The Worlds of Restriction. A 1984 Essay Example

Today we look around the world and treat others as if we are all given the ability of free will. Sadly, this is not our reality. A majority of the people around the world live with the power to go to whatever place they want and whenever they want. However, these same people never consider the openness of their life compared to the homeless. The homeless are constricted to make their homes out of blankets and stolen shopping carts - they have to beg for money and sometimes even food or water. They have to survive everyday as we sit in our living room; playing video games and complaining that our refrigerator is too far. Homeless people do not have a choice of when they will move or where they will go - as people of higher class treat them poorly and move them around for their own convenience instead of giving each person the power to make their own decisions. In the three pieces - 1984 by George Orwell, “What of this Goldfish, Would You Wish” by Etgar Keret, and the trailer of My So-Called Enemy by Lisa Gossels - the creators describe this reality with more extreme or realistic views. Each story explores a different aspect of the effects of this reality not just emotionally, but socially as well. Despite the lack of similarities of each plot, there is a single thread that brings them together as one; a restricted environment.

The most prominent and exaggerated example of the group comes from 1984. The story revolves around the character - Winston - and his partaking in the quiet battle of rebellion that will most likely end in his execution. It all takes place in London, however this London is under the oppression of none other than Big Brother. He has brought the region to their knees as one cannot utter a word against him without the result of torture followed by death. The premise of this story revolves around the true result of a world with no freedom, just slavery. There are many examples of this throughout the story, for instance, the idea behind the telescreens and the Thought Police. At any moment, one could be watched or spied on by someone or something. There is never a moment of seclusion from the grasp of Big Brother and his government (The Party). One must do exactly what is told to them because the results of not doing so would result in the best case, torture for years. An example that stands out the most during the novel comes up during the torture scene with Winston and O’Brien. O’Brien - representing the Party - persists that the statement two plus two is five is true. As anyone else would, Winston refuses to accept it as fact until the power of excruciating pain forces him to comply. O’Brien follows up this acceptance by explaining that in the end, the Party has created a world that has to accept two plus two is five. People do not stand up to fight because they know no different - as the opportunity of philosophy is taken away before it is ever shown. The citizens of this reality are then defined by the lack of free will they have instead of the work that they have done. Our world today stands nowhere near this harsh reality. Despite this, people persist to search for the similarities between a fictional world and the world of our own (many act as if we live in a reality much worse). The reason that lies behind this is unknown - as many people do not see the similar problems that do not lie in America but instead in Israel. Each citizen has the ability to understand our world to the fullest extent but we instead refuse to do so and argue that others need to teach us what we should already know. As we continue to complain, we continue to put ourselves down in the history book as the generation that decided words are always more powerful than actions. Just like the world of 1984, our accomplishments are being shadowed by the amassing problem that is the conflict of our opinions. All in all, 1984 is easily the most over-the-top example of the three due to the non-realistic power that Big Brother gains over London; however, the following stories provide a much more realistic view.

