid nature. Some may argue that no one in the reality is able to be utterly immune to fear. [Need counter argument] However, the story of V would be more logical if viewed from his symbolization. Throughout the story he is more presented by his strong idea and courage under the white Guy Fawkes mask, than his physical being. As V himself says right before his ultimate death, “Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof”, the whole idea about V concerns merely his mind: his pursuit of freedom, his hatred to the Norsefire regimes, and his hope of a better world. His ideas would never come to an end. The film, in shaping such a fear-resisted character, suggests the fact that the ideas and faiths could somehow immune to the plague of fear.

 

Evey’s fear

Evey is constantly a scared woman in most part of the movie. She is afraid that the Fingermen would arrest her for her rebellious activities involved with V. V’s active engagement in the rebellion reminds her of her parents, and how they were victims of Norsefire’s totalitarian governing. Terrified of what V has done and well aware of the risk to be with V, she takes every possible way to escape from him. After she successfully runs away from Shadow Gallery (V’s house), her panic and insecurity drive her to turns to Gordon for protections. However her peace does not stay for long. Fear again takes over Evey after she finds out the fact that Gordon has boldly humiliated the Norsefire on his TV show. Evey’s whole body is violently trembling and her eyes are filled with tears when she witnesses how the Fingermen beat Gordon down and bring him away. Evey herself also get caught when she attempts to escape from house. Here comes her greatest fear. In jail, she suffers from inhuman tortures and interrogations. Fear pours out from her dramatically wild-open eyes, disordered breath, and her hysterical scream. This is the moment when, as V said, “fear [gets] the best of  [her]”. However, everything starts to change after Evey finds Valeria’s letter. At the end Valeria says,

I shall die here. Every inch of me shall perish. Every inch, but one. An inch. It is small and it is fragile and it is the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must NEVER let them take it from us. I hope that whoever you are, you escape this place. I hope that the world turns, and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that, even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you, I love you. With all my heart, I love you.

In Valeria’s story Evey sees her own identity. In Valeria’s hope, peace and love, Evey finds her own. When her eyes are no longer filled with horror, but with courage and determination, her fear comes to an end. Even threatened with death, Evey keeps V’s information from the interrogator to ensure his safety. Death is Evey’s greatest fear that she has been running from through her past life, but now she is afraid of it no more. As the interrogator says, “then you have no fear anymore…you are completely free,” she has broken down the wall that for so long had kept her in a terrifying life, which had stopped her from speaking up for what she knows is the right thing. V inspires her to be aware of and to face her fear, and finally, Valeria helps to overcome her fear and let out an empowered Evey. She found something matters more than her life—love, courage, and justice. She is reborn in the falls of rain, she looks up and whispers, “God is in the rain”: she has no fear feeling in every step of her way. In the film scene of Evey’s reborn in the rain, “V’s baptism of fire is paralleled with Evey’s baptism of water,” she has freed herself from the miserable life in fear and in respect of her identity is now V’s successor. She later pulls the lever to destruct the 10 Downing Street/ House of Parliament, and becomes the one who complete V’s struggle of subversion. She inherits V’s legacy—his idea of anti-oppression and freedom—and carries the fire of liberty down.

 

Citizen’s Fear

Just like Evey, citizens of London are kept in a state of fear and obedience. Terror silences their voice of freedom and justice. The citizens’ authentic laughter when they watch Gordon’s satire show which humiliates the Norsefire regime actually reflects their hiding hatred to the government. However, under its fascist control, few of them are brave enough to stand out. V again changes the whole story. After his promotion of a violent revolution, he sends out to every citizen a white Guy Fawkes and black robes. Putting on V’s suit, everyone wears not merely V’s clothes, but his identity, his idea and his faith. People’s fear has no reason to stay any longer for they are anonymous now; beneath the masks are more than the face of individuals but V’s fearless spirit.

