“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face-for ever” (George Orwell). George Orwell writes in his novel 1984 what he believes will happen to a world ruled by a communist oligarchy. George Orwell’s ominous vision of an extreme communist regime does not come true in 1984 as we know it. Rather, his vision is seen in Kim Jong II’s present day North Korea. George Orwell’s 1984 proves to come true in present day North Korea through absolute obedience, government propaganda, and inclusive isolation.
In the novel 1984, absolute obedience of the citizens is a requirement for a functional communist government. Complete control of the citizens’ minds allows no corrupt thought. In 1984 Syme says to Winston, “Don’t you see the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought, in the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible” (Orwell 46) and clarifies that this is necessary to the perseverance of Big Brother’s Regime. In North Korea, Kim Jong Il makes sure no one questions his governmental ways, and to follow through with that Bradley K. Martin notes that he executes internal threats to his office, imprisons innocent people who he is suspicious of, and also appeals to the people as their friend, not so much as their ruler. (54) There is much to see in relation to these two governments, Big Brother also appears as an entity that one would like very much, like your own brother, while Kim Jong II tries to become visible as a friend of the people. These tactics are very effective on a mass of people who know nothing more than what is good for the government. What Big Brother and Kim Jong II have done is stripped the human being of his or her consciousness. These people will never think thoughts that ordinary people would think because they have been brainwashed and taught that obedience to the party, or Kim Jong Il, is top priority.
Also in 1984, absolute obedience is exemplified when O’Brien forces Winston to admit “Two plus two equals five” (Orwell 219) and Winston eventually obeys him and learns that two plus two equals five. In North Korea, Kim Jong Il’s citizens believe every word from the government and live strictly by government standards. Bradley Martin describes North Korea as one big corporation, where everyone is working and rarely do you ever see a smile. (16) This illustrates the idea of a totalitarian government well because these two administrations both require absolute obedience at its maximum.
Many governments feed their citizens mindless propaganda, but no country and leader do it as well as Big Brother and Kim Jong Il. In 1984, the inner-party creates a person to be known as Comrade Ogilvy. Nobody knows if he is a real person, but the citizens are forced to believe he is. The party, to influence patriotism, creates this war-hero and shows the people an example of an extraordinary citizen. “He refused all toys in childhood except for a machine gun, a drum, and a toy helicopter.”(Orwell 42) Comrade Ogilvy is portrayed as a perfect citizen and war-hero, all to influence the minds of the party members. In North Korea, Kim Jong Il could be known by the title “King of Propaganda”. Mike Chinoy from CNN news writes that when he crossed the border to North Korea he immediately saw three large posters reading: “OUR GENERAL IS NUMBER ONE”, “SUNSHINE OF THE 21st CENTURY”, and “OPPOSE AMERICA”. (1) These three statements are very suggestive and strong. The first statement is saying that Kim Jong Il is the best general, the second is saying Kim Jong Il is the sunshine of the century, and the third is an all out opposition to the American “free market” ways. Therefore 1984 and North Korea bear a striking resemblance when it comes to government propaganda.
For communistic government procedures to thrive, inclusive isolation must be intact. In 1984, throughout the whole novel they are constantly shifting their enemy from one part of Asia to another. During Winston’s interrogation, O’Brien says, “Oceania is at war with Eastasia”, when Winston clearly remembers when not long before they were at war with Eurasia. Seeing as no citizen in Oceania has contact with any outside country, and that they are not allowed to keep records of the past, there is no way of proving the party wrong. Kim Jong Il is so paranoid of losing the throne of his so-called democratic republic that he lets no outside information through the country’s borders. Bradley Martin states that when he was in North Korea, he reported no television shows, radio programs, or magazines that were not regulated by the government. He says that there is no source of entertainment or information that is not government approved. In North Korea people are so oppressed that they can not have a religion because Kim Jong Il is their god. Bradley Martin also tells about the 1960s when all the children whose parents were lost in the Korean War were raised by the government, and Kim Jong Il’s predecessor, Kim Il Sung, was taught to be their father. Inclusive isolation remains a prominent factor in Orwell’s Oceania, and in present day North Korea.
North Korea proves to be one of the closest comparisons to Big Brother’s regime. The theme of oppression cannot be exemplified greater than by Kim Jong Il and Big Brother. George Orwell’s 1984 proves to come true in present day North Korea through absolute obedience, government propaganda, and inclusive isolation. Big Brother’s reign of terror will forever live on in the minds of readers, but thankfully, Kim Jong Il’s reign will eventually come to an end.