Ten similarities between 1984 and Pyongyang
1. Media. Information is fed to the people by those in power. In Pyongyang, information from comic books is projected on tv’s so the kids don’t have to bother reading books. They can just think that everything started on tv. In 1984 false information fed all the time to the citizens of Oceania through the telescreens and by other forms of media.
2. Impersonal living. The hotel room that Mr. Guy stays in is a standard room that is cold and impersonal. It is made specifically by the people of power so that no room looks very different from another room. In 1984, rooms whether they are bedrooms or offices, they all look similar because that is the way the Party wants them to be. All the same, with no character.
3. Propaganda. Both 1984 and Pyongyang use propaganda to manipulate their people. Pyongyang has massive images everywhere saying things like, ” Forging ahead into the 21st century!”. And in 1984, propaganda is projected using telescreens.
4. No Loitering. No one lingers in the streets. Everyone has somewhere to be or something to do. In both 1984 and Pyongyang, everyone is always occupied with something. In 1984 Winston states how the Party wants everyone to be occupied at all times. The only time where doing nothing is acceptable is when people are sleeping.
5. POWER. In every building of every room in North Korea, there are pictures of Papa Kim and his Son. This is just like Big Brother in 1984. He is everywhere. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU. And Kim and his son are watching all of North Korea.
6. The statue of Kim Il-Sung. Even though he is dead, he is still the president. He is THE MOST important person in North Korea. similarly, Big Brother is extremely important in 1984.
7. Constant state of fear and threat. In Pyongyang, the subway is 90 meters underground so that in case of a nuclear attack, it can be a bomb shelter. Just like in 1984, the citizens are constantly in fear.
8. Poorly made food. In Pyongyang, the food is complained about and the dreadful coffee is mentioned several times. The food at the restaurants that Guy goes to is also mentioned as being poor quality. In 1984, Winston and Julia complain about the horrible coffee and gin and overall how distasteful the food is.
9. Privacy. In Pyongyang when Guy is sleeping, some woman comes into his room and gets something. She knocks, and even though he does not reply, she still enters. There is lack of privacy. Similarly in 1984, there are telescreens everywhere which is a way for the Party to see what the citizens are doing at all times. This is also a lack of privacy.
10. Rationing. In Pyongyang, rationing is used to consolidate power. A national public distribution system gives citizens portions based on loyalty and usefulness to the regime. Army officials and party cadres are given rice because they are “the core” or “The Inner Party members” like in 1984. Skilled workers and Soldiers are given small amounts of rice because they are “the lukewarm” or “Outer-Party members” like in 1984. And the laborers and political prisoners are given 250 grams per day because they are “the hostile” or “the Proles” like in Oceania.
It is terrifying how similar North Korea is to 1984 In Pyongyang. When I started reading Pyongyang, I couldn’t believe that 1984 wasn’t based on How North Korea is presently. Guy Delisle did not write fiction, Pyongyang is a non-fiction book on what he actually experienced in North Korea. The whole time that Guy was in North Korea, he was escorted around by a guide, because there is so little trust. There is a 22 metre statue of Kim il-sung in the heart of the city. He towers over the citizens of North Korea, as if he can still watch their every move and control their actions. Big Brother in 1984 is everywhere. He is watching everyone. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU. One thing that I noticed while reading Pyongyang, is how fear is contrived by the people of higher power. People of lower class