Symbolism In George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four

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Nineteen Eighty-Four, written by George Orwell (published in 1949) is one of the most influential dystopian novels in today’s society. Written as a warning to future generations, Orwell expresses his disgust towards the idea of a totalitarian government and society. Set in Airstrip One (formerly London), Oceania, society is controlled by the government, known as the Party and through their figurehead, Big Brother. The protagonist, Winston Smith, works for the Outer Party and battles internal struggles with thoughts of rebellion and his own individuality. Orwell has used a range of writing techniques including characterisation, symbolism and conflict to demonstrate his negative attitude towards a totalitarian regime. Winston…show more content…
The coral glass paperweight is one of the most important symbols in the book; it represents the past and hope for Winston. Bought from Charrington’s antique shop, Winston feels a connection to the paperweight, ‘At the heart of it, magnified by the curved surface, there was a strange, pink, convoluted object that recalled a rose or a sea anemone’. Winston understands the principle of how the Party manipulates people’s memories of the truth. In his own struggle to reconnect with the past, he identifies that the coral was once a piece of the past; long forgotten. When Winston is captured by the Thought Police the paperweight is shattered, symbolising Winston’s ominous future. The Party uses telescreens to monitor and observe the population of Oceania, ‘the telescreens received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it… there was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment’. The telescreens symbolise the control that the Party has over society, and how individuals can never let their guard down when in the presence of telescreens. Orwell uses the telescreens as a tool of anxiety for Winston and others, as it is a constant reminder of how powerful a totalitarian regime is and the strength that they have, ‘you had to live – did live, from habit that became instinct – in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinised’. Symbolism allows the author to convey their ideas into an object, person or place to give that entity a deeper purpose and

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