Ingsoc in 1984

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  • 0:02 ''1984''
  • 0:47 The Philosophies of Ingsoc
  • 2:31 Big Brother
  • 3:19 Ingsoc in the Real World
  • 4:04 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Liz Breazeale
George Orwell built upon existing ideals and political systems to create the political ideology Ingsoc for his novel '1984'. Discover what Ingsoc is and its significance within the book, then test your knowledge with a quiz.

1984

You've probably heard some type of reference to George Orwell's super famous novel 1984 at some point in your life. After all, the novel is so well-known that its fictional language, Newspeak, and its creepy political slogans have crept into our vocabulary since its publication in 1949. The novel itself is often interpreted as a critique of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. It follows Winston Smith, a government employee who lives in Airstrip One, formerly Great Britain. Airstrip One is part of the supercontinent Oceania, which is run by the English Socialist Party and represented by Big Brother, a mustached dictator who may or may not be real. So let's forge ahead: What exactly is Ingsoc, and what role does it play in the novel?

The Philosophies of Ingsoc

George Orwell crafted an entire backstory and built an entire world for his novel 1984 that includes the political ideology known as Ingsoc, which is Newspeak for English Socialism, the reigning philosophy of the authoritarian regime in Oceania. Newspeak, to backtrack a bit, is the fictional language Orwell crafted specifically for use in this novel. Newspeak and Ingsoc go perfectly together, as they both are designed to remove independence and free thought from Oceanians.

Ingsoc is constantly changing throughout the novel, because the powers that be are constantly rewriting Oceania's history, as well as the history of the Party's rise to power. But a few things never go away. First, Ingsoc is built upon a vast system of psychological control over citizens. The party wants nothing more than to squash any form of independence. This is where Newspeak is useful, because Newspeak as a language has eliminated most negative words in an attempt to eliminate all negative thoughts toward the party and Ingsoc. Newspeak also simplifies all thought by simplifying words. For example, the word 'great' becomes 'doubleplusgood.'

Second, Ingsoc demands the complete submission of all citizens. The party will go to great lengths to achieve complete submission, and torture is common. We've already seen how Newspeak contributes to this, but what else is there? Well, the Inner Party, those tip-top-level bureaucrats who run the show behind the scenes, use the Ministry of Truth, or MiniTrue, in order to put forth the best propaganda and brainwash Oceanians. They also use MiniLuv, or the Ministry of Love, the torturers, to gain complete control. Another such device of control is perhaps one of the Inner Party's best ideas yet: Big Brother.

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