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Some readers have felt that, even allowing for the bleakness of the times in which he lived, Orwell's vision in Nineteen Eighty Four is excessively grim and pessimistic. Explore various aspects of the novel from this perspective.4 star(s)
The Second World War had only recently finished and the situation was improving but still bleak. Readers would have recognised the world Orwell so vividly describes with constant desolation throughout this political novel in relation to real events and people. O'Brien describes the overall outlook of the future as one image; "A boot stamping on a human face-for ever". This image sets hard in the mind, as readers of the time would easily recognise this with recent events in the past and real characters such as the Hitler and his n**i Party. By the end of chapter one Orwell has described Winston Smith and his ascetic life.
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- Cannot even be sure of the date- supposedly 4 April 1984 - since so much information given by the state is false. - Winston's living room has slightly unusual design which enables him to move out of sight of the screen. - Placing himself in an alcove, he takes out a beautiful old book which he has bought in the store in a junk s hop and starts to write diary of his thoughts, an act which he knows is likely to lead to his execution - Thinking for oneself is forbidden ----> "thoughtcrime" - Writes firstly about an incident at a cinema the previous night when a lower-class woman ("prole")
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Control is maintained by using "telescreens" that allow the "Thought Police" to watch any person at any time. Those who are caught committing "Thought Crimes" are regularly vaporised. 1984 is the way that George Orwell saw the world developing. Many believe that it is in fact a parody of the Communist Totalitarian regime of Russia and Orwell's personal experiences of this. For example, the character of Big Brother described bears a resemblance to Joseph Stalin. "it depicted an enormous face, more than a metre wide: the face of a man of about 45, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome features" (Page 3) Stalin was a leader who used his own image to create an iconic status.
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Both characters are well delineated and serve the purposes that their authors intended; not simply to be successful protagonists, rescuing their societies from the abyss of evolving hatred but rather more as simple microcosms of ordinary citizens, suddenly plunged into a new realm of extremist politics, that have stemmed from 20th century government roots. As 1984 details Winston Smith in the third person compared to Offred's first person narrative, it makes it easier to gain a broader perspective of Oceana's environment yet - not necessarily works - to form a greater intimacy and empathy with Offred.
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Comparing Texts: 'Nineteen Eighty Four' & 'The Handmaid's Tale' How do Orwell and Atwood portray the tensions that exist between the individual and the demands of a totalitarian state?
Orwell really brings out the rawness of Winston's heroic experiences. He can still be regarded as heroic as he is in a way fighting to live in this society. But there seems to be no uniqueness to him in this quote. In fact, the first impression that it gives to the reader is not one which you would expect from the description of a heroic character, there's no literal acceptance to the fact that Winston is the hero. When considering Offred, although she does not have many physical flaws, there are still noticeable defects, such as her constant fear, and her reliance on others for a successful rebellion; '...hope is rising in me, like a sap in a tree.
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Even something as confidential and intimate as s*x has become a tainted and polluted thing; we are allowed an insight of this through the limited and sometimes hazy memories of Winston about his estranged wife, Katherine. s*x between the two is uncomfortable and awkward, 'To embrace her was like embracing a jointed wooden image...She would lie with her eyes shut, neither resisting nor co-operating, but submitting.' This is a symbolic reminder of what s*x has been moulded to represent in Oceania, and the s****l relationship or lack of, is something that exasperates Winston greatly.
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The Assault by Harry Mulisch, The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, and 1984 by George Orwell - discuss how the protagonists are controlled by outside influences that force them to confront their pasts and memories.
Anton does create a bond in his younger years with one character, Truus, who he knows nothing about. However, she left such an impression on him that he is drawn to his first wife for the simple fact that he pictures Truus looking like Saskia. Nothing much is said about Saskia besides the fact that she is "the embodiment of an image he must have been carrying about in his head, without knowing it, since he was Wilmer, 2 twelve," (130). However, this likeness to Truus is not something that can hold the couple together and their marriage soon ends.
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This allows us to compare their differences, portraying how well they fit into their society. In 'Nineteen Eighty Four' the novel begins with a description of Winston's surroundings. 'The smell of boiled cabbage and old rag mats......' '......a swirl of gritty dust....' Immediately we are given a negative view of this setting which will stay in the reader's minds throughout the whole novel. We follow Winston into his flat except we are not given a description of how it's set out. Instead the main focus is of a large telescreen; dominate in the opening and in Winston's room reflecting Big Brother's domination of Winston's life.
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However, as Winston well knew; it was only four years since Oceania had been at war with Eastasia and in alliance with Eurasia. But that was a piece of furtive knowledge which he happened to posses because his memory was not satisfactorily under control. It was also not true, for example, as was claimed by the Party that they themselves had invented aeroplanes. He remembered aeroplane's since his earliest childhood. But you could prove anything since there was never any evidence.
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Compare and contrast the presentation of what you consider to be the author's themes in '1984' and 'Brave New World'.
It is interesting that the two authors chose to portray the female leading characters in this way. Both are only interested in s*x, so much that they will rebel against the norms of society to get it, Julia against the party and Lenina against the World State (she finds herself increasingly drawn to the strange ways of John at the end of Brave New World). Perhaps this is a misogynistic stereotype, that the two author's hated women themselves, or perhaps the flaws in the women's' character's are there to be used as a plot device. Orwell and Huxley needed a leading character that was taken in by the propaganda of the party and the hypnopaedia of the World State to show how radical the principal protagonist's (Winston and Bernard)
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It allows the reader to reflect and appreciate the world we have at present. The novels dismal tones make the reader realise that maybe their lives aren't so bad when in comparison to character involved in these dystpoipian nightmares. Another more positive side to the dystopian genre is that there is generally an important message behind the darkness whether it is political religious etc Both authors have a similar messages within their books, and these message aer mainly religeous and political ones.
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A key feature of a dystopian literature, such as "1984" and "Hunger Games" is that the protagonist rebels, often unsuccessfully against the regime.
The similarity between Stalin rule in the Soviet Union and 1984 could be because Orwell experienced first-hand a totalitarianism control when fighting in the Spanish Civil War on the side of the left-wing communist government which was embattled by General Francisco Franco, in other terms 1984 could be written as a warning to humanity. In Panem there is inequality between the rich and poor, most of the poverty is isolated to the last of the Districts where earning a very small living is life.
- Word count: 2457