Totalitarism and the reification of consciousness

a dialogue between the critical theory of Adorno, Horkheimer and Marcuse and the fiction of George Orwell, in 1984




Adorno, Horkheimer, Marcuse, reification, totalitarism


1984, by George Orwell, is a futuristic fiction that points to a distopy at Oceania, a country ruled by The Party and its totalitarian government. The extreme ideologization results in the reification of the consciences. Winston Smith, a government employee, dares to question this totalitarism and, for that, he becomes a target of the Thought Police (Thinkpol). Winston capitulates, under torture, before the official power. The concepts that are present in Orwell’s work will be discussed according to a critical theory of society; wich is represented, in this article, by the works of Adorno, Horkheimer and Marcuse. The thoughts of these authors dialogue with Orwell’s work and are the base to a critical and emancipatory interpretation of the novel.


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