Copyright

Why George Orwell Wrote 1984

Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby

Kaitlin has a BA in political science and experience teaching.

This lesson discusses George Orwell and his dystopian novel, 1984, with particular focus on Orwell's views on the world and how they contributed to his writing.

Orwell's Thoughts on the World

At the height of World War II, while much of the rest of the world was fearful of an Axis victory, British author George Orwell saw another potential problem. He saw that in the future, totalitarian rulers would spread their views across the world. Specifically, he writes about Stalin, wealthy politicians in the United States and United Kingdom, and leaders of other places where the population has little choice but to accept the decisions of policymakers. Simply put, Orwell imagines that a world like the one depicted in 1984 may not be so unlikely. After all, he had seen the foreshadowing of such a life himself when he served as an Imperial official in Burma, policing more than 200,000 people at one point. Upon ending his time as an official there, Orwell began to look at the plight of the oppressed with a more keen eye.

So what does Orwell say of this world? Ultimately, he says that absolute control by a few leaders of a few countries is not good for the world.

Cover of 1984
cover of 1984

Never Tested

In particular, he considers the United States and the United Kingdom to be especially vulnerable to a dictatorial occupation. After all, he states, these societies have never really been pushed on their democratic ideals. What if someone like a Stalin or a Hitler suddenly seized power? How would the United States and the United Kingdom respond? Specifically, he points to the fact that civil rights have already been reduced to the war, and yet no one seems to care. He mentions in a letter that during World War II the voting rights of those under the age of 26 had been compromised. Instead, what would happen if those civil rights were taken away with even greater speed? Could the citizens have enough courage to stop them from disappearing altogether? Orwell states that without a desire to confront these movements, there really is nothing stopping totalitarians from taking over.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support