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George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty Four". Essay

1339 words - 5 pages

When reading a piece of literature, one can most always see recurring themes, ideas, characters and underlying messages. We see literary work as a diverse collection of thoughts and ideas, but if something we see as dynamic is really a clichéd story, how dynamic is our literature? When looking objectively at literature, you can break it into a few different recurring themes.One of the most common themes occurs when an individual character is pitted against the masses. The person dares to think or feel differently and they are persecuted for it. We all feel this way at times, therefore we can relate to the character with ease. The reader becomes completely absorbed in the character and their way of thinking, at which point they feel a deeper understanding of their reasoning. This makes the theme not merely the protagonist vs. society, but the reader vs. society. When we feel strongly about something, we get more immersed. As we delve into the book we feel a powerful bond with the key players. The reader is the protagonist's only support - or so it seems. Obviously, this is one of the reasons this literary device is so powerful; it makes it personal. More intimate.I cannot think of a better example of this than the character of Winston from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. Winston Smith is a superb and extreme example of the Individual Vs. Society theme. He starts as just another member of the downtrodden mass in Oceania, a world where disinformation and propaganda are commonplace. All of those surrounding Winston think a certain way - the way they have been told to think. Nobody doubts the authoritarian regime represented by figurehead "Big Brother". Plastered throughout this desolate world are slogans such as "IGNORANCE IS BLISS", "FREEDOM IS SLAVERY" and "WAR IS PEACE". The people accept this as the truth. They know nothing else. From birth to death their being is made up of these messages. They are everywhere. The less you know, the more society is homogenized, the better.The purpose of this novel is to illustrate the truly terrifying possibilities of the totalitarian ideology. We experience the horrendous world that Orwell shows us through the eyes of Winston. Winston's tendency to resist the domineering control of the Party is what casts him as an outsider of the population, and therefore puts him in a position of opposition to not only the government, but also society as a whole. It enables the reader to better realize the harsh oppression that the Party, Big Brother, and the Thought police institute. Winston's long reflections give us a chance to explore the novel's central themes, one of those being Winston Vs Society.Throughout the story Smith moves away from the guidelines of the Party and begins to think independently. He commits thought crime by engaging in activities to better his personal and intellectual well being, which directly causes him to question the "Party". As Winston indites in his diary, "Thoughtcrime does not...

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