 

Message: Orwell-government control

Both in the film V for Vendetta and in the novel 1984, fear explicitly emerges as a main ploy to manipulate citizens in a totalitarian respect.

However, in terms of Winston in 1984 and either V or Evey in V for Vendetta film, free spirits fighting against the repressive regulation are acknowledged to emerge in dystopian society. Revolt, regardless of which point from intension to action it stays at, takes place wherever government manipulation robs freedom, justice, and individuality. This physiological notion interestingly resembles Newton’s Third Law of Motion: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Although not always necessarily comes with an equal force, people’s rebellion against government oppression is, by its essence, originates from the very same thing. They share the idea that inherent human nature resists external suppression, but hold contradictory understandings the impact of such spirits and nature. In 1984, the subversive element against the Party’s uniformity is rebellious intension of Winston and his lover Julia. The intensive fear the Party exerts on both of them eventually leads to their mutual betrayal and surrender to the Big Brother. The success of fear symbolizes the ultimate victory of totalitarianism. Orwell stresses the impossibility of the survival of rebellions, which kills the hope of breaking down the dictatorship once it is given the chance to establish.

Orwell historical context and purpose

To decode Orwell’s ideology, historical context of the era when Orwell created the work 1984 is the prior concerning matter. The fact that the book 1984 actually first met with its readers in the year 1948 implies the prophetic feature of this publication. After watching the rise of dictatorship, such as “the Russian Communists” and “the German Nazis” (Orwell, 263), he foresees such increasing tendency in modern society. By displaying the live of his protagonist Winston under the Party’s absolute control, Orwell puts the reader into the image of how liberty would come to an end after communism’s dominance of the world to strike an alarm to the dander of totalitarianism. Abbott Gleason notes when examining George Orwell’s ideology during the Cold War,

Orwell’s era may be said to have be gun with the outbreak of World War I, took on more coherent shape with the Russian Revolution and culminated in the long years of the Cold War. It could be called the “era of totalitarianism,” or as the historian Elie Halevy called it, the “era of tyrannies.” Underlying many of the political horrors of this period was a growing skepticism about the centuries…Nineteen eighty-Four reflects his own loss of confidence, and he fear that the age of totalitarianism meant that liberty would come to an end “world wide”. Orwell’s deepening despair, however, seems also to have had to do with something more personal: not only with gloom about the potential totalitarianization of the world, but also with an increasingly vivid realization that the autonomous individual with a morally based personal agency was unsustainable fiction. This conclusion, emphasized by Alan Sandison, seems evident in Winston’s total submission to O’Brien at the end of Nineteen Eight-Four. (74-78)

In other words, Orwellian ideology suggests liberal individualism is profoundly periled by the totalitarianism. At the end of the story, Winston’s struggle of freedom and justice and every piece of his humanities surrenders to the great fear that the Party exerts on him. The way Orwell ends up the novel 1984 with the ultimate victory of totalitarianism cannot be view independently of his despair to future communist construction: no hope of the success of liberty and individualism lies in the totalitarian. He dramatizes this extreme version of the totalitarian state regulating the life of it subject, for not necessarily the single mission but certainly the most conceiving one—to warn people of the coming perilous communisms.

 

 

 

 

 

Historical context and message

The graphic novel series V for Vendetta by Alan Moore was released in 1988. Nearly 20 years after the issue of the comic book, the film with the identical name V for Vendetta was on its show in cinemas worldwide in 2006. The film is largely base on the original Moore’s version expect a few adaptions made to drive audience’s attention to contemporary concerns instead of obsolete ones demonstrated by Moore. The original graphic novel reveals a conflict between fascism and anarchy; the V for Vendetta film stresses the theme of left wing ideals versus conservatism. The graphic novel is a reaction against the era of late Cold War during the mid-1980s, whereas the film tends to respond to the Bush Administration in 2006. Moore himself describes the film to be “a thwarted and frustrated and perhaps largely impotent American liberal fantasy of someone with American liberal values against a state run by neo-conservatives” (The Last Angry Man, 2007).

