Sex and Gender in 1984

Better Essays
The novel 1984, written by George Orwell, portrays views on sex and gender in an authoritative government. Oceanic government aims to maintain their power by asserting their dominance over society. This is done through outlawing sex, with the exception of reproduction of more Party members. Two characters, Winston and Julia, have sex for pleasure and also as a form of rebellion against Big Brother. The government takes them both as punishment for their sex crimes. During imprisonment, the relationship between Winston and O’Brien develops. Along with sex, gender is relevant throughout the novel. The party’s attempt at making gender a non-issue is valiant but it makes gender roles more evident in other aspects of the book. While depicting the future in 1984, George Orwell carefully analyzes sex and gender in Oceanic society through government manipulation, character rebellion, and natural human instinct. The Party redirects society’s desire for sex to obsessive dedication to Big Brother. Two Minutes Hate, marches, constant propaganda and public executions pave a manipulative path for the government. In 1984, sex is not a pleasurable act but merely a means to reproduce more party members. Chastity and pent up desire also serve a purpose in that, “the Party attempts to sustain in its members a state that permanently anticipates pleasure and then channels that energy for its own purposes"(Trihol). In this society, passion is converted into love for Big Brother. Constant supervision and sex crimes help to maintain sexual activity as a political act. The natural human instinct is influenced by the government, for the government. Because sex produces private allegiances, the Party must regulate these public norms and use them as fuel for... ... middle of paper ... ...inston. Women as supposed to be equal in the Party but it is frequently seen that they are subservient to men. George Orwell shows that sex is a means to an end in one way or another. Works Cited Horan, Thomas. "Revolutions from the Waist Downwards: Desire as Rebellion in Yevgeny Zamyatin's We, George Orwell's 1984, and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World." Gale Cengage Learning. Literature Resource Center, 2007. Web. 11 Apr. 2014. Orwell, George. 1984. Ed. Erich Fromm. New York: Harcourt, 1949. Patai, Daphne. "Gamesmanship and Androcentrism in Nineteen-Eighty Four." Modern Critical Interpretations: George Orwell's 1984. New York: Chelsea House, 1987. 47-86. JSTOR. Web. 12 Apr. 2014. Tirohl, Blu. "We Are The Dead ... You Are The Dead: An Examination of Sexuality as a Weapon of Revolt in Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four." Journal of Gender Studies. 9.1 (2000): 55-61.
Get Access