The Use of Government Control in 1984 in Comparison to the North Korean Regime

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The Use of Government Control in 1984 in Comparison to the North Korean Regime

Krupal Patel


Mr. Thomas



George Orwell’s book 1984 gives readers an insight as to what a future with a totalitarian government will be like. In this case, a future where there is one image of a person who controls everybody through manipulation and fear as well as where things such as “thoughtcrime” and “thought police” exist. Totalitarian governments continue to exist in many countries, the most well known being North Korea. Similar to the Party in 1984, North Korea’s government is a totalitarian dictatorship (Martinez 2) where both governments violate the human rights of its citizens.  Although both governments are led by dictators, “Big Brother” in 1984, and currently Kim Jong-Un in North Korea, they are similar in various other ways. Through their use of propaganda, and deprivation of speech, and informational freedom, it is clear how both the Party, and the North Korean regime use various methods of manipulation and government control towards their citizens. 

To begin with, both the Party and the North Korean regime control their citizens by depriving them of their freedom of speech. Freedom of speech allows humans to voice their opinions and share their thoughts, and both governments work to take away that right so that people can’t voice opinions that go against what their government believes in. If there are citizens who do criticize their government, both the Party and the North Korean regime resort to forced/prison labour camps or death. For instance, in the novel 1984, any thought that goes against the Party or “Big Brother” is considered a “thoughtcrime” (Orwell 5) and when you are caught, the “thought police” (Orwell 21) will take you away. When the main character Winston Smith first commits thoughtcrime, he wrote down, “DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER” 5 times (Orwell 20). He stated that “if detected, it was reasonably certain that it would be punished by death, or at least twenty-five years in a forced labour camp.” (Orwell 8)

As for the North Korean regime, according to The Problems of Human Rights in North Korea, “if a dissident in North Korea openly criticized the system, he would not be imprisoned for 40 years but arrested and shot to death…” (4). Just like the Party, the North Korean regime resorts to punishment by death or forced labour camps. Both governments work to punish those who criticize them to ensure they no longer stand in the way of their power. As a result, both the Party and the North Korean regime have been effective in controlling their citizens seeing that through their punishments, they can make people fear the government so that they won’t speak out.

Alongside prison/forced labour camps, both the Party and the North Korean regime deprive their citizens with their freedom of speech by placing spies among others to look out for any citizen who criticizes the government’s motives. For instance, in the novel 1984, Winston states “What was worst of all was that by means of such organizations as the spies they were systematically turned into ungovernable little savages…almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children…” (Orwell 26-27). In the novel, the Party manipulates children into behaving like spies so that they can prevent other family members from committing thoughtcrime.