I am honored to have this opportunity to speak to you regarding important societal issues arising from a comparison of George Orwell's book "1984' and the Godfather as directed by Francis Ford Corppola.
I acknowledge your presence and welcome all of you.
This morning, I will cover two aspects of comparison. First, I will discuss with reference to the two books; the way power in institutions can be sustained through fear, indoctrination and punishment. Later, I will address how the subversion of shared values and beliefs can lead to change in society.
To begin with therefore, I consider the way power is applied unfairly in/by institutions to achieve selfish gains. Usually, this is achieved through suppressing and dictating terms to the "subjects" and imposing severe punishment in a way to create fear essential to either force compliance or deter non-compliance. In most cases, situations are "doctored" either to maintain the status quo or suit the versions of those in power. In other words, administrations continue to pedal a lot of "propaganda" to help them achieve push through their selfish agendas. Ironically, such actions are taken in the "public interest"; a fact which is to be accepted to be always true as rule number one, and even if the public may not see it to be true, rule number one applies.
In George Orwell's 1984, we see Winston Smith employed in the Ministry of Truth's Records Department primarily to doctor information and records to be in line with the Party's required version. Furthermore, the Ministry of Truth completely regulates all media in entire Oceania. The Party is also portrayed here as a dictatorial one whose position need not be challenged or questioned. For this reason, we see the Thought police in place, established primarily to keep the people in check. They do so through the established surveillance mechanisms of telescreens, hidden microphones and spies all over. The aim is to track and apprehend any possible thought criminal that would otherwise challenge and jeopardize the "Party's holiness". When Winston and Julia were apprehended for instance, Winston was informed that he was to undergo a "cure" process, characterized by torture and electroshock therapy not intended to produce fake confession, but instead to change how Winston perceives ideas, (Orwell, 2004).
In the Godfather as directed by Francis Coppola, Vito Corleone is known to be a very powerful individual. He awards special favors to those he considers his friends. In return, his friends express maximum respect and so they call him "Godfather". Godfather remains loyal to those who remain loyal to him and will do anything to protect his friends including either whacking those perceived to be enemies to his friends or rewarding some favors to those who befriend his friends. We are able to note that the Godfather family was highly "loved and adored". But on the contrary, the Godfather business was "feared and respected". The business was to be understood as "olive oil trade" and was so understood by the police and politicians even when everyone was well aware that the Godfather business was criminal in nature involving; "justified killing", financing valuable ventures, illegal gambling and breach of copyright, (Coppola et al, 2004).
Next, let us briefly consider how subversion of shared values and beliefs can lead to change. In the Godfather, we see Genco Abbandando, who was Don Vito's childhood friend and family counselor, having stayed in the Godfather family for long, has been so influenced to the extend that he lost common shared beliefs. When he becomes sick, Genco calls on Don "scare away death". Genco knew that Don was quite powerful and believed that Don would actually "scare off death". Basically, considering the truth behind the Godfather, contrary to popular belief by the world that the Corleone's were a superior impervious force, it was established with time that the Godfather's were not the perfect immortals after all.
In Orwell's 1984, instruments of torture and electroshocks employed on Winston finally succeeded to make him love the "Big Brother". This demonstrates fact that the subversion of democratic principles has made dictatorship look like it is normal. Evidently, "The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, and the lie became truth." (Part 1 - Chapter 7).
Thank you all for your time. Enjoy your day.