1984: Fishbowl Discussion 1. In V for Vendetta, V says that “people should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” How has the Party and the idea of Big Brother distorted this belief? How does the government benefit from their people being fearful? Do we see those in power using this tactic of fear against us? When is it effective? Ineffective? What are the consequences/effects of a society living in fear? Alternatively, is fear necessary? Would we want to live in a society where our fellow citizens had a fundamental lack of fear (of the government or each other)? 2. In Winston’s world, he is always being watched. What makes someone a threat in Oceania, and what does this reveal about their values? Consider the same questions about our own society. How would constant surveillance affect you? Your relationships? What circumstances might allow the limiting/removal of personal privacy to become acceptable or even advantageous? How much would you be willing to give up (of your personal life, your personality, your point of view) for the “greater” or common good? What are the broader implications of the new social media for personal privacy, particularly information created and shared in the digital world? 3. Orwell’s novel makes the point that the media uses language to manipulate the truth. Some have discussed that “language is the ultimate weapon” of a totalitarian government. In what ways is this true in Nineteen Eighty-Four? In particular, consider the significance of names and the use of propaganda in the novel and in our own society. Is it possible to ever discover the “truth”? Or is the truth always subjective? How should we navigate through the half-truths and misleading facts presented in the media? Is it important to find alternative points of view—and where can we find them?