1984 By George Orwell (922 words)

Published: 2021-06-20 12:25:09
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1984 By George Orwell”War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” This is theslogan of the Ministry of Truth, a branch of the totalitarian government inpost-war London. The figurehead of this government is Big Brother, who employs avast army of informers called the Thought Police who watch and listen to everycitizen at all times through a device called a telescreen for the least signs ofcriminal deviation or unorthodox thoughts. This novel, like Orwell’s earlierwork Animal Farm and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, is an example ofanti-utopian fiction, that kind of fiction which shows man at the mercy of someforce over which he has no control. Anti-utopian novels are usually intended asa criticism of the time in which the author lives. Nineteen Eighty Four, asatire of totalitarian barbarism told through the eyes of Winston Smith, is noexception. Orwell deliberately keeps the plot in 1984 simple, without anynarrative twists or shocking surprises until the very end. He is very careful topresent the idea that it is our society and government, not people, that aremixed up. The plot is not merely a boy meets girl story, but helps to pull thecharacters through the story. For Orwell’s purposes, the plot need not be toocomplex, for it might detract from his message. By keeping the time frame of1984 to a short period and involving relatively few main characters, Orwellfocuses on the important issues of totalitarianism and total government controlthrough brainwashing. In connection with the plot of this novel, Orwell’ssetting is of supreme importance, for it creates the ambience of the story.
Orwell’s setting is well done, and helps formulate the reader’s opinionsabout what he is reading. Nineteen Eighty Four begins in spring, the traditionaltime of rebirth and romance. But the reader soon learns this is not an accuratedescription of the times. The air is cold and the city is a ruin. With just afew indications of setting, the reader begins to understand what this novelstands for. London, a city central to the Western tradition and one of the mostbeautiful cities in the world, has been destroyed through the revolution fromcapitalism to totalitarianism. It is virtually an open sewer. Everything, fromthe language and culture to its history and people, is being demolished. Orwellalso uses setting to communicate mood and situations, arousing hate in thereader towards Ingsoc and Big Brother. The best examples of this are the TwoMinutes Hate and Winston’s electroshock treatment. By using normalsurroundings and twisting them, Orwell communicates the idea that our own worldis vulnerable to the tyranny portrayed in Oceania. In 1984, Orwell manipulateshis setting so that once the reader has finished the book, he carries Orwell’sideas and feelings about totalitarianism into life. Orwell’s diction and styleare powerful and overwhelming. He describes pain and suffering in graphicdetail, and his presentation keeps the reader alert by shifting suddenly inunexpected directions. In this novel, Orwell wonderfully implements a dichotomybetween the reality of our world and the unreality of fiction. The barrierbetween what is real and what is depicted in the novel is obliterated as Orwellsatirizes and mimics contemporary society. Orwell’s style captivates thereader into the reality of the world in 1984. In a complex work such as 1984,there are numerous structural relationships upon which the author bases hiscentral themes and ideas. Orwell comments on politics, economics, war, love, andtruth among other things. In the microcosm of 1984, the love which developsbetween Winston and Julia is exemplary of the struggle of those who have toexist in a society which scorns love and sexual desire. The Party’s alteringof the past in order to deceive its citizens and create in them a sense ofutopia is designed to reveal the conflict between truth and the mutability oftruth. Obviously the most important theme of the novel centers around the evilsof totalitarianism. Orwell portrays not just what the world is becoming, butwhat it is. The bewildering and anti-human experience of a person living in atotalitarian state is likely to bring about the kind of alienation apparent in1984. Winston, the most obvious example, is severely cut off from the outsideworld. Alone and lonely, he feels alienated from his family, his neighbors, andthe rest of society. Even with Julia, Winston does not find someone who sharesthe same thoughts and opinions that he does.

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