In the beginning of twenty-first century, the Bush Administration wields power in in the style of the Norsefire regime’s dictatorship in multiple observational features of its political decisions and their implicit purposes. Jonathan Schell observes the same issue,

There is a name for a system of government that wages aggressive war, deceive its citizens, violates their rights, abuse power and break the law, rejects judicial and legislative checks on itself, claims power without limit, tortures prisoners an acts in secret. It’s dictatorship. The Administration of George W. Bush is not a dictatorship, but it does manifest the characteristics of one in embryonic form.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 with the loss of over three thousand innocent life, George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States has abolished civil liberties, which the Founding Fathers established this nation to fight for. The sudden realization of the terrorist thread excited great fear in United States and transferred the major focus of Bush to anti-terrorism campaigns. In the following years, thousands of American soldiers have been killed in the war with Afghanistan and Iraq, which President Bush waged as part of the “War on Terror”—an international military campaign against terrorism. Despite its official mission to eliminate terrorist organization, {vedio} suggests the considerable yet untold benefits Bush acquired from these “anti-terrorism” wars, including substantial National Defend funds and Western-Asian oil profits. In addition, according to John Yoo, a former lawyer in the United States Department of Justice during Bush’s ear, among approximately 125 military conflicts Bush Administration involved with, Congress has declared the war only five times. The book, Liberty Under Attack: Reclaiming Our Freedoms in an Age of Teeror, notes,

Yoo had a hand in virtually every major legal decision involving the U.S. response to the attacks of September 11, and at every point, as far as we know, his advice was virtually always the same—the president can do whatever the president wants. (Cole, 51)

Bush Administration’s abuse of power undermines the liberty that supposes to be carried forward on the land of America. In 2006, James McTeigue directed the film V for Vendetta in response to the corruption in Bush Administration. An CNN(Cable News Network) journalist Tim Graham regards McTeigue’s film as “a movie that has chilling allusions to every from September 11 to government spying to terror bombings to the war in Iraq”. He indicates that in V for Vendetta, the conflicts between V and the Norsfire regime in London in fact refers to the war between freedom and oppression in the United States. In the film’s ending, Evey transcends the fear of the Norse regime and inherits V’s idea­—“freedom forever”(James McTeigue, 2006). Blowing up Parliament is a symbol of hope for a triumph

the film “puts faith in our ability to resist the machinations that would use fear to control us”. (Schopp, 268) McTeigue argues the government that ignores the voice of people and violates liberty and justice, for example Bush Administration, cannot forever hold its ongoing stability.

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1949.

Ingle, Stephen. The Social and Political Thought of George Orwell: A Reassessment. London ; New York: Routledge, 2006.

Skoll, Geoffrey. Social Theory of Fear. Basingstoke, UK, and New York, USA: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. Print.

Meerloo., and Joost Abraham Maurits. Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing. [1st ed.]. [S.l.]: World Pub. Co., 1956.

Bulloch, Douglas. “V Is For Vendetta: P Is For Power A Film Reading Of V For Vendetta.” Millennium (03058298) 35.2 (2007): 431-434. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Dec. 2012.

Bulloch, Douglas. “V Is For Vendetta: P Is For Power A Film Reading Of V For Vendetta.” Millennium (03058298) 35.2 (2007): 431-434. Academic Search Complete. Web. 9 Dec. 2012.

Ott, Brian L. “The Visceral Politics Of V For Vendetta: On Political Affect In Cinema.” Critical Studies In Media Communication 27.1 (2010): 39-54. Academic Search Complete. Web. 9 Dec. 2012.

