|Symbolism||“Winston kept his back turned to the telescreen. It was safer, though, as he well knew, even a back can be revealing.”|
“BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU”
“Here comes the chopper to chop off your head!” (part of the song about the churches of old London.)
|Telescreens - telescreens are a visible symbol as well as the direct means of the Party’s constant monitoring of its subjects. They also symbolise the tendency of totalitarian governments to abuse technology.|
Big Brother - the ultimate figure of Oceania, is everywhere. A moustached man who is always watching. This symbol strikes both loyalty and fear in the people. They worship this icon but are continually kept afraid of his power.
Glass Paperweight & St. Clementine’s Church - These items are symbols of the past that, because of the Party’s control, no longer have any basis in "reality." When the Thought Police come to lead Winston and Julia away, the glass paperweight is shattered on the ground and symbolise Winston’s shattered chances at recovering the past.
Red armed prole woman - Winston sees this woman as a symbol of freedom. Party members never sing, but hearing her song through the window of his rented room fills Winston – and soon, Julia – with hope for the future. What is this hope? That the proles will become cognizant of their plight and rebel against the Party. Winston and Julia also acknowledge the Prole woman as a symbol of reproductive virility, and thereby, hope for the future. They see her as "beautiful" because of her wideness, largeness, and toughness.
|Paradox or Oxymoron||"Freedom is Slavery," "War is Peace," "Ignorance is Strength”|
"Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past,"
|An oxymoron is use of contradictory terms to present a statement that generally contains an element of truth (Paradox also means a phrase that contradicts itself - these slogans could also be considered juxtaposition). The three mottos represent oxymorons as all contain what appear to be opposing terms, yet the meaning behind them is true for the world state. Keeping the country at constant war does lead to peace among the people of Oceania. Ignorance is Strength is also true in that an uneducated, easily manipulated populace is easy for the government to use for its own power.|
|Allusions||“Winston woke up with the word 'Shakespeare' on his lips”|
‘I think I exist,’ he said wearily. 'I am conscious of my own identity…’ (to O’Brien in the MoL)
“..the face of a man of about forty-five, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome features.”
|Literature Allusions - Orwell refers to Shakespeare, Chaucer and even, indirectly, Descartes (“‘I think I exist,’ he said wearily. 'I am conscious of my own identity…’” - indirect reference to Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am”). These allusions to infamous literary figures may be a message about the importance of language and literature in shaping society (think about how Newspeak aims to restrict language) and also the complexities of human predicaments.|
Historical Allusions - 1984 creates links to history through the use of allusion. The posters of Big Brother strikingly resemble Adolf Hitler (some think perhaps Joseph Stalin). The supposed leader of the underground movement is Goldstein. The obviously Jewish name of Emmanuel Goldstein and the name of a man responsible for the death of millions of Jewish heritage set up the conflict by relating it to a key turning point in the history of the world.
|Imagery & Figurative Language||Simile: “In the far distance a helicopter skimmed down between the roofs, hovered for an instant like a bluebottle, and darted away again with a curving flight.”||This simile, which compares the Thought Police to bluebottle jellyfish, describes how Oceanians are used to living in fear under a constant state of surveillance, and so they learn to self-regulate. |
|Foreshadowing||“The place where there is no darkness”|
“Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimeters in your skull” — “He loved Big Brother”
|This phrase first comes to Winston in a dream, when he imagines that this is where O’Brien wants to meet him. Heavy foreshadowing here, because he does indeed get here eventually – at the Ministry of Love, where the lights never go out. This symbolises Winston’s ultimate, doomed fate. It’s also more of Oceania’s ironic use of language. The place of NO darkness is metaphorically the darkest and gloomiest location.|
The idea of Thought Police is disturbing, and Winston believes that he can only truly be himself inside his mind. In fact, this quote foreshadows the mind control that takes place in the Ministry of Love and ultimately leads to Winston’s subjugation and loyalty to the Party.
|Flashbacks||“Uncalled, a memory floated into his mind. He saw a candle-lit room…His mother was sitting opposite him and also laughing.”||Appearing only in his dreams and memories, Winston’s mother represents better, pre-Party days when life was safe and not quite so oppressive. As the novel progresses, however, we also come to see that she represents Winston’s intense sense of guilt. If Winston didn’t actually kill his parents, then Winston’s mother is the epitome of a pleasant past coloured by the lies and manipulation of the Party. Winston also has flashbacks of the countryside when he visits the opening with Julia, representing a natural and peaceful part of his past.|
|Rhetoric||“The past was dead, the future was unimaginable. What certainty had he that a single human creature now living was on his side?”|
“For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable?”
|The first-person, limited omniscient narration invites the reader to follow Winston’s thoughts, as does his use of rhetorical questions. What he questions, we also consider philosophically, both in relation to our own context and the character’s situation.|
The continual reference to O’Brien’s method of mind control is demonstrated through ‘two plus two equals five’ - only when Winston truly believes this has the Party succeeded in controlling his mind. At first Winston questions it, yet even he can’t rebel against their totalitarian torture methods.
|Motif||Urban Decay: |
“bombed sites where plaster dust swirled in the air”
Visual Imagery: reoccurring motif of ‘eyes’,
|Motif: Urban Decay -proves a pervasive motif in 1984. The London that Winston Smith calls home is a dilapidated, rundown city in which buildings are crumbling, conveniences such as elevators never work, and necessities such as electricity and plumbing are extremely unreliable. Though Orwell never discusses the theme openly, it is clear that the shoddy disintegration of London, just like the widespread hunger and poverty of its inhabitants, is due to the Party’s mismanagement and incompetence.|
Big Brothers overseeing eyes, O’Brien’s gaze that Winston mistakes for a comrades, Winston goes to meet up with Julia and realises that he doesn’t even know her eye colour, the telescreens as ‘electronic eyes’