Saturday, February 11, 2012

Can you find influences in 1940/50's to show how Orwell formulated his initial ideas for his distopian world for "1984"

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“Can you find influences in 140/50’s to show how Orwell formulated his initial ideas for his distopian world for “184”.

One of George Orwell’s most controversial novels “184” is bursting with his

own views and ideas about the world in which he most distastefully lived in, and more

importantly the corruptions which enticed the world to a self-destruct position. “184”

Cheap Custom Essays on Can you find influences in 1940/50's to show how Orwell formulated his initial ideas for his distopian world for "1984"

was primarily based on Orwell’s ideas and feelings in which circled his life on a day

to day basis, they appeared to be like a unwanted disease that would not leave his

thought on any account, and this could not be shown more apparently then in “184”.

One of the major themes that are inflicted upon the people in Oceania is

totalitarianism. This theme runs continuously throughout the whole novel, but when it

is at its most dominance is when Winston is being created into a lover of the Party and

Big Brother, and not someone who see’s it for it’s true motives.

‘How many fingers, Winston?’

‘Four! Stop it, stop it! How can you go on? Four! Four!’

‘How many fingers, Winston?’

‘How many fingers, Winston?’

‘Five! Five! Five!’

The one main figure in the novel that represents totalitarianism fully is Big Brother,

us as the audience do not have any contact with him as a character and this was

purposely done, so the emphasis of the novel lies entirely on Winston’s feelings and

nobody else’s. If the audience got too close to other characters then it would be

impossible for Orwell to have his feelings expressed and learned intently. If there is

anyone in the world of history that Orwell depicted Big Brother on I think it would be

the legendary but feared Joseph Stalin.

(1) “Stalin was in many respects a most unlikely leader of a great nation. Physically unattractive devoid of warmth and spontaneous enthusiasm, not a good speaker and not a great thinker, Stalin failed to project any charisma at all, nor did he give the impression of being a great villain. Nevertheless, he left his mark on Soviet and world history like no other figure in this century”.

I believe this indestructible figure was more closely related to Big Brother then what

had once been perceived. Big Brother was a mere figure whom had an impact on

everybody’s lives, whether they realised this or not. This is proved most indefinitely

by the increasing follow ship of once ordinary people, who now have a pure hatred

towards people they have never been in contact with.

“The little sandy-haired woman gave a squeak of mingled fear and disgust. Goldstein was the renegade and backslider who once, long ago (how long ago, nobody quite remembered), had been one of the leading figures of the party,”

The process in which the people of Oceania have changed in absolutely unnerving,

they appear to be faceless objects, and the only thing they seem to be hanging on for

is the repulsive Hate week. It sounds quite simplistic in its title, but it leads motives

go deeper then Outer party members realise. In an animal state way everybody

prepares for Hate Week as an occasion that is celebrated much like we now celebrate


“For Hate Week. You know-the house-by-house fund. I’m treasurer for our block. We’re making an all-out effort-going to put on a tremendous show. I tell you, it won’t be my fault if old Victory Mansions doesn’t have the biggest outfit of flags in the whole street”.

The outer party members have been moulded into a finely tuned army that

hate whomever they are told to hate, and Winston finds in unbearable to believe that

one week they are at war with Eastasia, and the next they are at war with Eurasia, this

mere possibility is frustrating because it appears at the beginning he is alone in his

quest for a normal life, with accurate answers for his never ending questions, and

finally when he does find refuge in O’Brien he is betrayed, and it seems like he is

alone like he once was, and all his hope has been diminished.

“ ‘At this moment, which power is Oceania at war with?’

‘When I was arrested, Oceania was at with Eastasia.’

‘With Eastasia. Good. And Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, has it not?’

Winston drew in his breath. He opened his mouth to speak and then did not speak. He could not take his eyes away from the dial.

‘The truth, please, Winston. Your truth. Tell me what you think you remember.’

‘I remember that until only a week before I was arrested, we were not at war with Eastasia at all. We were in alliance with them. The war was against Eurasia. That had lasted for four years. Before that’”

The setting which “184” is created in was a very important technique used by

Orwell, so that his social comments could be understood more clearly, then just

reading the story. The fact that Oceania is based on the famous London can lead us as

the reader to ask many questions about Orwell’s thoughts and feelings about

England’s Capital. Straight from the beginning of the novel the audience is unleashed

into a gritty dusty world that we would all like to be disassociated with.

“ slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him.

The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats”

There is a strong sense of irony in the beginning of the novel, the flats in which he

inhabits are called Victory Mansions but there is nothing Victorious about living in

the dingy infested block of down trodden flats.

() “Life is shabby, the streets of London are shabby”.

The fact that Orwell uses a main capital to tell his story in, leads us into

conclusion that he obviously felt that after the war, London was turning into

something worst then it was before the war, and even though the people of England

faced a terrible war together, people where still selfish and money/power crazy;

() “Orwell had opposed a war with Germany, declaring that the British Empire was worst worse than Hitler”.

The fact that London simply dismissed the war and tried to progress in being the best

in every way is highlighted by the three massive buildings in “184”;

() “London is forever dominated by the skyscrapers of the Ministry of Truth, where lies are fabricated, the Ministry of Love, where prisoners are tortured by the party, and the Ministry of Plenty, which arranges strict food rationing”.

The main objective of the Party is to make an elite system and population

without flaws and imperfections; however what we see in this new civilization is

selfishness and people who are brandished with blemishes that they can never be rid

off. There is even a black market that gives Winston and the reader hope that there are

still normal human beings who have wants and misfortunes.

‘Real sugar. Not saccharine, sugar. And here’s a loaf of bread � proper white bread, not our bloody stuff � and a little pot of jam. And here’s a tin of milk � but look! This is the one I am really proud of. I had to wrap a bit of sacking round it, because ‘

There are many infinite reasons why this so-called supreme society has subjected

itself to the wheeling and dealings of the villains, and the main culprit is that the outer

party who would be considered the Lower class have no voice in public matters. What

is scarier is that George Orwell’s pessimistic tale seems to have come true more than

we realise. It is only recently that the Prime Minister Tony Blair decided to go to war

when there were so many people against it, and no matter what they believed in they

had no real voice to which could be heard.

The community of Oceania follows a strict hierarchical institutionalised

regime, which is most closely related to the church. That is why George Orwell places

Winston as the unusual hero of this pessimistic tale of destruction. It is a hard fact that

everyone loves the underdog, so Orwell has used this fact to his advantage, and more

fittingly he has projected himself into this ungainly creature that attracts the attention

of a youthful young woman.

() “Orwell has as it were projected himself into the story in the shape of his wretched hero Winston Smith”.

In every community throughout the world there are poverty stricken places,

and in Oceania there is no exception, the outer Party are fooled into believing they are

better off then they once was, and this is only because the inner party who live in

luxury do not want to be found out that they are really better of then anyone else;

“The whole atmosphere of the huge block of flats, the richness and spaciousness of everything, the unfamiliar smells of good food and good tobacco, the silent and incredibly rapid lifts sliding up and down”

I think this comes down to the fact that the inner party are completely capitalist in

their way of thinking and acting. They believe that one person should be at the top

and their only objective of living is to make as much money as they possibly can. I

think that Orwell had a more Communist way of thinking, and that everybody should

have a role to play in life, and the audience feels his pain most intently because of the

literary techniques used by Orwell. The complete sense of helplessness and loneliness

plants itself on Winston and his only target in his worthless life is to believe there is a

Brotherhood, which Goldstein leads.

“But there was a fraction of a second when their eyes met, and for as long as it took to happen Winston knew-yes, he knew! That O’Brien was thinking the same thing as himself”.

Orwell was a man who believed there were many injustices in the world in

which he lived in, and I think he was quite an opionated man, but like Winston Smith

he is one single man whose opinion could not be heard vocally, so the only way he

felt that his feelings and comments could be heard was through the use of literature,

and it worked, as “184” has become a revolutionary novel that so many of us can

relate to, emotionally and politically. I think he wanted to abuse those in power and

leave a mark on the society that naively surrounded him.

(4)”Political writing is usually written for immediate effect rather than long-term scrutiny”.


1. “Stalin The Glasnost revelations

Walter Laquer

. “George Orwell a personal memoir”


4.“New Casebooks, George Orwell-Contemporary Critical Essays”

Edited by Graham Holderness, Brian Loughrey and Nahem Yousef.

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