Table of Contents
During WWII, humanity was overcome by fear. Hitler, having convinced an enormous number of people to fight for his ideals, nearly triumphed over all those who resisted him. If he had managed to fulfill his plan, a fascist system of government would have begun, which would have significantly limited the rights and welfare of the vast majority of the population. George Orwell created “1984” to illustrate what kind of oppressive system this would have implemented. Through the use of location, characters and conflict, Orwell employs this plot to reveal the theme of the faithful, indomitable individual and their ability to rise above the corrupt and limiting wickedness of the enemy.
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Techniques used by Orwell in 1984
Orwell twists the idea of Paradise, an idyllic society where people live happy lives, and evolves an alternative environment in which life is exclusively miserable from deprivation, disenfranchisement and terror. Anxiety is exploited as a tool to manipulate and influence people, and almost every confident feeling is suppressed. The world is separated into three political nations: Oceania, Eastasia and Eurasia. Each of these countries is restrained by a police state and is permanently at war on several fronts.
Winston is compelled to exist within the current system; the character can alter the location where he lives, but is unable to transform the way he experiences. The political organization of Oceania consisted of three sectors: the gentry, the educated servants, and the labor class. Orwell, as a socialist, was aware that with class differences follows class struggle. The nobility, composed of the wealthy and influential, made up only two percent of the population.
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In Hitler’s Germany, indeed, the few people who were regarded as part of the gentry involved a more luxurious existence than the rest of the masses, but in that nation, as in “1984”, an uprising was inevitable.
The contrast between Winston and O’Brien represents another method in which Orwell reveals how society can try to alter people’s minds believing in the impossible. For example, O’Brien desires Winston to believe that two plus two is five, contradicting all the principles of mathematics that Winston has been taught all his life. He is one of the senior figures in the Inner Party, and perhaps even part of the mastermind hive that conceives the concept of Big Brother. When O’Brien exposes himself as a spokesman for the Party and all its inconsistencies and brutality, Winston rejects all sentiments of companionship and unexpectedly turns into his enemy.
This performance is evidently connected to the reflection that if mankind is faced with evil, then every ounce of strength will be applied to struggle back. The double mindset, the capacity to carry out two conflicting thoughts in one’s head simultaneously, O’Brien imposes on Winston only confuses him even more. Had Winston embraced the Party’s ideas, his life would have been saved. However, he is slain because of his personality, providing an inability to disseminate his idealistic beliefs to a populace thirsty for freedom and flight from repression.
Winston Churchill remains an irreplaceable figure in England during the Second World War. One has to ponder why Orwell prefers the name “Winston Smith” for his protagonist. The name Winston means personality, originality, majesty of the character, and Smith is the embodiment of such a person. Nevertheless, in the oppressive state system of “1984”, even the most brilliant person can be pushed aside and forced to work in back-breaking menial jobs, nullifying any possibility of fulfilling his or her significant potential.
Because Winston is so pleasant, such a genuine character, it becomes effortless to relate to him and picture ourselves in his place. Winston represents the ideals of a civilized community: peace, liberty, justice, democracy, love and integrity. When a man is massacred, all these values are crushed together with him. He is the embodiment of the battle between right and wrong, and there is no misunderstanding where the dividing lines are laid. The totalitarian regime doesn’t tolerate these qualities in its people, so it insists on killing Winston.
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George Orwell penned 1984 in 1948 and the principles he applied may still be relevant in the modern day. Despite the fact that Winston is deceased at the end, Orwell attempts to demonstrate the obstinacy of human nature. We have to remember that first and foremost, personality must be asserted, otherwise the average person will have no meaning or purpose in life.