No Place Else: Explorations in Utopian and Dystopian Fiction

By Eric S. Rabkin; Martin H. Greenberg et al. | Go to book overview

9
Utopia Reconsidered: Comments on 1984

William Steinhoff

George Orwell resembled Samuel Johnson in the many ways that Jeffrey Meyers has suggested but not in his attitude toward government. Living in an age when the balance of power between ruler and ruled was less disproportionate than it is now, Johnson was optimistic enough to believe that arbitrary and overweening power was bound to fail in the end: "I consider that in no government power can be abused long. Mankind will not bear it. If a sovereign oppresses his people to a great degree, they will rise and cut off his head. There is a remedy in human nature against tyranny that will keep us safe under every form of government."1

Orwell did not share this opinion; long before 1984 was written, events in Europe had shown him that no "remedy in human nature" could prevail against the organized assaults of fascism and communism, bolstered as they were by armies and massive armament as well as by control of the press. But, though he paradoxically called himself a socialist, Orwell went farther than most in believing that the state had come to weigh so heavily on individuals that even the act of love could turn into a political gesture of submission or rebellion, and questions about the sum of two plus two could lead to the epistemological certainty, guaranteed and enforced by the power of the state, that the answer was five.

This belief did not, of course, emerge full blown in Burmese Days, his first novel. In it individual weakness is opposed to power in the relatively narrow context of imperialism; but as Orwell's experience and theoretical understanding widened, his conception of this struggle became less parochial. With 1984 the British empire becomes a superstate called Oceania, and the central issue is not so much the exploitation of the masses for profit as it is the nature and use of power as these have developed in the twentieth century. Pervading every aspect of this clearly defined subject is the bewildered feeling, so poignantly expressed in Animal Farm and 1984, that something in modern life has

-147-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
No Place Else: Explorations in Utopian and Dystopian Fiction
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 280

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.