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An Essay Which Compares How Both Orwell And Proulx Develop There Main Characters In George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty Four"And E. Annie Proulx's "The Shipping News"

3668 words - 15 pages

By close examination of George Orwell's 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' and E. Annie Proulx's 'The Shipping News' compare the ways in which the Orwell and Proulx, develop their main characters'1984', as a science fictional dystopia, depicts a totalitarian regime that outlaws truth, love, thought, and the concept of the individual, controlling its populace with fear, brute force, and propaganda. Orwell presents Winston Smith as the protagonist of the story; his desperate attempt to preserve his identity initially leads to great development in character. Ultimately, however, such development is brought to a brutal end as his growing self is replaced by a superficial conformist personality imposed from ...view middle of the document...

This pathetic image of Quoyle is emphasized by the fact that he accepts this treatment and believes it to justify his low opinion of himself.Winston Smith is a name, which has obvious connotations but can also be subject to deeper, more complex interpretations. Winston's surname establishes him as an everyman figure, but his first name is more open in its implications. The intended reference is clearly to Winston Churchill, Britain's Prime Minister during WWII. The most straightforward interpretation of this link is that, like his namesake, Winston Smith represents resistance to evil. However, his first name could also be interpreted as an ironic comment on his lack of fitness to resist evil, contrasting him with Churchill, or even as a satirical reflection on how, under Churchill's leadership during WWII, government controls increased. This interpretation is supported by the fact Orwell was an enthusiastic advocate of the Labour Party of the 1940's.1984 is narrated in the third person but focused entirely on one character, Winston, whose point of view we occupy through free direct discourse (technique of narrating the thoughts or speech of a character by incorporating their words or ideas into a third-person narrative) and also through his speech and diary entries. This style of narrative means the reader shares Winston's ideas and perceptions so fully, it seems we are always intended to sympathise and agree with him. However, as the novel progresses Orwell employs dramatic irony to make Winston's views appear increasingly unreliable, for example, he fails to notice any of the sinister clues about Charrington or O'Brien. When such moments occur, they cause the reader to re-evaluate Winston's reliability and are therefore important when considering his development in character. Free direct discourse is a particularly useful tool employed by Orwell, as it discourages the reader from completely identifying with Winston. At the same time the narrative also helps Orwell to integrate actions, ideas and characterization into a single story.Proulx employs the same style of narrative in TSN with similar repercussions. Initially, Quoyle is intensely described as such a dismal person that distance is created between him and the reader. However, due to the narrative perspective, as he slowly grows in character the reader's affection for Quoyle grows. This gradual change in opinion reflects Quoyle's struggle to flourish as an individual.Orwell's 1984 is straightforwardly divided into three parts; a beginning, a middle and an end. Part One shows us the world in which Winston is trapped and his reactions to it. Part Two contains the rebellion. Winston has an illegal affair with Julia and through O'Brien the couple join the Brotherhood, an underground organization attempting to overthrow the party. The pair are then taken prisoner. Part Three recounts Winston's defeat. As the novel is so clearly structured Orwell makes it easy to track Winston's development,...

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