Topic: Family, Life & ExperiencesEmotions

Last updated: March 2, 2019

Holistically, Orwell effectively conveys that it is inherent for man to rebel against oppressive narratives by depicting how individuals respond to the collective experience of oppression, forming our perspective of human nature and our choices. Orwell’s contextual concerns are reflected in 1984, acting as a satirical political commentary through highlighting how oppressive totalitarian regimes are the product of man’s pursuit for utopia and human flaws of greed and dominance by examining the rise of authoritarian regimes in the 1900’s, namely Stalinist Russia and their use of surveillance as a means of subjugation. Through Orwell’s limited third person narration, readers gain insights into how government oppression leads to the dehumanisation of individuals. The Party’s telescreens function as a digital extension to the Party’s eyes and ears, alluding to Bentham’s Panopticon by inducing a sense of permanent surveillance.

This pervasive control over its citizens creates a homogenous collective experience devoid of freedom causing Winston’s desire to express his innermost thoughts to be irrepressible. Subsequently, Winston frantically releases his feelings in his illicit diary in which he is overwhelmed by his newfound freedom, exemplified by his writing flowing in a stream of consciousness, “shedding first its capital letters and finally even its full stops.” The removal of grammar and punctuation conveys Winston’s hastiness to express his thoughts, highlighting man’s natural instinct to resist oppression. Furthermore, the Furthermore, the three paradoxical slogans of the Party, “war is peace; freedom is slavery; ignorance is strength” emphasise that the obligatory belief in contradictions is enforced upon the citizens, highlighting the extreme mental suppression and loss of individuality arising from the boundless greed of those in power.

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The exploitive nature of an oligarchic rule is also evident in Syme’s oxymoronic remark, “it’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.” This dichotomy reflects a society that values the destruction of language, symbolic of the abolition of one’s ability to voice one’s thoughts freely. The satirical inversion in which the demolition of free speech is valued conveys the loss of individuality and further accentuates the fall of man as a result of succumbing to the human flaws of greed and lust for power. Thus, Orwell successfully utilises dystopian conventions to explore aspects of the 20th century human experience to inform readers of the complexities of human emotions.


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