Though these two works of art are made by different people, they can be brought together to represent a singular idea: the battle for equality that is raging throughout the land of Israel. In both “What of This Goldfish, Would You Wish?” and My So-Called Enemy, the audience is presented with said conflict. The Jewish people were forced out of their homes by the Arabs due to their own beliefs and ever since there has been a battle for the Jews to at least reclaim the equality that once stood. There have been walls made, gunfire exchanged, and lives have been lost and yet, people still do not see through their ways and continue to fight. Generation after generation have turned on one another. The pain that has resulted from this war is presented perfectly in “What of This Goldfish, Would You Wish?”. In the short story, Yonatan is going from place to place asking residents of Israel what they would ask for if they had a magic goldfish that could grant three wishes. All he hopes for is for someone who would stand at the door; “looking through Yonatan and his camera, looking out into nothingness, just pause for a minute, nod his head, and wish for peace” (Keret, Lines 52-55). For one to stare into nothingness - looking at the life of pain that they have experienced and just ask for peace - it means that there has been more pain in this one soul’s lifetime than understanding. In this brief second, their memories flash back to their soul in a horrific, continuous slur. In contrast, the war has pulled people farther away from the solution than towards it. In My So-Called Enemy, the viewer is presented with six girls who were raised to be enemies due to their upbringing (some being Israeli and some Jews). Each of these girls are given a chance to change what history has obligated them to be and show the rest of the world that a resolution is possible; no matter how difficult it might be. Their own environment has turned against their ability before they were even born. That is the true story that lies behind our words and actions. People turn on others before one is given a chance and the result of this is only discouragement and the taking away of abilities that could have changed the world forever. Going back to the trailer, the line that represents the hopelessness that surrounds their every action comes from Adi when she states, “I don’t like the word ‘peace’ and I’ve stopped looking for it. I am looking for justice and understanding. Something that is more realistic for me.” (citation). The idea of a calm resolution is gone, her mind seems to be overwhelmed by the emotions of vengeance. When these two separate quotes are put together, you get the effect that the land of Israel is having on its people. The ongoing conflict is restraining people from becoming something greater. People are continuously being defined as fighters or as a leaf in the wind. Their lives are constantly being shadowed not by oppression, but inner conflict (with the uprising of it not being under their own control). Each person that lives in Israel knows that a conclusion can be made but they instead refuse to accept the steps that they have to take to find a common standing point. Peace has been overlapped by vengeance and justice for too long and it is time for people to make a change. These poor generations will never be known for who they were meant to be. Our whole world one day might be classified by the actions that occurred throughout these recent years. Closing an environment causes only pain and suffering. In summary, these two pieces bring together the suffering that has arisen from the catastrophic battles and loss over a matter that should not stand in the first place.

Though each of the three previously mentioned creations all went in different directions, they find the common point of showing the reader the effects of a restricted environment. There are a couple of common themes that arise when comparing these writings. For example, the search for a resolution - whether that be peace or justice - is shown continuously. In 1984, we see Winston constantly trying to find that spark of hope that can push him and maybe others to stand out of the group and escape the grasp of Big Brother. While in “What of This Goldfish, Would You Wish?”, the characters are not in a direct battle for a resolution or an escape but instead a battle to make a statement that can knock the sense back into the vengeance-filled minds of the people of Israel. Alas, no matter what action is made, the result should come out to be the same, peace. Another theme that is similar between the pieces is the chance for their name to be heard. Each of these worlds closes the door to opportunity - and while most people turn around by this point, some will continue to try and break through the door. Characters such as Winston or Yoniton try do so whether it be starting a revolution or just creating a simple documentary that would draw attention from around the world to the Israeli conflict. However, this is where the list of common themes end. Even though the most important themes of the bunch stand on the same ground, there are many that differ from one another. A great example of two different themes would be the effects of oppression and the sacrifice the greater good. Oppression is one of the most prominent themes of 1984 due to the constant reminder of the control that Big Brother has. The people of London do not know that they are being brought to a near zombie-like state with every bit of them being controlled by Big Brother (not physically, but emotionally). Each person evidently becomes exactly the same; only being defined by what kind of work they do and how good they create it. When looking at both of My So-Called Enemy and “What of This Goldfish, Would You Wish?”, we see the people of the region trying to find their own way to stand up for themselves. Many of the people that do succeed in one way or another do not do it by violence but instead by their words and peaceful, silent actions. The girls that stand against the odds of the world to become friends - despite their upbringing - creates a bigger impact than the slaying of one man. These themes are only a small chunk of many but it shows the common grounds that these three different stories meet at: that the effects of a restricted environment are not just emotionally on the people but also on the definition of who each person is. Another large point that comes to mind when comparing these stories is that this reality will only become more and more common unless someone puts a stop to it. The people in Israel are practically like the ones in 1984; there is either a feeling of hopelessness or a lack of understanding of the density of the presented issue.

In conclusion, the common thread that arises from the pit of differences in these writings is the idea of a restricted environment and their effects. Each creation shows that this kind of environment does only harm to not just the current generation, but the generations of our future. People lose the chance to define themselves due to the actions that are not under their own control. The big idea that truly arises from the subject is that no matter how severe a restricted environment is, there will always be someone to fight for the rest; a diamond in the pile of coal. Each character fights for their own definition. On a everyday basis, each of us can try and be that diamond no matter if we are in a restricted environment or not. A crisis might occur or be happening on the other side of the world, yet it gives no reason for any of us to turn around and head home. Instead, it should give us a reason to stand up for others and show that we are truly becoming who God intended us to be.


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