Tag Archives: Bre V.

Orwell’s 1984: Privacy Issues and Public Manipulation

The links related to privacy issues taught me all of the negative things that come along with modern technology and social websites. In Tom Head’s Big Brother is Watching, he says that “as technology improves, privacy as we know it will inevitably evaporate; the best we can hope for is the power to watch the watchers.” By this he means that with the advancement of technology comes the decline of individual privacy. This holds true in my opinion, because I believe that the use of modern technology is linked to the decline is personal relations, and the decline of personal relationships is linked to the weakening value associated with privacy.

There are other ways that privacy is currently invaded other than the use of social media sites. For starters, the CIFA has previously “exceeded its authority and conducted unauthorized spying on innocent people and organizations,” (The Other Big Brother). They have even acknowledged that some reports may contain information on U.S. citizens and groups that “never should have been obtained.” Also, this same source states that the National Security Agency to monitor telephone conversations in the U.S. It has been proven, according to this source, that CIFA’s database has contained information that “may have violated regulations,” because the department isn’t allowed to retain information about citizens for more than 90 days unless there is a reasonable belief that the person is linked to terrorism or foreign intelligence. This regulation has been violated. Also in use are video surveillance, face recognition software, GPS tracking, all of which go beyond the human eye and the evidence these technologies hold leaves an unsettling feeling to potential “victims,” (Tana Ganeva, Massive New Biometric Database).

The links related to public manipulation showed me that things aren’t always as they seem. There was one link that confirmed that the portrait of Abraham Lincoln was actually Lincoln’s head painted atop of John Calhoun’s body. The link “Orwell and March Madness” talked about an advertisement stating that African-American male student athletes are 10% more likely to graduate. A comparison of college basketball players with other full-time student proves otherwise—that the athletes were 20% less likely to graduate than non-athletes.

This link, (Orwell and March Madness) directly reminded me of the scene in 1984 where Winston overhears the telescreen state that the chocolate rations had been raised to 20g when he knew for a fact that the rations had just been dropped to 20g from 30g. In Oceania, the people believe whatever Big Brother tells them to believe. If the telescreen says rations of goods have been raised, then they have been raised. If the telescreen says that conditions today are better than the conditions of the past, it is truth. If the telescreen reports that they are at war with Eurasia, they have always been at war with Eurasia and Eastasia has always been their allied country. The people of Oceania are constantly manipulated by their government to believe that Big Brother is their provider, protector, and savior. Either they mask their realization and pretend to believe in the Party, they really don’t realize that they’re being manipulated, or they are punished and tortured in the Ministry of Love like Winston is in the very end of the novel.

The telescreens can always see and hear whatever is going on, both in public and private settings. There are no secrets and there is no privacy.  They have eyes and ears everywhere, in technological forms and in the form of undercover spies, like Mr. Charrington. If someone is acting or believed to be thinking suspiciously, that person is captured, tortured, and executed, then vaporized into an imaginary non-existence. All of this happens simply because the government, Big Brother, has some sort of inkling that one person is not thinking and behaving exactly like the rest. It could potentially be caused by nothing more than mere suspicion, suspicion that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the governmental spies—the Thought Police and the telescreens. The technology of Oceania’s society is the core of its societal and moral destruction. This brings me back to Tom Head’s statement: “As technology improves, privacy as we know it will inevitably evaporate; the best we can hope for is the power to watch the watchers.” In Oceania, their technology was so advanced that the people were continuously watched, leaving them no privacy. The best the people there could hope for was the existence of The Brotherhood—an organization conspiring to overthrow the unjust Big Brother—or a revolt against Big Brother himself. The could only hope to free themselves by watching Big Brother watch them, see what he sees in order to do what he is incapable of seeing.

While George Orwell’s ideas about governmental surveillance were far-fetched at the time, and still seem over-the-top today, his underlying interpretation of the future government holds true. We are watched and our activities are monitored by our government, though not to the severity assumed by Orwell in 1984. Researching the privacy issues and the ways our government manipulates the public opinion by use of advertisements makes me feel like I ought to be more cautious, especially when on the internet.  I have also learned that in order to know the truth behind certain ads, I ought to research that ad, not just trust it for what it is. Some may say the current state of government surveillance is minimal and doesn’t make much difference, and perhaps that is true, however, what level may it reach in the near future?

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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in Beyond 1984





re·al·ism   [ree-uh-liz-uhm] – noun

1. interest in or concern for the actual or real, as distinguished from the abstract, speculative, etc.
2. the tendency to view or represent things as they really are.

   a. a manner of treating subject matter that presents a careful description of everyday life, usually of the lower and middle classes.
   b. a theory of writing in which the ordinary, familiar, or mundane aspects of life are represented in a straight forward or matter-of-fact manner that is presumed to reflect life as it actually is.


  • Reactions against romanticism
  • Interest in science
  • Interest in studying documented history
  • Rational philosophy


  • Plot is often downplayed, focus is on the character(s)
  • Concentrates on the inner life of the average middle-class man
  • Portrays thoughts and feelings, anxieties and dilemmas
  • Shows character’s struggle with moral questions and social expectations, things everyone struggles with
  • Examines choices and consequences in everyday life
  • Deals with everyday details and actions, small catastrophes of the middle class
  • Avoids larger, dramatic issues

“Young Mother Sewing” by Mary Cassatt
Realist Art


Realistic Techniques

1. Settings thoroughly familiar to the writer

2. Plots emphasizing the norm of daily experience

3. Ordinary characters, studied in depth

4. Complete authorial objectivity

5. Responsible morality; a world truly reported

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Posted by on October 30, 2012 in Thomas More's Utopia


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Dorothy Gale

Dorothy is the main character in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy goes on a journey, an epic journey. This makes her an epic hero. While her journey varies in terms of location, her journey is also more personal. It takes a lot for her to realize that there truly is “no place like home”.

