Although George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 was published in 1949, it is still read by many today. That’s mainly because, whether we’re aware of it or not, it displays several similarities to not only our world today, but it also has some parallels to the world that existed in the real year 1984. Those who read the book during the 1950s wondered if their own futures in the year 1984 would include overalls and big brother. And while in some ways they did, some of Orwell’s other predictions were very far-fetched. Let’s look at some similarities and differences between George Orwell’s version of 1984, and the one that people really lived through.
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Surveillance cameras were used to monitor the lives of average citizens during the real year 1984. They became popular in the late 1960s. In the novel, TV screens that display government propaganda news and approved entertainment. But these televisions are also monitors used to spy on citizens’ private lives.
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In Orwell’s novel, having sex for pleasure was seen as a sin. In the real 1984 many women were shamed—as they still are today—for enjoying sex. They were called sluts and scorned at, while men got praised for doing the same thing.
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Although citizens of the real 1984 didn’t have to wear blue overalls in order to blend in with society, teens in particular were expected to keep up with popular fashion trends in order to fit in at school.Those who wore vintage clothing were sometimes frowned upon and even made fun of.
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Another difference between the real 1984, and the 1984 that existed in George Orwell’s novel is the government. In Orwell’s novel the citizens of Oceania were ruled by a totalitarian leader who spoke to them through a television screen named Big Brother. He deprived his citizens of pleasure and freedom of speech. The President in the real 1984, however, was a man named Ronald. Reagan was nicknamed “The Great Communicator,” because of his charm and ability to communicate well with average citizens. He actually had an issue with control, so he was far from being totalitarian.
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In the in the novel 1984 Citizens were forced to wear blue overalls as uniforms. In the real 1984, however, leggings, jean jackets, neon clothing, graphic tees, and long fluffy hair were in style.
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In George Orwell’s novel, most of the language used was propaganda to promote Big Brother and the government. In the real 1984, people were more outspoken and open about their opinions. Many LGBTQ advocates and Feminists promoted their causes.