Znaczko 1Matey Znaczko Mrs.
Stasiv ENG 4U1 January 3rd 2018 The Effect of Setting on The Psyche in “The Circle” & “1984”In the novel “1984” by George Orwell and “the Circle” by Dave Eggers, both dystopian environments and higher authorities impact Winston and Mae the protagonists of both novels psychologically. In “1984” the higher authority is known as the party or big brother, and in the “Circle” the highest authority is the company called the circle that is owned by the three wise men Ty Gospodinov, Eamon Bailey, and Tom Stenton. In both novels the higher authorities keep their citizens under surveillance and monitor what they say and do, they also make their own people attend mandatory events to strengthen their manipulative minds towards the higher authority. Also, the higher parties seek and keep truths about their own citizens’ personal lives to make sure they live their lives according to the higher party’s standards. Both novels are very similar and both protagonists live in the same isolation that affect one’s Psyche. In “1984” Big brother monitors its citizens 24/7 by having a telescreen in every home, workplace, and public to make sure they do not commit thought crime or disobey the party in any way, “Big Brother is watching you”(Orwell,40). In the dystopian country of Oceania every citizen is under constant surveillance, demonstrating their isolation.
In the beginning of the novel, George Orwell briefly describes how the telescreen works and how it will affect Winston’s personal life violating all of his privacy “the telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sounds Winston makes, above the level of a very low whisper would be picked up by it. Moreover, so long as he remains within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he can be seen as well as heard. There is of course no way out of knowing whether you are being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody at all times. But at any rate they could plug into your wire they wanted to.
“You had to live-did live” (Orwell,98). Dave Eggers describes the telescreen as a supernatural element as if God is watching Winston at all times. The description of the telescreen that Eggers gives describes how Winston’s life is under isolation and freedom does not exist to him. In the “Circle” there is a very similar version of the telescreen but is not as extreme. The Circle is known for being innovative and has developed a small camera that can barely be noticed if it was placed in public areas.
Its purpose is to track and monitor environmental and human behavior around the world. Little is it known however, that it would eventually come upon Mae Holland, the protagonist of the novel. The camera is introduced when Eamon Bailey gives a powerful speech at a company presentation in front of thousands of enthusiastic circlers and his inspiring words are “We will become all-seeing, and all-knowing”(Eggers,87). This is a perfect comparison to the telescreen in “1984” because the cameras will be a way that the Circle can hear and see what people are doing at all times. In both dystopian societies the telescreen and the cameras will be closely monitoring its people and will capture any negative energy towards the higher parties. This will affect the psyche of both protagonists because they know they are under surveillance and are stripped of their freedom of will and privacy.
In Oceania the government brainwashes its own people to believe they are being protected by making them attend a ceremony called the Two Minute Hate. The Two minute hate is a way that the government convinces its people that they are being kept safe, and doing their job properly by killing all traitors. The video at the Two minute hate shows traitors limbs being torn off and people in the crowd are cheering with joy because they have been so manipulated into fighting for their government’s policies and are against all traitors towards the party, “In its second minute the Hate rose to a frenzy. People were leaping up and down in their places and shouting at the tops of their voices in an effort to drown the maddening bleating voice that came from the screen. The little sandy-haired woman had turned bright pink, and her mouth was opening and shutting like that of a landed fish.
Even O’Brien’s heavy face was flushed. He was sitting very straight in his chair, his powerful chest swelling and quivering as though he were standing up to the assault of a wave. The dark-haired girl behind Winston had begun crying out “Swine! Swine! Swine!” and suddenly she picked up a heavy Newspeak dictionary and flung it at the screen” (Orwell,29). In the Dystopian society of Oceania the government forces its people to attend the Two Minute hate ceremony. Just like Oceania, the circle has many meetings, parties, and social events for the circulars to attend. Although in the circle’s society they will not be considered traitors by not attending these events, the companies executives most certainly advise Mae Holland to attend as much as she can so that the circle can manipulate and brainwash her to love the Company and become a loyal employee, “Keep an eye on the InnerCircle feed in particular, because that’s where you’ll hear about staff meetings, mandatory gatherings, and any breaking news. If there’s a Circle notice that’s really pressing, that’ll be marked in orange. Something extremely urgent will prompt a message on your phone, too.
You keep that in view? So those are your priorities, with your fourth priority your own OuterCircle participation. Which is just as important as anything else, because we value your work-life balance, you know, the calibration between your online life here at the company and outside it.” (Eggers,130). The circle wants their employees to attend all of these events/parties because the goal is to keep the circlers oblivious to all of the corruption behind the company.
Just like in “1984” all of Oceania’s rules keeps its citizens blind towards corruption. In “1984” the brainwashing and lies are at a climax to the point where Oceania feeds its population lies where not even the obvious things are not truthful. Winston believes he can trust O’brien with his rebellious thoughts and not only did Winston trust O’brien, he was the last person he should tell. O’brien worked with the party and took custody of Winston and torchured him in the ministry of love. Winston was tortured physically and mentally and once his rehabilitation was over he is spat out back into society with a new mindset “In the end the party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it.
It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later, the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience , but the very existence of external reality was tacility denied by their philosophy”(Orwell,56). The party has such an effect on its people that they strip them of common knowledge, and hide things from them. The party claims it protects its people and feeds them honestly, but ironically, they have lied to people of its society and faked the whole propaganda of war. The party of Oceania has sketched the way they want their society to look not how their owns citizens want it to look. Freedom and knowledge has been the biggest monopoly on the novel of “1984” because without the oblivious citizens the party would have no control. Even if someone would deny the party’s philosophy they would get caught. Winston learns the hard way, and the party brainwashes him to live his life according to their standards, and his experience of being tortured affects him psychologically.
Just as Winston has O’brien, Mae has kalden. Kalden feeds and tells Mae the unravelling truth about the circle. After Mae has to go through public shaming and accepting the fact of going transparent to escape her horrid backlash she becomes mentally cyborg in the making. Mae does not take Kalden’s word about the truths and secrets about the company, instead she decides to go transparent and allow the Circle to take over her private life. By becoming devoted to the circle with blogging her daily life, this encourages other circlers to do the same “I want to be seen. I want proof I existed… most people do. Most people would trade everything they know, everyone they know-they’d trade it all to know they’ve been seen, and acknowledged, that they might even be remembered.
We all know the world is too big for us to be significant. So all we have is the hope of being seen, or heard, even for a moment”(Egger,490). This enhances the same feeling Winston craves to feel when trying to be heard by O’brien, just as Mae did by the Circle and society. Hiding the truth has serious psychological effects on the protagonists because their personalities change and their viewpoints change throughout the novel.
In the end, both novels by Dave Egger’s “The Circle” and George Orwell’s “1984” are technically different but in many ways the same. Both protagonists Mae and Winston share the same beliefs. They are both monitored and controlled by higher authority, brainwashed and lied to, also they were told the truth about their societies and in conclusion ended with a tragic flaw. Winston once more becomes a slave to big brother and Mae is devoured by the constant lies and secrets which lead her to commit her whole life to the circle. Both settings of the novels have an affect on the psyche of the protagonists, due to the truth behind the menacing totalitarian society and the ideal perfect world.