Government Surveillance

the strongest theme in the novel, in my humble opinion, and the one that represents the book’s message in the best manner is by far the theme of government surveillance. As previously discussed, Marcus and his peers are subject to a great dial of trial and torture, both when they are detained and when they are forced to go about their daily lives in compliance with the DHS’ constant observance. The same is the case in the novel 1984, what with Winston Smith being constantly bombarded with propaganda from his Oceania’s governing body-  in Little Brother, Marcus is exposed to the images of daily mass arrests and temporary taking of custody by DHS officials.

This is proved accurate in this segment of the novel: “’Let them hire a billion pigs and put a checkpoint on every corner… We’re jamming up the system because we hate Homeland Security, and because we love our city” (Doctorow, 139). The preceding excerpt depicted a passage in the book wherein a member of the Xnet called in to a local radio station and told the station what he thought of the DHS checkpoints. His view outlined the story Marcus told throughout the novel- the government had taken San Francisco security into its own hands and heavily occupied civilian territory. It also outlines the frustration and desperation most people in Marcus’s society had built up in the wake of Homeland Security’s intrusive actions. These actions are what triggered the mass revolt of the “Xnetters” and the ultimate termination of the DHS’s occupying of the city by the end of the novel.


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