Breaking the Rules

There is a long standing board game that has recently risen to popularity called Dungeons and Dragons. While the game has a long history and complexity, there is only one aspect that I want to focus on. The alignment system. The alignment system in the game works in a 3 by 3 grid forming 9 boxes that form a single larger box. At the top is good, the bottom is evil, the left is chaos and the right is lawful. From this you have 9 different character alignments. For the most part this system is hated by many players, and there are a number of misconceptions and other aspects that are unimportant to the point I am getting at. What is so important about this is the alignment of law and chaos. Many people believe that chaos is bad and is associated with evil. However, chaos isn’t someone becoming wild and beast like. Chaos also means choice and freedom. Even if you break the law, you chose to break the law and you have the freedom to do so. A world where you are expected to follow every law is a world not meant for humans. Of course with laws, there is security, safety and peace. But, where are your freedoms? Laws are used to discard some of your freedoms in exchange for these. And why do people break laws? Of course there are circumstances that make people desperate, but there are those who desire the freedom to choose and to be wild.

In the story Nineteen Eighty-Four Oceania is a country that enforces so many laws that no one has an ounce of freedom. The party has stripped all its citizens of its freedoms. Of course there is the problem that nobody will even think for themselves, but the party has been tampering with documents. Our story features Winston, a man who has taken note of the wrongs of the party and feels frustration towards them for it. At the beginning of the story he purchases a diary and writes in it in hopes of venting his frustration. Unfortunately for him, this only enhances his frustration. After some time, he encounters a woman named Julia. Some time after speaking to each other they have a sexual affair that the party despises so. When Winston asks Julia if she has done this before, she tells him that she has done it with countless other party members. It was then he knew about the party’s corruption. The story tells us how he felt about this at the top of page 128. “Perhaps the Party was rotten under the surface, its cult of strenuousness and self-denial simply a sham concealing iniquity.” If there were countless men who slept with Julia than that means that he is not alone in his law breaking. Winston was overjoyed by this revelation and wanted to further his rebellious acts. He finds satisfaction in knowing that there are others who want to be free. He has found others who detest these laws and find glory and hope in freedom.

One thought on “Breaking the Rules

  1. Interesting connection, but it would be helpful to put the “alignment” game more fully in dialogue with the novel (which is only discussed at the end, and in relatively general terms).

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