A novel that a number of you have read is 1984 by George Orwell. This novel discusses both personal and political power and it is a text that is a useful one for a number of research themes. The novel is set in austere Oceania, which is constantly at war with either Eurasia or Eastasia. It is a world controlled by the Party that is led by Big Brother, an omnipotent and unseen ruler. Law has been replaced by the rule of one law, that is, total obedience to the Party. The social structure of Oceania is the privileged Inner Party, the Outer Party and the ‘proles’ or general population which make up the vast bulk of society but have no power.
Winston Smith, who is an Outer Party worker at the Ministry of Truth, begins to react against the system and tries to maintain some individuality. He finds Julia, with whom he can share these feelings and they have an affair, even having their own room in the area where the proles live. Searching for more freedom, they mistakenly go to O’Brien. He is an Inner Party Official, to whom they confide a desire to rebel against the system.
He lets them continue for a while even encouraging them but he turns out to be true to the Party. They are arrested, incarcerated and tortured. They betray each other and this is something they swore never to do. Winston does this in the infamous Room 101 where he faces his greatest fear, rats. Winston is released before he is finally terminated and he finds that he now loves Big Brother. The power still rests with the Party.