The tethers of our world are being decimated, fraying humanity into oblivion. Each strand of effervescence that makes up our modern world is going up in a tendril of everlasting defeat. The building blocks of our character, values, and upbringing are being trampled underfoot by the future. The novel 1984 by George Orwell and the film Wall-E by Andrew Stanton both shape the messages they hope to convey in their stories through the foundation that seemingly miniscule aspects of our lives that cause the greatest changes when adapted. From both stories, it is evident that changes in parenting, decrease of human to human contact, and changes in beauty and fashion will be the first steps to the downfall of humanity.
Parenting plays a crucial role in the future of our society and when parenting changes, getting lazier, it can cause the fabric of our future to tear. Parents raise children who are cultivated from childhood experiences and these kids are the future of our world. “They had played a similar trick with the instinct of parenthood. The family could not actually be abolished, and, indeed, people were encouraged to be fond of their children, in almost the old-fashioned way. The children, on the other hand, were systematically turned against their parents and taught to spy on them and report their deviations. The family had become in effect an extension of the Thought Police. It was a device by means of which everyone could be surrounded night and day by informers who knew him intimately” (Orwell 168). Parents have surrendered their children, their own flesh and blood to the government. Their children are traps set by the government, ready to sink their teeth in, betraying their own family if there is one wrong step made. The people of our future are becoming weaponized. The sacred bond in a family is completely dissipated due to this laid-back parenting, which enables the government to turn their own offspring against them. The parents may have restraints regarding a say in their children’s upbringing due to Big Brother’s strict policies, but there are still ways to override the system if you try hard enough. Susceptible youths are having betrayal of their family and loyalty to the “higher power”, the government engraved into their minds from birth, essentially. What does this spell out for our future? Without this familial bond, it is increasingly difficult for children still in their developmental stages to gain morals. “A”! “A” is for “Axiom”, your home sweet home. “B”! “B” is for “Buy’N’Large”, your very best friend…” (Stanton). In Wall-E, the parents are being self-restrained from educating their children by their confining chairs, making them lazy and not involved in the lives of their children. Similar to 1984, these kids are being strung up like puppets to only serve those in power, such as Big Brother in 1984 and the large corporation in Wall-E, Buy’N’Large, simply because this is what they were taught from birth due to lazy and quite absent parenting. These parents are enabling large corporations and corrupt governments to manipulate their children from an early age. When parenting tactics become lazy, it causes a ripple effect that in turn runs our future off the rails and into the stone-cold arms of large corporations and the government.
Michelangelo mused, “To touch can be to give life.” This artistic icon is undeniably correct as there is even scientific proof that human to human contact releases a “feel good” hormone, oxytocin. In 1984, it was of extreme difficulty to touch each other, “The physical difficulty of meeting was enormous. It was like trying to make a move at chess when you were already mated. Whichever way you turned, the telescreen faced you” (Orwell 138). These citizens were constantly being watched under the hardened eyes of Big Brother. As mentioned before, human to human contact has positive health effects, but the problem is that this type of contact is nearly impossible in the world Orwell warns us will become our future. Emotions can be clearly expressed through touch and taking away that simple power from the people leads to a ripple of unfortunate events, such as further government domination. Chairs confine overweight humans as they are spaced from each other and isolated to their own chair space, faces illuminated by screens (Stanton). The telescreens in 1984 are very similar to the chairs in Wall-E. Both make it very difficult to touch one another. The telescreens, which are always watching will punish anyone with ruthless agony if they touch someone they are not instructed by Big Brother to. The chairs in Wall-E space everyone so far away from each other, in their own world of self-deterioration, making this space between everyone that causes an extreme lack of human to human contact. Human contact is such a sacred, indescribable component of life that incorporates nonverbal emotions into everyday interaction. Emotions are powerful and Buy’N’Large as well as Big Brother fear that these emotions will overpower them, so they strive to keep their mantle of dominance. In the rare instance of human to human contact, characters in both Wall-E and 1984 are startled because they aren’t used to this type of interaction. “As soon as he touched her, she seemed to wince and stiffen. To embrace her was like embracing a jointed wooden image” (Orwell 85). Touching each other is such alien behavior in this novel, which houses a society lacking of happiness or freedom. Two chairs bump each other as the Axiom jolts to the side. As the chairs bump each other, both people accidentally touch each other’s fingers. Both suddenly look up at one another, surprised, but happy (Stanton). These people were taken aback by the power of a touch, bonding with one another over a simple grazing of hands. There are different reactions to human touch, as demonstrated in both cautionary tales, but in most instances, human touch instills new, positive emotions.
Surprisingly, fashion as demonstrated in 1984 and Wall-E can lead to the crumbling of our society. Fashion is a form of self expression that is yet another freedom restrained by big companies and the government. In both stories, the common folk don similar forms of attire, government regulated and conformed. “A member of the Outer Party received only 3,000 clothing coupons annually, and a suit of pyjamas was 600 — and seized a dingy singlet and a pair of shorts that were lying across a chair” (Orwell). The clothes distributed by the higher government are dingy and come in bulk in 1984 as well as Wall-E. “Attention, Axiom shoppers. Try blue, It’s the new red! MONORAIL PASSENGER Oooohh… Passengers next to Wall-E press their chair buttons. Their JUMPSUITS change from RED TO BLUE,” (Stanton). Sense of style is lost. The clothes that people wear are regulated and banal. In Wall-E, passengers have become so brain-dead that they will go along with anything their company instructs them to. These people will do anything their ‘higher powers’ tell them to. This lack of individuality and expression has once again taken more power from the people and dropped it on societal death’s doorstep. This conformity in society will be the downfall of us all. All it takes is a voice, a change to make things different, but people are scared to stand up and somehow maintain a warped sense of security in these disastrous worlds.
From the copious similarities in the cautionary stories 1984, by George Orwell and Wall-E, by Andrew Stanton it is blatantly clear that absent parenting, decrease of human to human contact, and changes in beauty and fashion will be the first steps of destruction in our society leading to complete dissipation of our society as we know it. Each day, we become blinder to the domination of the government and companies riddled with corporate greed. We are taken under control by these massive influences that will eventually lead to the decimation of our future. We have become lazy, allowing this injustice to happen to us in our society. The future is in peril and it’s up to you to break free from the chains of oppression and not fall victim to these heinous powers.