Symbolism in 1984 by George Orwell

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Symbolism in 1984 by George Orwell Symbols are everywhere. Whether it’s the cross of Christianity, or the swastika of the Third Reich, symbols can convey messages of love, or hate, without ever having to say a word. While George Orwell in his masterpiece 1984 does, of course, use words to convey his themes, he also uses symbols. In the novel 1984, symbols are used as a way for Orwell to reinforce his three major themes. One such example of this is the symbol of Julia’s scarlet Anti-Sex League sash. The league itself is vehemently opposed to any type of sexual act or expression, but the sash they use to represent themselves is worn in a very sexual manner, as described in the novel itself. “A narrow satin sash, emblem of the Junior Anti-Sex League, was wound several times round the waist of her overalls, just tightly enough to bring out the shapeliness of her hips” (Orwell 11-12). It draws attention to two very highly sexualized parts of the body, the breasts and the hips. This could be a reinforcement of the theme of “sexual freedom vs. political freedom.” The members of this league have, like all Party members, absolutely no political freedom, and as a consequence, also have no sexual freedom. The government, for whatever reasons, has decided to eliminate sex (or to at least make it an unenjoyable act). They feel that by denying their subjects this base human need, that they will be better able to control them as well. Fortunately though, they ultimately fail in this endeavor. People like Julia who are willing to accept a loss of their political freedom are not so willing to give up their sexual freedom as well. As Winston says, Julia “is only a rebel from the waist downwards” (Orwell 163). Even though Julia hersel... ... middle of paper ... ...ve songs, with no Party doctrine or messages in them. So why would the Party even go through the hassle of creating them? The answer, of course, has to do with power. The Inner Party members want all the power they can get, and this is just another way for them to achieve that goal. It is a reinforcement of the theme of “the exercise of power for its own sake.” They feel that by creating these songs they will be able to hold just a little more power over the proles than they had before. In conclusion, both symbols and the three major themes played a major role on George Orwell’s novel 1984. It was through the use of the above mentioned symbols, as well as others, that Orwell managed to make his message clear to all his readers, and to create such a intense and haunting novel. Bibliography: Orwell, George. 1984. New York: Penguin Books, 1990
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