Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Exposed In The Novel 1984, By George Orwell

939 words - 4 pages

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental condition that ails soldiers and civilians alike who have been unfortunate enough to endure terrifying life harrowing experiences. Those who experience this disorder are prone to pejorative flashbacks to the time of the incident that triggered the neurological disorder. Most soldiers are capable of withstanding the withering physiological strain of combat, however a growing portion of people exposed to the graphic belligerence of war are prone to PTSD. In the novel 1984, George Orwell writes on multiple occasions of graphic war depictions and human pain. Having served in the Spanish Civil War, Orwell was exposed to violent reactions long before PTSD was officially diagnosed or even recognized. Not only did the novel display clear symptoms of his syndrome, Orwell released the tremendous stress he experienced on a daily basis as a result of the post traumatic stress he experienced through writing his novel. 1984 was inspired purely by the need to relinquish the internal pressures Orwell had experienced earlier in life, in a society where the open display of such symptoms was a sign of cowardice and weakness in the face of battle.
Throughout history there have been records of soldiers experiencing ‘shell shock,’ ‘battle fatigue,’ ‘gross stress reaction,’ and ‘soldier’s heart.’ The soldiers who suffered from these combat induced physiological traumas were branded as cowards, and removed from positions, reprimanded and even court marshaled. Vietnam veterans began to experience similar ailments immediately following the war. This new surge of afflicted soldiers forced the public as well as medical professionals and government officials to take notice of what is now diagnosed as post traumatic stress disorder. Soldiers are most commonly associated with the syndrome. The symptom that most acutely describes the mental condition is recurring flashbacks of the event that triggered the PTSD originally.
In 1984, George Orwell depicts a totalitarianism society where violence is common place. Early in the book Orwell renders a depiction of graphic film, wherein “a ship full of refugees [is] being bombed,” as well as the crowds of the theater roaring with laughter at the sight of a lifeboat full of children being annihilated (Orwell 11). This graphic description can be traced to Orwell’s own history in the Spanish Civil war, where he saw combat and fought against Franco’s party. Those who suffer from PTSD are forced to search for means of releasing the stress of their memories and consistent flashbacks. Modern patients, who are able to take advantage of advanced medicine, still find it essential to leading a normal human life to discover medians of release. Orwell found his in 1984.
On May twentieth, 1937, George Orwell was shot in the neck by a sniper while serving on the front lines of duty. He described it directly as being “a tremendous shock… a violent shock” (Orwell)....

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