Essay on George Orwell 's Nineteen Eighty Four

Essay on George Orwell 's Nineteen Eighty Four

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George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four has been extolled by Western critics for its incisive political commentary on the social and cultural ramifications of a totalitarian government. After witnessing the alarming extent to which totalitarian governments in Russia and Spain would exercise their power over the proletariat, Orwell wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four in 1949 to alert Western nations on how to approach the imminent rise of communism. The text is generally received as a “negative dystopian” novel that focuses on depicting the degeneration of humanity through the ubiquitous influence of technology, propaganda and political discourse. As Orwell rightfully avowed in his essay, Why I Write, “every line of serious work that I have written has been written directly or indirectly against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism” (Orwell, 1946). His political ideology is heavily instilled in the novel, as it is centered on protagonist Winston Smith’s resistance against the Party’s stringent values of ignorance, hatred and blind obedience. Critic W.F Bolton describes 1984 as a “satire of the contemporary social and political scene” (Bolton, 2013). The foundation of this paper is contingent upon the key assumption that semantic uncertainty exists because language structures perception. Through the semantics of political discourse, Orwell has manipulated the existing language system to create political hegemony. Therefore, Orwell’s world is perceived through a political lens, as opposed to a romantic or gothic one. This close reading will allow for a discriminating investigation into how the application of New Historicism and Structuralism sheds light on the power of political discourse to structure the perception of the world. ...


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... than a means of describing reality” (Saussure, 1960). As the slogan validates, the people of Oceania are extremely susceptible to accepting any contradictory ‘truths’ that the Party constructs. Ultimately, Structuralism adds meaning to Orwell’s message about the pernicious amount of control the Party has over the system of language. The fact that the Party is able to subvert the binary of war/peace and convince its subjects that war is peace, completely eradicates the possibility of any word possessing a ‘stable meaning’. The significance of this slogan lies in the fact that the Party uses words as a tool to weaken the strength and freedom of its subjects’ minds. By instilling a dull sense of hopelessness and fatigue into its citizens, the Party is able to force its subjects to readily accept anything it decrees, even if it is completely contradictory and illogical.

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