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Presentation of dreams in Nineteen Eighty Four

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Discuss the presentation of dreams in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. In the book Nineteen Eighty Four, Winston's dreams often appear to be very hazy and unclear, usually interlinked with his past experiences which he tries very hard to extricate from his memory. The significance of his dreams are in that they are telling of his fears, desires and hopes, that he subconsciously harbours despite being suppressed by the oppressive ruling party of Oceania. An expression of his innermost feelings, the underpinnings of Winston's dreams perhaps reveal more about himself as well as the world of Nineteen Eighty Four than the actuality of events that occur in the book. Through the use of subterranean metaphors, natural imagery, diction and the characteristic dreamlike atmospheres, Orwell presents his dreams as a plausible foreshadowing of events, unspoken regrets of the past and Winston's unwavering hope for the future. The settings and atmospheres in Winston's dreams are particularly crucial in revealing his emotions. Though description of atmosphere is subtle and often left to the reader to discern, it forms the basis of Winston's general sub conscious feelings. His dreams are normally set in the past in his childhood or in the "Golden Country" - a future that he hopes for, while others take place in the present time - and the people in his dreams are those whom he admires, or holds in high regard, thus reflecting his innermost thoughts and desires, or fears. ...read more.


the cold and emotionless world of Big Brother, which only his yearning for the past, expressed in the form of dreams because his desires cannot be fulfilled. Winston's longing for the past is not separate from his hopes for the future. He often dreams that the future will be different from the present state that he is in, as revealed through his dreams of the Golden Country. The very words "Golden Country" conjures images of a place that is glorious, resplendent and beautiful, as opposed to the world which Winston lives in that is filthy, full of "gritty dust" and smelt of "boiled cabbage and old rag mats" and repulsed his senses. The description of the Golden Country through use of natural diction like "rabbit bitten-pasture", "elm trees swaying faintly in the breeze" is typical of a peaceful and tranquil country, and shows how pure, calm and tranquil the Golden Country is, not altered by man, the government in particular. The words "ragged hedge" signify a lapse of tight order and control, which Winston is feeling thoroughly in the world of Big Brother, and represents freedom and the ability to be himself. In addition, Julia appears in this dream where the way she flung off her clothes struck him especially, because "with [the action of flinging off her clothes] grace and carelessness it seemed to annihilate a whole culture, a whole system of though, as though Big Brother and the Party and the Thought Police could all be swept into nothingness by a single splendid movement of the arm." ...read more.


This reveals that Winston relies a lot on his feelings and instincts, and the reader cannot help but feel a sense of inevitability and fatality of his dreams. In the dream of O'Brien, Winston did indeed meet him, however, it was not in the context that he had expected, and Winston's deep desire of not wanting to be alone is further accentuated because we realise that the supposed understanding that we thought they had shared never came to pass, therefore emphasizing that Winston's dreams are a manifestation how of his thoughts and desires. Similarly, the incident with Julia in the Golden Country did take place; however, in the end the government was not overthrown and eliminated as he hoped that they would be in his dream. Moreover, Winston's dreams of his past are presented in a manner that is often hazy and unclear. This is shown through the use of diction like "dim childhood" and "pitch-dark" and perhaps point to the unattainability of it, and the absolute power that the government has in controlling all things. All in all, Orwell presents dreams as a form of escapism for Winston. Because he was never able to exercise freedom of thought in waking hours, his dreams provided and outlet for him to sustain his thoughts and be completely free from reality, where he revels in comfort, familiarity and relief, and through his dreams, Winston is brought to a greater awareness of his thoughts and of the world of nineteen eighty four. ...read more.

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