Telescreens are featured in
George Orwell's novel " Nineteen Eighty-Four". They are televisionand 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 Partyand Outer Partyand a few proletarian settings have telescreens.
O'Brien claims that he, as a member of the Inner Party, can turn off the telescreen (although only for half an hour at a time). It is likely that this was false and he only made it appear so, as later we see that their conversation with the telescreen "off" was recorded. The screens are monitored by the
Thought Police. However, it is never made explicitly clear how many screens are monitored at once, or what the precise criteria (if any) for monitoring a given screen are (although we do see that during an exercise program that Winston takes part in every morning, the instructor can see him, meaning telescreens are possibly a variant of video phones). The telescreens are incredibly sensitive, and can pick up a heartbeat. As Winston describes, "...even a back can be revealing..."
Telescreens, in addition to being surveillance devices, are also the equivalent of televisions (hence the name), regularly broadcasting false news reports about Oceania's military victories, economic achievements, spirited renditions of the
national anthemto heighten patriotism, and Two Minutes Hate, which is a two-minute film of Emmanuel Goldstein's wishes for freedom of speechand press, which the citizens have been trained to disagree with, thus allowing them an opportunity to direct their subconscious hatred of Big Brother to Goldstein, whom they think is the real enemy. Often, tinny music is played from the telescreens. Much of the telescreen programs are given in Newspeak.
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telescreen — ˈtelə+ˌ noun Etymology: tel (I) + screen : the screen of a television receiver * * * /tel euh skreen /, n. a television screen, esp. a large one suitable for viewing by large numbers of people. [1940 45; TELE(VISION) + SCREEN] * * * telescreen… … Useful english dictionary
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