McTeigue, James, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski, Joel Silver, Grant Hill, Benjamin Waisbren, Adrian Biddle, Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, Stephen Fry, John Hurt, Tim Pigott-Smith, Rupert Graves, Roger Allam, Ben Miles, Sinéad Cusack, Natasha Wightman, John Standing, Eddie Marsan, Owen Paterson, Martin Walsh, Sammy Sheldon, and Dario Marianelli. V for Vendetta. Burbank, CA: Warner Home Video, 2006.

Sage, James. “V for Vendetta and Political Philosophy: A Critique of Thomas Hobbes.” Department of Philosophy  University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (2007): n. pag. Print.

Schopp, Andrew, and Matthew B. Hill. The War on Terror and American Popular Culture: September 11 and Beyond. Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2009. Print.

Schell, Jonathan. “Terrorism and Social Panic in British Fantastic Cinema.” (2008): n. pag. Print.

Gleason, Abbott, Jack Goldsmith, and Martha C. Nussbaum. On Nineteen Eighty-Four: Orwell and Our Future. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 2005. Print.

Graham, Tim. “CNN Headline News Strenuously Ties ‘V for Vendetta’ Dictator to President Bush.” News Busters (2026): n. pag. Print.

Leone, Richard C, and Greg Anrig. Liberty Under Attack: The War on Our Freedoms in an Age of Terror. New York: PublicAffairs, 2007. Print.

Stage Two Final

Thought Control

In the late 1940s, before the tension of the Cold War escalated, many politics inclined to support communism. Well aware of this tendency, George Orwell published the fictional book 1984 to ring an alarm about the suppression under a totalitarian society. Mainly concerned about dictators’ control of the masses’ mind, Gorge Orwell presents the theory of thought control from the perspective of his protagonist, Winston. The story takes place in Oceania, which Orwell forms to be a perfect totalitarian society under the guardian of Big Brother, the leader of the Party. Aimed to seize absolute power and prevent inhabitants from rebelling, the Party masters a series of thought control technics. The Party endeavors to either eliminate or remodel the original idea in people’s mind; it commands people to use Newspeak, a new language formed by the Party; it utilizes mass media to spread the ideology of the Big Brother; and it establishes a structured system of monitoring to keep track of the citizens’ physical behaviors. These four pieces of idea forms up the Orwell’s theory of thought control—the indispensible use of purification, language, propaganda, and terror. Three of them, excluding the use of terror, hold true in reality of the Cultural Revolution, Mao’s thought control in new established People’s Republic of China.

In 1984, Orwell stresses the significance for a mind controller to purge the objects’ brain before adding ideas that he expects them accept. In the first part of the book, Orwell does not mention any instruments for the Party to challenge the original idea in people’s mind. As his protagonist Winton starts to remember things from the past, Winston’s individual thinking became considerably active. This comparably free status of mind ultimately triggers his rebellion against the Party. Orwell shows the fact that thought control without purging the past could never succeed. When Winston was imprisoned in Room 101, O’Brien, an upper level executor of the Party says to him, “we shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves” (Orwell, 256). Only after O’Brien brutally compels Winston to abandon the symbolic logic “2+2=4” and forget about the past, he is able to load him with the notion of “2+2=5” and the love of Big Brother. It is the same idea as if the Party wants to fill a pitcher with coffee; it has to empty the water in that pitcher first. The displacement of water is symbolic to the Party’s cleanliness of the past, which serve to the next step—filling.

On May 16th of 1966, Zedong Mao, the first chairman of the People’s Republic of China, asserted the need for a revolution to prevent the restoration of capitalism and sustain the purity of the inner-Party. In late 1966, Mao launched the Cultural Revolution. During this period, expecting to shift the power from Deng Xiaoping, another respected leader of new China, Mao showed his attempt to manipulate the masses’ minds.

