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Authority' Manipulation Erasing Individuality

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Authority's Manipulation Erasing Individuality

Authority's Manipulation; Erasing Individuality

Numerous authors have been interested in whether personal individuality and its development are influenced or even damaged by social order, norms and government. George Orwell and Harold Pinter are among these active defenders of human liberty, who express their protest against the oppressing power of governmental structures through their literally pieces. Both authors are interested in the degradation of human personality due to the destructive force of government and society. Orwell's novel "Nineteen-Eighty Four" and Pinter's play "The Birthday Party" illustrate how society or any directed organization run on its own pace different from that of man (Gillen 86).Consequentially, there comes a moment, when denial or sacrifice of some or even all personal characteristics is necessary in order to continue living (Gillen 86). Both works emphasize on the matter in which individuality is overshadowed by social institutions and denied complexity as the price of existing within the given society (Gillen 86). The authors imply this idea by general themes and motifs. They use the image of the rebellious individual and his idealized past, the image of the grinding authority and the means it uses to control the reality like language, physical power and mental manipulation. In the end of the two literary pieces, further supporting their point, Orwell and Pinter emphasize on the downfall of the protagonist.

Orwell and Pinter use the image of the rebellious personage, who refuses to fit in his society by following the socially accepted norms, in order to illustrate that there is no place for personal individuality. In both works the protagonists are analogues characters with fairly similar problems and ideas. They themselves have their own understanding about the world and living in an overcontroled reality that does not accept difference, makes them feel like outcasts who are left misunderstood (Edelman). Consequently, they both dream of a different and perhaps better world. On one hand in George Orwell's Nineteen-Eighty Four, Winston Smith- the protagonist- lives in a world managed primarily by The Party, Big Brother and The Thought Police institution. These governmental structures harshly oppress the individual and his thinking. every single one conducts of life are set forward by them and any disobedience to the rules is severely punished. Every single action is monitored by the government and each aspect of human life is controlled to such extent that even having disloyal thoughts is considered a crime (Oxley). An example that illustrates that overreaching control of the Party is when Winston's neighbor has expressed an idea which slightly conflicts the principles of The Party. The consequence of this unintentional act is that his own children turn him in to the government. Thus Orwell presents the enormous outflanking of the governmental power that can hides even in people's most private sphere, namely the family. Consequently, this simple man who had not caused harm to anyone is severely punished and the government makes him disappear as if he has never existed, which has been the faith of many people within this utilitarian state. Living in such harshly control reality presupposes that one should be obedient and loyal (Woodcock). However, Winston is neither of both. The timidly rebellious Mrs. Smith sets out to challenge the limits of the Party's power and even dares to question the mere existence of Big Brother, thus defining himself as an outsider.(Mulvihill 183)

On the other hand in The Birthday Party Harold Pinter presents to the reader his protagonist named Stanley. Similarly to Winston Smith, Stanley lives in a reality that does not accept him as he is and wants to modify his personality. However, unlike Winston's world, in Stanley's reality the government's legislation appears much more liberal and the power that controls the individuals is not entirely law's restrictions. Nevertheless, it is something as powerful as them- social acceptance, opinion and expectations. Stanley subsists in a world where all individuals around him are trapped into their presupposed social roles (Hynes). However, Stanley refuses to fit in social role. Thus labeling himself a rebel who does not care what he is expected to be and rather acts in accord to his own desires. Nevertheless, Stanley is still defined by others through the social role he does not execute (Hynes). For example, when Lulu comes to visit him she judges his behavior by social norms. She asks him: "Don't you ever go out? I mean, what do you do, just sit around the house like this all day long?" When he answers in the affirmative, she is surprised how is possible for on to lead such a life. Even though, there is nothing wrong for one to spend most of his time in home in the reality of The Birthday Party this is regarded as wrong and unacceptable. People that are not active participants in the social life are considered of less importance. Thus as Winston Smith, Stanley is an outsider challenging the social structures.

Another characteristic that reveals their rebellious individuality is that they both possess an idealized idea about the past. These dreams they both share represent the perfect world that allows them to be themselves (Deery). This motif is another manifestation of the inability for their genuine individuality to exist in the present reality. Both protagonists seek a way to escape the contemporary world they live in and find this refugee in a fabricated or imaginary past. On one hand Winston looks for a proof that such an idealized past actually existed, searching for clues in the small antique shop in the outskirts of London. The purpose of this dream is to provide him hope and a motive to continue fighting (Deery). He believes that one day, when the people rise and overthrow the government, this perfect past would become present. On the other hand Stanley also has an unrealistic vision of his past. When he shares his memories with Meg there seems to be a contradiction. Nevertheless, the true facts are not essential to him. What matters to him is to keep his dream alive so that he, just as Winston, can go on. Both characters rebel the present through creating this non existing past where personality can flourish (Woodcock). Unlike them the other characters live their lives accepting the restrictions that the powers of the present have imposed and allowing the complete deprivation of personal trades.

George Orwell and Harold Pinter portray the way human individuality is erased by higher power through the image of the authority and the means it uses. The authority combines in itself human participation



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