The Mundane World

Dorothy lives and works on Auntie Em and Uncle Henry’s farm. She cares for the chickens, milks the cows, and feeds the pigs. Toto, her dog, is her only close companion. She is tired of her hum-drum life on the farm and wishes for something more vibrant and exciting–something “over the rainbow”–keep in mind the fact that the movie actually opens in sepia tones, not in technicolor, emphasizing how boring, routine, and hum-drum this part of her life is.

The Call to Adventure

Tired of this routine life, she sets out to run away with Toto, where she runs into traveling fortune teller Professor Marvel. He lies, telling her that the beloved Auntie Em is fainting on the bed back at home. Worried, Dorothy runs home to Em, racing a tornado.

Crossing the Threshold

This tornado rips Dorothy’s home from the ground, and sucks it up, whirling and twirling the house around. Inside the tornado, visions of people she knows whiz past the window of Dorothy’s bedroom. She sees the crate of chickens she is all too familiar with, the other farmhands hired by her aunt and uncle, an elderly lady in a rocking chair, and finally, Miss Gulch, the woman who earlier had tried to force Dorothy to get rid of Toto. Miss Gulch appears on a bicycle, which transforms into a broomstick while Miss Gulch herself transforms into a witch. The house lands in The Land of Oz, a vibrantly colored. The house lands on top of the “bad witch” killing her instantly. Dorothy has just killed a well-known figure of a land with which she is unfamiliar.

The Path of Trials

Dorothy is praised for killing the evil witch, but she is now being sought after by the evil witch’s sister. She receives guidance from Glenda, the good witch. All Dorothy wants to do is go home, back to Kansas and Auntie Em. Glenda sends her “off to see the wizard” because he is the only one in The Land of Oz who can get her back to her homeland. She is told to “follow the yellow brick road.”

Along this road, she meets the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion. Through the Tin Man wanting a heart, Dorothy learns that anyone can have emotions and feelings. Through the Scarecrow wanting a brain, Dorothy learns that you don’t have to be “the smartest” to still be smart and express your own ideas. Though the Cowardly Lion, she learns that to have courage only means to face your fears, not exactly lay down one’s life. When she sees that the Wizard of Oz is truly a man behind a curtain, she learns that you don’t have to hide who you really are to be accepted.

Master of Two Worlds

Learning everything she had at The Land of Oz made her more of a well-rounded person. At the very end she says, “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with!” This shows the audience that she has left The Land of Oz and come back to Kansas, bringing with her the lessons she had learned. Her day-to-day farm life wasn’t so bad. After all, there truly is no place like home.

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Posted by on September 14, 2012 in Epic Heroes



The Blue and The Gray by: Francis Miles Finch (1827-1907)


By the flow of the inland river,
Whence the fleets of iron have fled,
Where the blades of the grave-grass quiver,
Asleep are the ranks of the dead:
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day;
Under the one, the Blue,
Under the other, the Gray

These in the robings of glory,
Those in the gloom of defeat,
All with the battle-blood gory,
In the dusk of eternity meet:
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgement-day
Under the laurel, the Blue,
Under the willow, the Gray.

From the silence of sorrowful hours
The desolate mourners go,
Lovingly laden with flowers
Alike for the friend and the foe;
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgement-day;
Under the roses, the Blue,
Under the lilies, the Gray.

So with an equal splendor,
The morning sun-rays fall,
With a touch impartially tender,
On the blossoms blooming for all:
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day;
Broidered with gold, the Blue,
Mellowed with gold, the Gray.

So, when the summer calleth,
On forest and field of grain,
With an equal murmur falleth
The cooling drip of the rain:
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment -day,
Wet with the rain, the Blue
Wet with the rain, the Gray.

Sadly, but not with upbraiding,
The generous deed was done,
In the storm of the years that are fading
No braver battle was won:
Under the sod adn the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day;
Under the blossoms, the Blue,
Under the garlands, the Gray

No more shall the war cry sever,
Or the winding rivers be red;
They banish our anger forever
When they laurel the graves of our dead!
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day,
Love and tears for the Blue,
Tears and love for the Gray.



This poem is written about the end of the Civil War. It shows the comparison of the “blue” and the “gray”, representing soldiers of the North and the South. I chose this poem because it in a way, equalizes the winners and the losers. Wars are all sparked from opposition, but seldom are they concluded with a sense of equality for both sides. Also, is gives an end to the Civil War in a peaceful way: “Love and tears for the Blue, Tears and love for the Gray.”  It shows that even though this was the bloodiest and bravest battle, everyone can come together; in this case, by mourning for the dead soldiers of BOTH sides and admiring their courage.


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Posted by on November 16, 2011 in Civil War Poetry



Pledge of Singapore

We, the citizens of Singapore,
pledge ourselves as one united people,
regardless of race, language or religion,
to build a democratic society
based on justice and equality
so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and
progress for our nation.

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Posted by on August 26, 2011 in Pledges