His thought control during the Cultural Revolution testified Orwell’s idea of purging. During revolution period, Mao believed certain components of old traditions might sustain the life of capitalistic path and violate the purity of the communistic path. Consequently, he regarded old culture, old ideas, old habits, and old customs (called the Four Olds) as corrosive and rebellious heritages that must be utterly eradicated. Reacting to his appeal, youth nationwide gathered to form an unofficial revolutionary organization, which was named the Red Guard, to help carry the eradiation of the “Four Olds” forward. During the Cultural Revolution years, a myriad of books and libraries were burnt, museums were shut down, temples and shrines were attacked, historical heritages were smashed, and traditional art works were rived (Joeseph, Pickowicz, and Walder 92). Moreover, intellectuals, such as science scholars, college professors, and journal editors who were titled “men with old thinking”, were also persecuted throughout the entire period of the Cultural Revolution. Therefore, the intellectuals suffered intensely from public humiliation, the partisan followers’ insults, and mass violence. Consequently, a large portion of educated people ended their lives by committing suicide. The removal of the Four Olds and intellectual minds secured the emptiness of people’s minds, which guaranteed Mao ideal “containers” to inculcate Maoist thought.

In 1984, Orwell indicated language as a powerful tool of thought control. By abandoning Oldspeak (English) and implementing Newspeak, the Party substantially killed the diversity of language. Joost Meerloo, a Dutch Doctor of psychoanalyst, states in his published book,

the verbocracy in totalitarian thinking and the official verbosity serve to disturb and suffocate the free minds of citizens…the individual citizens becomes a parrot, repeating ready-made slogans and propaganda catchwords without understanding what they really mean, or what forces stand behind them.

The primary practice of Newspeak is to shrink the English vocabulary. Only words that acclaim the Party remain in the Newspeak. Monotonous vocabulary like these tremendously limited the power of the people to express their feeling, in other words, the Party narrow the range of awareness of its citizens. For example, if the word “rebellion” has never existed, people will have no reference for rebellious action, and thus will not be able to come up with a rebellion related intention or action. Moreover, as the Oldspeak disappeared, the Party gets rid of all the preceding literature works. What mattered was the loss of diversity of ideologies that those written or spoken words carry. Various thoughts and ideas presented in terms of terminology and phrases in books, songs and poems were relinquished together with the dying Oldspeak. With the control of language, the diverse ideas and expressions are confined to the positive attitude towards the Party.

During the Cultural Revolution, Mao published the Quotations from Chairman Mao, usually referred to as the Little Red Book. With over one billions of printed copies released to the public, the book symbolized the prevalence of Mao’s ideology. The book contains the elaborated quotations of Mao about communistic path, orthodoxy thoughts, and liberalism. In order to replace ritual use of language and with Mao’s words, the Party promoted people from young to old, from lower class to the affluent to imitate and recite words, phrase and sentences in the Little Red Book. The penetration was further enforced when the Little Red Book was assigned to be a mandatory course for students of all degrees from elementary school to university. Mao utilized the power of language to instill his ideology into the masses mind.

The strategy of propaganda, as a direct medium to spread manipulators’ ideologies, is usually associated with the mass media like newspaper, posters, television, and public radio. In Orwell’s 1984, the Ministry of Truth is the propaganda ministry utterly manipulated by the inner Party. Ironically, the Ministry of Truth is never concerned about truth. Employees in this department rewrite the historical documents and make up facts that satisfy Big Brother’s desire. Winston, a formal employee of the Ministry of Truth, discloses the fact that “most of the material that you were dealing with had no connection with anything in the real worlds, not even the kind of connection that is contained in a direct lie…the output of boots was given as six-two millions…very likely no boots had been produced at all”(Orwell 41). Furthermore, with the purpose of establishing unified thoughts in the masses’ minds, the little screen and the public speaker in 1984 repetitively play compliments of the Party and the ideology of the Big Brother. “Our entire understanding of the world and current affairs is filtered through the mass media, interpreted by journalists and so-called experts. Their views become our views simply because we are not offered any alternatives” (Fraser, Beeston). For similar reason, the people in Oceana were exposed only to the uniformed information beneficial to the Party; thus there were no optional ideas for them to choose from. In this way of propaganda, the Party limits the people’s thoughts to what they are exposed to—the Big Brother’s ideology.

