In the essay section of his novel 1985, Anthony Burgess states that Orwell got the idea for Big Brother from advertising billboards for educational correspondence courses from a company called Bennett’s, current during World War II. The original posters showed J. M. Bennett himself; a kindly looking old man offering guidance and support to would-be students with the phrase “Let me be your father” attached. After Bennett’s death his son took over the company, and the posters were replaced with pictures of the son (who looked imposing and stern in contrast to his father’s kindly demeanour) with the text “Let me be your big brother.”
As well as Bennett, speculation has also focused on Lord Kitchener, who among other things was prominently involved in British military recruitment in World War I. As a child Orwell (under his real name Eric Blair) published poems praising Kitchener and war recruitment in his local newspaper.
Additional speculation from Douglas Kellner of UCLA argued that Big Brother represents Joseph Stalin and that the novel portrayed life under totalitarianism.
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