Study Guide

1984 Technology and Modernization

By George Orwell

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Technology and Modernization themes in 1984

(Click the themes infographic to download.)

Modernization in 1984 takes the form of technology, used for controlling means. By placing telescreens and clandestine microphones all across Oceania, the Party monitors its constituents 24/7. At work, in the comforts of their own home, even in the countryside or giant plazas and marketplaces, Oceanians cannot expect privacy. The Party's use of advanced surveillance technology is only one of the methods it employs to ensure and ascertain control.

Questions About Technology and Modernization


  1. After all the reality TV shows that people willingly take part in, you're probably thinking, well, what's the big deal? After all, there's even a show called Big Brother. So, what's the big deal with being monitored 24/7? Is it a source of entertainment? Of control? How does surveillance function in 1984, specifically?
  2. How would the Party be weakened if it could not use surveillance its citizens?
  3. Winston says that sometimes the slightest twitch of your face can cause you to be arrested for thoughtcrime. Is the Party even bothering to distinguish between potential crime and actual crime? Is there a difference in 1984?


Chew on This

The surveillance of its constituents by the Party is necessary for its self-preservation because it affords the Party the ability to eliminate potential subversion early on. It is the most important element of the Party's tools.

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