Chinese propaganda during Mao’s era agrees perfectly with Orwell’s theory. The Central Propaganda Department is an internal division of the Party itself. As Esarey comments on the propaganda of PR China, “media operations and content are tightly controlled, and the Party largely determines what appears in news reports”, the CPD served no more than a direct machinery speaker of Mao. Some news was occasionally made up to meet with current political policy of Mao. In a year when Mao launched a plan to multiply production of the agricultural industry, the annual report posted on the People’s Daily newspaper bragged about the fancily tremendous agricultural output, fifty times more than the actual number. Under the Party’s control, the newspaper selectively reported only the positive information to glorify the party. The prevailing posters displayed “people’s happy life under the guardian of Mao”; the loudspeaker updated and praised the wise decisions Mao made. Controversial issues, critics, and free talk never emerged in the mass media. Such biased and doctrinal propaganda could systemize minds into unified models.

Orwell demonstrate ways for ruling power to empty then refill minds of the masses, but for what reason the Party is able to succeed? The key is in the 1984. The people of Oceana were terrified. The Party continuously overheard and scrutinized its citizens. The Thought Police behind telescreen watches the physical behavior and overheard the words of every citizen at any time to search for symptoms of rebellion. Even a facial twitch could be judged as a display of disloyal intention. The kids are educated to report suspicious act of everyone they observe, including their own parents. The fact that the posters of Big Brother with its heading “Big Brother is watching you” are posted everywhere reflected the Party’s willingness to let the people be aware of the constant monitoring. Understanding the unlikeliness to hide the rebellious attempt from the Party, the people would instinctively avoid the dangerous intention of rebellion, no to mention rebellious actions. Such intense monitoring evoked great fear of inner thoughts of the citizens. Orwell writes in the book, “thoughtcrime was not a thing that could conceal…thoughtcrime does not lead to death, thoughtcrime is death”(19). Since the watchful eyes of the Party are everywhere, even the thought of disloyalty, which could be easily perceived under the scrutiny of the Party, is fatal. The idea is the strategy of monitoring provokes the fear of any subtle display of rebellion, and such fear would ultimately prevent the thought of disloyalty.

People would blindly obey the command of their leader in two extreme cases: either great fear or great worship. The fact that Mao controlled people’s mind utilizing the personal cult rather than fear questions this component of Orwell’s thought control theory. The prevalence of the Maoist thought spread by the Little Red Book and Chinese propaganda ultimately led to the personal cult of Mao, which developed to an unquestionable faith during the period of the Cultural Revolution. Portraits of Mao’s smiling face in the middle of a splendid sun were placed on the most obvious places at individuals’ houses; big red posters of propaganda, for instants, the cheerful crowd with hopeful expression and the Little Red Books in hands, and a group of people walking to the front with subtitle “The sunlight of Mao Thought illuminates the road of the Great Proletariat”, were posted on every wall; and the public radio played the people’s positive compliments to Mao’s guardian twenty-four hour a day. Titled as the “never setting red sun” and the “savor of new China”, Mao was glorified more like a god-like figure rather than merely a leader. (Li, 147) Hardly anyone would dispute the god he/she believes in, in the same manner, the masses of new China give complete trust to Mao.

