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George Orwell's Symbolism And Derivation For Nineteen Eighty Four (1984)

948 words - 4 pages

George Orwell's Symbolism and Derivation for 1984

George Orwell's 1984 had a profound effect upon the way people thought during the mid 20th century. The book signified Orwell's most complex novel which told the story of Arthur Koestler and the countless others who suffered because of the totalitarian governments in Eastern Europe (Meyers 114). When 1984 was published in 1949, the Cold War had just begun. The novel's ending was pessimistic and thus seemed as an attack on communism. The novel was also considered to be the prophecy of what would happen to the West if the communist ideology spread. The idea for writing 1984 also came from an American economist named James Burnham. Burnham predicted that if Germany had won the war, the world would be divided into three areas (Meyers 125). This idea is used by Orwell because the society in 1984 is centered around 3 areas- Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia.

Koestler, a refugee from Fascist and Communist prisons, was the model for protagonist of 1984 - Winston Smith. Orwell chose this name because he felt that the reader could relate to Winston. By using the last name 'Smith' it conveys the universal appeal of everyman. The name Winston was chosen because Winston Churchill ruled England at the time and was seen as a hero. (Gardner 118) From this, Orwell puts forth the idea that anyone can do anything and rise to greatness.

The physical setting of 1984 came from the actual way London looked during the war years. The Ministry of Truth, the place where Winston worked was derived British Broadcast Company (BBC) building. Inside the BBC, there was a restaurant that had a dish called 'Victory Pie'. And thus, Orwell used Victory as the word that proceed as all objects - Victory gin, Victory apartments, etc. (Gardner 112)

Orwell worked in the Information area for the BBC. This department was headed by a man named Brendan Bracken, who was called 'B.B.' ( Gardner 112). Big Brother was one of the many propaganda tools used in 1984. The face of Big Brother is used to promote the ideal man, one who is tall and muscular living in a perfect world. Big Brother represents Stalin, Lenin, and Hitler. All three were totalitarian figures who frightened all as the world saw the horror of their powers. Posters of these men were hung all over their countries to give the effect that you could not escape their presence.

Hence the term in 1984, "Big Brother is Watching". Orwell may have been thinking about figures in certain religious faiths when he drew Big Brother. The mysterious, powerful, God-like figure who sees and knows everything--but never appears in person. The Hate Week...

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