The shared psychological attributes of human kind are consistent throughout time and reflected in a variety of different societies, those instincts of humanity are often generalized and predictable. Texts reflect and expand on the era in which they are written as they represent the constant values throughout man-kind. George Orwell, the composer of the novel ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ and Gary Ross, the director of the film ‘Pleasantville’; explore the constant values of humanity throughout time, regardless on the time in which they were written and their contextual values they both carry the same ideology that breaking boundaries and the rejection of conformity within a society is vital in the rejuvenation of humanity and individualism. Both of these texts were written at very different times and with very different influences; ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ is a reflection of a post war, totalitarian society whereas ‘Pleasantville’ explores a modern contemporary society, consequently giving both of these texts different contextual values. The innate characteristics of humanity demonstrated in both of these texts are communicated through the variety of literary and film techniques, both composers express these characteristics throughout their texts to express the opinion that an individual will loose all purpose in life without the indomitable urge to extend the boundaries in which are created in front of them. Both composers demonstrate that every society carries the implications of the desire for power, in every society individualism and conformity is part of control, and every individual that carries some sort of power also carries the desire to create a utopian society but are unaware of the consequences of attempting to pursue this desire.
Both texts explore the ideology that every society regardless on their contextual values carries the implications of the desire for power. In ‘Nineteen eighty-four’, Orwell reflects on the totalitarian regimes of post world war II to demonstrate the implication of the desire for power within the society he created. Throughout his novel he limits power by withholding knowledge, manipulating truths and creating lies which enable ‘the party’, or the god like figure, to retain power. There was an attempt to create an artificial language to limit knowledge, Orwell rhetorically asks the responders, ‘Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?’, this outlines the purpose of newspeak and demonstrates the impact it has on their society, it limits the people of not only expressing their own ideas but even formulating ideas that do not agree with the party’s. There were lies told, and as time went on the distinction between the truth and the lies became unknown; it was known to the proles as double think, ‘..true to the principles of doublethink, the party taught that proles were inferiors who must be kept in subjection, by the application of a few simple rules’, this contradictory statement refers to the paradox where history is changed, and then claimed to never of been changed, this contradictory concept demonstrates the parties ability to make believable an absurd manipulation of the truth.
Garry Ross represents the idea of the desire for power very similarly in his film ‘Pleasantville’. The Modern society of Pleasantville is controlled by the lack of knowledge within their society and demonstrates the excessive amount of conformity. The society of Pleasantville is controlled for a different purpose then ‘Nineteen Eighty-four’, it is a representation of a world which is controlled for the common good of the people to the point of it being considered ‘perfect’. Through the use of a rhetorical question Mary Sue asks, ‘What’s at the end of main street?’, this demonstrates the little knowledge that is obtained by both the children and the adults of Pleasantville but also the astonishment that is shown when the ability to question is demonstrated through Mary Sue, as none of the Pleasantville community have that ability. Both texts contain the idea of the desire for power; both societies are indoctrinated to the point that they can be manipulated into thinking things that may not be true. With knowledge comes with the obligation to solve problems and break barriers, which would cause the leaders to loose their superior status. Each and every Society with different contextual values carry the implications of the desire for power, there is a continual fight over power, there always has been, there always will be, its part of human instinct.
Humans desire to have control and power; they have the desire to conform society so they can be the prominent individual. Both texts have different degrees of individuality and conformity regardless of their different influences. ‘Nineteen Eighty-four’ and ‘Pleasantville’ both lack many things in which contemporary society take for granted such as freedom of speech, individuality and the freedom of free thought. ‘Nineteen Eighty-four’ demonstrates the strong expectations of individuals by society to conform and obey the party, ‘Winston’s greatest pleasure in life was his work. Most of it was a tedious routine’, this paradoxical statement conveys the conflicting feelings of the individual with the expectations of society. There is a fine line between conformity and unity, ‘Nineteen Eighty-four’ has destroyed that line, having complete conformity within the society isolates Winston, ‘Men are infinitely malleable’, this metaphor is used by O’Brian to describe the ease in which humanity can be shaped and moulded, it was used to emphasise that Winston will eventually become conform with the rest of society, he cannot and will not stand out as an individual forever. Individualism and conformity are also challenged in Ross’s film ‘Pleasantville’, The people of Pleasantville are very conform, and consequently loose the ability to cope with different situations, ‘Where’s my dinner?’, rhetorically emphasises the reaction to change within the society of Pleasantville. Bud and Mary Sue brought the attributes of individuality from their own society and changed the naivety of Pleasantville. The lack of individuality in a society demonstrates the distorted outlook of society where they cannot see the different colours of life, and life literally lacks colour and meaning without individuality, this being constant throughout different contextual values.
An individual has the desire to fight for their rights and pursue their dreams, to create their society into a utopia, everybody dreams for what they don’t have, for something better, the individual has the motivation to attempt to pursue those dreams without realising the consequences. Orwell’s novel ‘Nineteen Eighty-four’ is a representation of attempting to create their society into a utopia. The party’s desire to create a utopian society through its ideals of INGSOC generally have a negative effect, ‘..Faces as tragic as though they had been the doomed passengers on a sinking ship’ the simile helps to compare the proles of the society with passengers on the verge of death. Throughout the novel many negative connotations are used, ‘terrible’ , ‘terrifying’ , ‘decaying’, these are all used as emotive language to help immediately establish a sinister setting, which consequently makes it obvious that through the attempt to create a utopia, a dystopia is in actual fact created. ‘Pleasantville’ is also another representation of the attempt to improve the current world and make it as ‘perfect’ as possible. The imagery ‘Once upon a time’, reminds the audience that the utopian world that is seen in Pleasantville is not real, it conveys the message that perfection can only be seen as a fantasy. A defining characteristic in human beings is the ability to make mistakes and learn from them, perfection causes the loss of humanity. The comparison between Pleasantville at the beginning and Pleasantville at the end causes Ross’s idea of perfection to be a questionable one as it raises the notion is happiness ignorance or is happiness knowledge? The desire to create the world in which you live in into a utopia exists within all different contextual values; it is an innate human characteristic.
In conclusion the innate characteristics of humanity are constant throughout time and are not a reflection of the contextual values of particular texts, rather a representation of natural human instincts. Every society contains the implications of the desire for power, have challenges between individuality and conformity and also have a desire to achieve the unattainable in order to turn their society into a fantasy of perfection. Each individual strives for power and conformity, yet this takes away humanity, Breaking boundaries and the rejection of conformity are essential in the rejuvenation of the human spirit and of society.