Comparative Essay to North Korea
Comparative Essay to North Korea

Comparative Essay to North Korea

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  • Pages: 4 (1024 words)
  • Published: October 6, 2016
  • Type: Essay
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A surveillance society, such as the one portrayed in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, seeks to manipulate the thoughts and behaviors of its citizens for the advantage of a few. This society uses control methods like propaganda, censorship, and surveillance. These tactics have been effectively employed by totalitarian states throughout history. Presently, North Korea exemplifies the dystopian society that Orwell cautioned against. Under its third generation leader, North Korea demonstrates how mind-control strategies can be alarmingly effective.

The purpose of propaganda is to manipulate people's behavior by instilling constant fear. In George Orwell's Big Brother society, intimidating posters were created to achieve this. The posters featured a gigantic face that seemed to track your every movement, accompanied by the caption "BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU" (Orwell 1). The intense stare of someon


e can already make you uneasy, but enlarging the face and adding a targeted message increases the fear exponentially.

In present-day North Korea, they employ a similar technique by utilizing prominent posters featuring their leader, Kim Jong IL, in order to instill fear among the population. Orwell's depiction of Big Brother society also depicts a similar oppressive atmosphere. Everywhere one looked, there was no escape from the omnipresent propaganda. "There seemed to be no color in anything, except the posters that were plastered everywhere. The face with a black mustache stared down from every commanding angle. There was even one on the house-front directly opposite. The caption read: BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, and the dark eyes seemingly penetrated Winston's soul" (Orwell 4).

The technique of message-everywhere is used to condition the mind by continually reinforcing fear or any desired

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emotion at all times. North Korea exemplifies this intimidating repetition of messages by prominently showcasing images of their great leader nationwide. Propaganda is undoubtedly a potent tool for manipulating people's minds and should not be underestimated. The North Korean leadership has effectively employed a strategy of instilling fear through widespread dissemination of fear-inducing posters, which has proven successful as they are currently in their third generation of power.

According to one American tourist named Burdick, the typical North Korean is taught to believe that the average American wants to keep the peninsula divided. Censorship is a method of controlling individuals by hindering their ability to think independently and distorting their perception of reality. In Orwell's society led by Big Brother, certain individuals were assigned the task of removing people from records to erase their existence. The protagonist Winston served as a censor by eradicating any mentions of an enemy of the state like "Withers," who was ultimately deemed an UNPERSON.

Orwell (58) argues that revising history is a means of controlling individuals by eradicating their presence from public awareness. When information cannot be located, it is presumed to have never existed. North Korea employs a similar tactic in handling its adversaries, taking extensive measures to obliterate any evidence of their existence, even manipulating photographs. Even tourists who visit the country encounter censorship, as one American tourist revealed on a recent trip when they had to cautiously select their words on postcards to satisfy the censors' requirements (Burdick 286).

Censorship involves two actions: deleting information and presenting false information, resulting in the creation of fabricated memories. In Orwell's story, Winston showcases this through

his invention of Comrade Ogilvy. Even though Comrade Ogilvy is not a real person, Winston believes that he can make him exist by using modified pictures and a few sentences (Orwell 59).

When individuals' minds are manipulated through blatant lies, their perception of reality becomes distorted. This distortion can lead to a belief in anything when applied on a larger scale. North Korea serves as an example of this phenomenon, where the esteemed leader's virtuous appearance is accompanied by a fabricated history presented in public records. The pervasive surveillance in everyday life subtly controls citizens and restricts their freedom to act as they wish. This situation draws parallels to George Orwell's dystopian society depicted in "1984," where omnipresent surveillance devices like telescreens transmit and receive information simultaneously.

Any noise Winston made, louder than a faint whisper, would be detected by the device. Additionally, as long as he stayed within the view range of the metal plaque, he could be both observed and heard. It was impossible to determine if one was being monitored at any particular moment" (Orwell 5). Being aware of constant surveillance greatly discourages and restricts our freedom. It leads us to become overly careful to the extent of developing paranoia.

North Korea exemplifies this kind of society, especially in relation to foreign visitors. These visitors are given special treatment through the accompaniment of "minders" or escorts who stay with them throughout the country. A tourist who experienced this situation described how it became increasingly difficult to maintain a sense of reality with minders constantly surrounding them. In an environment where deceit seemed everywhere, determining what was truly true posed a

significant challenge (Harrold 114). However, in a Big Brother society, it is not enough to just have surveillance devices monitoring one's every move; the presence of informants becomes essential.

In Orwell's society ruled by Big Brother, individuals were encouraged to cherish their children in a conventional way. However, the children were indoctrinated to betray their parents and taught to secretly observe them, informing authorities of any infractions. As a result, families became an extension of the oppressive Thought Police, with individuals constantly surrounded by informants who possessed intimate knowledge about them (Orwell 168). This illustrates the harsh truth of living under perpetual surveillance, where trust becomes an unaffordable luxury—even within one's own family.

The state's interest takes precedence over the family in North Korea, creating a society akin to Big Brother where control over people's thoughts is paramount. This control is primarily achieved through heavy reliance on propaganda, censorship, and surveillance. Consequently, the desired result is a country governed by a privileged few, while the majority of citizens are condemned to a life of constant economic hardship. In this society, individuals lack independent thinking and personal desires. They are compelled to accept whatever beliefs are imposed on them by a central authority.

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