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Explore Orwell's deployment of irony in Nineteen Eighty-Four

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Karaivanova, Katerina 11/5 November 20, 2004 Explore Orwell's deployment of irony in Nineteen Eighty-Four The society presented in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four is one that appears perfect at first sight, but when examined closely is far from being that. People are manipulated by their leaders; they are being watched all the time and controlled by all possible means. George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four is based on irony and there are many examples that help depict the people's life and the conditions they live in the way the author wants them to be. There are five main areas in which irony is used: the slogans, the importance of the family, the places where important action takes place, the language that is used, and the small details. The slogans that the party uses to manipulate the people's way of thinking are an example of irony. More specifically these are the words that one can see almost everywhere in Airstrip One: "WAR IS PEACE // FREEDOM IS SLAVERY // IGNORANCE IS STRENGHT" (Orwell 18). What is ironical about it is that each line describes a pair of opposites. ...read more.


(ChuckMill47) The purpose of words is clearly described by Winston: "Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date." (Orwell 42) The language normally serves as a way for a person to put into words, and make the subject discussed clearer so it is easy to understand. In the novel, Orwell shows the reader that it is used for a purpose far less noble. The party uses vocabulary to change everything that is written in a way suitable for the government. It is also said that "Books, also, were recalled and re-written again and again, and were invariably re-issued without any admission that any alteration had been made." (43) This is a proof of the irony in the use of language. In the land of Oceania it serves as just another way to manipulate people. Everything is changed as many times as needed so that the party is considered free of errors and people do not have any reason to doubt the truthfulness of the government's ideas. In terms of setting George Orwell is being as ironical, as with every other aspect of the novel. ...read more.


The description of the ministries, for example, is one of those details that seem not important but are very ironical.(ChuckMill47) The purpose of the government sections are: "The Ministry of Truth, which concerned itself with news, entertainment, education and the fine arts. The Ministry of Peace, which concerned itself with war. The Ministry of Love, which maintained law and order. And the Ministry of Plenty, which was responsible for economic affairs." (Orwell 6) What is ironical about it is that each ministry is dealing with issues opposite to what its name is - peace concerns itself with war, love - with order, plenty - with putting shortage on goods, and truth - with changing the past, thus lying. This is an example of irony that shows that even the smallest detail, as the names of the ministries are being presented ironically. In the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell irony is used all the time. It is the basic technique that the author uses to make this book so powerful. He uses irony to describe almost everything in the book, thus showing to the reader the nonsense of this type of government and society. ...read more.

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