Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Telescreens are most prominently featured in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, although notably they have an earlier appearance in the 1936 Charlie Chaplin film Modern Times. They are television and security camera-like devices used by the ruling Party in Oceania to keep its subjects under constant surveillance, thus eliminating the chance of secret conspiracies against Oceania. All members of the Inner Party (upper-class) and Outer Party (middle-class) have telescreens, but the proles (lower-class) are not typically monitored as they are unimportant to the Party. In Smith's conversation with the shop keeper Charrington, it is mentioned that "Telescreens are too expensive" and Proles can't afford them (presumably, for Party Members purchasing them is obligatory, though this is not explicitly stated).