Area of Study: Control

Control is how much power a group or individual has over a specific situation. It is a fundamental element of life and can display itself in both positive and negative ways. In saying that, negative forms of control are ever-present while positive forms are much more difficult to sustain. Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell, China’s All-out War Against Internet Freedom by Lin Xiaofan and Into the Wild by Sean Penn explore this. Repression and authority illustrate how control can be shown negatively while freedom highlights how control can have a positive influence.

In both 1984 and CAOWAIF, control is highlighted negatively through repression. Repression occurs when a group or individual has minimal freedom and is forced to conform on certain topics, thus eliminating individuality. Orwell presents this idea in 1984 through the Party by highlighting how the members are repressed and act like a single body. This is shown in the description: “Marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans." One of the ways the Party achieves this is by the introduction of Newspeak. Newspeak abolishes any words that make it possible to counteract the control of the Party. As presented in the novel, “The purpose of Newspeak was … to make all other modes of thought impossible." Similarly, repression is present in CAOWAIF, wherein the author, Lin Xiaofan, writes of the Chinese government who keep their country repressed by not allowing them access to specific websites. The government is effectively depriving the general public the freedom of independent thought. Emotive language is used in the article to highlight that repression is present. Powerful, controlling words such as “war against freedom”, “forced” and “silencing” illustrate this. While repression is an inevitable component of society in small amounts, the excessive use in 1984 and CAOWAIF is an example of negative manifestation of control.

Authoritative control involves...