The primary reason why Orwell’s theory of this particular strategy failed to apply is the distinctive objects the Party and Mao were manipulating thoughts on. In 1984, the society of Oceania was classified into three layers, the inner Party, the outer Party, and the proletariat. The inner Party, symbolized by the Big Brother, is the ruling class of the city. The Party mentioned above refers to the inner Party. It is the power core and the only political decision maker. Formed by middle-class people who possess a certain amount of wealth, the outer party works for the inner Party, but no more than mechanical and trivial errands. The Party focuses on the control of the outer Party, however, ignores the proletariats. Since the fact that wealthy people have better access to the higher level of education, the outer Party members who empowered themself with the deeper awareness of individual thoughts and self-esteem, are theoretically more likely to originate critical doubts against the Party, as Orwell’s protagonist Winston does. Therefore, dictatorial method is needed to sustain the Party’s controlling power. In Mao’s case, the persecution during the Cultural Revolution silenced the well-informed intellectuals. The majority of new China left is proletariat, either farmers or labors. The minds of these poorly educated people were parallel to those of infants, vulnerable and exposed. Mao exploited propaganda to refill the masses’ empty mind with blind worship.

Orwell’s principle of thought control draws a reasonable portrait of how political power attempts to manipulate the masses’ minds for its own benefits. It is a valid assumption, when examined by the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The strategy of terror described in the 1984 failed to apply in Mao’s case results in the unparalleled class group that Big Brother and Mao were dealing with. Although the theory might not be accurate facing different cultural background and time periods, the overall pattern of Orwell’s idea is explicit.

When seen the current era from the perspective of Orwell, the phenomena of thought control seems to last even in the modern “free” world. Nowadays, in societies where freedom and liberty are being actively encouraged, yet the wild-spread media such as the Internet, books, televisions, films and videos, which play an significant role in forming people’s awareness of the world, possibly continues to serve political parties as potential and indirect tools of controlling the masses’ minds. Newly defined words and phrase spread by the Internet could be a potential form of new language. The prevailing closed-circuit television, a security video camera system in bank, stores, traffic roads and almost everywhere, could also serve as a monitoring devices for the government. By censoring the information release through those mass media, the governments can still limit a myriad of, if not all of, the messages to what they would like their people to hear about. In China, political arguments against the Party and the dark sides of social crisis are still blocked on the Internet by the “Media Secretary”. Often when people think they see the whole story, they are merely looking at a tiny piece of the truth that the government wishes to show them. While people are celebrating freedom and liberty, it is likely that their minds are being controlled by political powers.

 

 

Works Cited

Li, Gucheng. A Glossary of Political Terms of The People’s Republic of China. Chinese University Press, 1995. Print.

Meerloo., and Joost Abraham Maurits. Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing. [1st ed.]. [S.l.]: World Pub. Co., 1956.

Fraser, Ivan, and Mark Beeston. “The Brotherhood and the Manipulation of Societ.” The Revelation. Print.

Esarey, Ashley, and Xiao Qiang. “Digital Communication and Political Change in China.” International Journal of Communication (2011): n. pag.

Esherick, Joeseph, Paul Pickowicz, and Andrew George Walder. The Chinese Cultural Revolution as History. Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, 2006. Print.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I pledge that I have neither received nor given any unauthorized assistance during the completion of this work.

 

Stage Two Draft

In 1984, the aim of thought control -seize absolute power 

 

How:

  1. New Speak (limited way to express)
  2. Telescreen (controlled/monitored by leading power)
  3. Kill human nature (anything outside party’s control is intolerable)
  4. Propaganda

 

For Mao, the aim of thought control -take over lost power (shift power from Xiaoping Deng, another leader)

 

How:

  1. Four Olds (take away)
  2. Personal cult, through the little red book (originated in the mass)
  3. Kill capitalism (class struggle)
  4. Propaganda

 

In late 1940s, before the tension of Cold War escalated, many politics were inclined to support communism. (Needs support) Well aware of this tendency, George Orwell published the book 1948 to ring an alarm of about? the suppression under a totalitarian society. The story took place in Oceania, where which Orwell not believed but formed believed to be a perfect totalitarian society under the guardian of Big Brother, the leader of the Party. Throughout the book, I no personal pronouns could see how Orwell put in the book his idea of totalitarian thought control. He regarded it as an ultimate method to obtain the absolute power upon over the masses [or establish the dictatorship (263)] and in order to prevent any form of rebellion.

 

Orwell conveyed the idea that the basic means of manipulating thought control was is monitoring. In 1984, telescreen served as the most direct device for the Party to control its citizens’ mind. It scrutinized and overheard the people of Oceania at any time, depriving their physical and mental? freedom. It acted as one of the most direct way to detect Thought Crime elaborate, even by censoring viewing the individuals’ facial twitch. The fact that the posters of Big Brother and with its heading “Big Brother is watching you” were posted everywhere reflected the Party’s willingness to let the people be aware of the constant monitoring them being intensely scrutinized. Understanding that there was no way to hide the rebellious attempt action from the Party, the people would not take the step from rebellious intention to rebellious action. Moreover, due to the existence of telescreen, the masses were forced to hide the rebellious emotions, if they had any, from the monitor of the Party, and as time past by, ultimately from themselves. In other words, if an idea has been suppressed for sufficiently long period of time without expressing it, it will disappear. (Needs support)

 

Orwell indicated language is a powerful tool of thought control. Firstly, by abandoning Oldspeak (English) and implementing Newspeak, the Party substantially killed the diversity of language. Only words that appreciate the Party remained in the Newspeak. (Need examples) Monotonous vocabulary like these enormously limited ways the power of the people to … for people to express their feeling, in other words, it limited people’s mind. For example, if the word “rebellion” has never existed, people will have no reference for rebellious action, and thus won’t will not bother to either think or do it. Secondly, as the Oldspeak disappeared, all the preceding literature works were discarded better word choice. What truly mattered was the lost loss of diversity of ideologies. Various thoughts and ideas written in books, sung by songs songs don’t sing and displayed in poems were gone together with the dying Oldspeak.

 

The third powerful tool of thought control in the book is propaganda. By rewriting newspapers and documents and replacing truth with propaganda beneficial to the Party, it was able to establish unified thoughts on in the messes’ minds. “Our entire understanding of the world and current affairs is filtered through the mass media, interpreted by journalists and so-called experts. Their views become our views simply because we are not offered any alternatives” (Fraser, Beeston). For similar reason, the people in Oceana were exposed only to the uniformed information beneficial said good for to the Party, thus there was were no optional ideas for them to choose from. This concept could be as simple as a choice of a starved man: if he needs something to fill his stomach, with all other food being hidden except an apple, he will instinctively pick the apple up and accept it.

 

In 1984, Orwell brought in an idea that the elimination of human nature (independent mind, joy, love, loyalty, …) was the last part of thought control. In Room 101, O’Brien said, “The so-called laws of nature were nonsense”(278), and “What ever the party holds to be truth is truth” (249). Explain quotes He brutally tortured Winston until he yielded to the answer, “2+2=5”, which violated the long existed logic. The Party murdered the one of most important value of human beings—independent thinking, and tured its citizens into cold iron robots. The thought control has not ended? Point of this sentence?. O’Brien said, “Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter or curiosity or courage, or integrity.” (256) When Winston was prisoned in Room 101, even after he accepted the notion of “2+2=5”, he was not let out, because the thought control process had not yet been completed. The point marked the success of O’Brien brainwashing Winston was the moment when he shouted out “Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me!” His betrayal of Julia signified his loss of the capability of love and loyalty, thus his humanity. “It shows the victory of the Party: he will not die for her. Love has died.”(1984: For the love of Big Brother. Philip Coppens)

WHY.

 

 

 

 

 

 

267

We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves. (256)

“move from thoughts to words, words to actions” (159)

Orwell said, “Who controls the past, controls the future: who controls the present, controls the past.”

Coppens writes, “Orwell shows us that in a totalitarian state, it is easy to have fake confessions – you can use actors or invent characters – but that the true purpose is to dominate your mind. Big Brother is not a political dictatorship – it is mind control.”