The History of Sexuality: George Orwell Essay

The History of Sexuality: George Orwell Essay

Length: 1041 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In his novel 1984, George Orwell presents a dystopian society in which sex and sexuality are fundamentally repressed by the government of Oceania. According to the Repressive Hypothesis, discourse and debate surrounding sexuality in 1984 should be restricted and concealed. This viewpoint is flawed, however, because sex permeates the culture in Oceania. Though the word “sex” is only whispered, evidence of its continued utilization appears everywhere. Sex lingers in the culture through the vocabulary and speech of everyday life, through Winston Smith’s descriptions of his sexual conquests, through Julia and her ostensible sexuality, and through the need for sexual confession within the novel. 1984 promulgates a bleak outlook towards the future of sexual discourse, but the novel still transmits its message despite the censorship inherent in the novel. Within the pages of 1984, censorship of sex leads to the proliferation of sex, as per Foucault’s theory.
Oceania society is defined by its lack of sexual pleasure and for its excessive censorship and fumigation of sexual discourses. According to Irving Howe, discussions of sexuality and enjoyment of sex have been effectively “obliterated” by the beginning of the novel (Howe). Despite this extinction of sexuality, sexual verbiage is clearly visible within the society. All official discourses on sex in Oceania are created by the government as it exhibits its power, but vestiges of sexuality exist within this governmental system. For instance, the terms “sexcrime” and “goodsex” are created in the lexicon and find practical use in everyday conversation by the protagonists and villains alike (Orwell 305). For a culture aiming to repress and destroy sexuality, they utilize the wor...

... middle of paper ...

... It is not, however, the only way in which sexuality can be understood in this context. Despite the despotism of free thought and action, sexuality remains ever-present within the dialogues and discourses created by not only the characters, but the government of Oceania as well. Sexual terminology remains in existence, characters engage in and discuss sex, and the confession of sexual misdeeds is actively encouraged within the society of Oceania. Despite rampant suppression and subjugation, characters in the novel are keenly compelled to create discourses on sexuality.

Works Cited
Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality: An Introduction. Vol. 1. New York: Vintage, 1978. Print.
Howe, Irving. "George Orwell's "1984"" Workers' Liberty. Workers' Liberty, 5 Aug. 2013. Web. 09 Feb. 2014.
Orwell, George. 1984: A Novel. New York: Signet Classics, 2008. Print.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell Essay example

- George Orwell has created two main characters that have conflicting traits believe in the idea of love in a world where it is forbidden. Although both are secret rebels of the Party and share the same hatred for the Party’s totalitarian power, Julia and Winston display a remarkable number of differences between each other. The differences between them include their morality, their motivation towards the rebellion, and their personalities. Julia represents elements of humanity that Winston does not: survival, instincts, pure sexuality and cunning (1984 By George Orwell Character Analysis Julia)....   [tags: story and character analysis]

Strong Essays
822 words (2.3 pages)

1984: A Prophesy for the Future? Essay

- ... Some victims were accused of deviating from the party line, others were victims for no apparent reason. No one was safe. Public trials were held and people were tested for loyalty. Hitler was considered at the time to be evil. He felt the German people were a superior race and should be the masters of the world. He wanted to grow a master race through sterilization and selective breeding. He used terror to gain his power but made it look like it was legal. George Orwell’s purpose for writing the book 1984 was to show the world the dangers that could come if a totalitarian government was to take over, but at the same time he tried to make it an enjoyable book for many audiences....   [tags: George Orwell novels, totalitarian novels]

Strong Essays
1052 words (3 pages)

George Orwell 's ' 1984 ' Essay

- ... The only evidence is inside my own mind, and I don 't know with any certainty that any other human being shares my memories”(Orwell 267). Winston can not stand to live in a government that treates him with no respect and freedom. Winston is so upset that he tries to tear down the government by taking actions in which the government banes their citizens to do. He also takes these actions not just to rebel against the government but because his mind is curious and he wants to. One thing he does is have a sexual relationship with a young woman named Julia....   [tags: Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell]

Strong Essays
1029 words (2.9 pages)

Orwell 's 1984 By George Orwell Essay

- ... The citizens had no outside sources of information. They had to accept whatever the Party told them as truth. If the truth told by the party was contradictory to another truth they had been told, they would continue to see both statements as truth through a thought process called ‘doublethink.’ As long as there was no trace of the actual truth, then the Party could continue to manipulate the people into believing what they want them to believe. When a government holds all power and, in turn, is able to control all knowledge, that knowledge becomes extremely valuable....   [tags: Nineteen Eighty-Four, Government, George Orwell]

Strong Essays
976 words (2.8 pages)

Animal Farm by George Orwell Essay

- Animal Farm Book Review Summary Animal Farm is a novel by George Orwell. It is an allegory in which animals play the roles of Russian revolutionists, and overthrow the human owners of the farm. Once the farm has been taken over by the animals, they are all equal at first, but class and status soon separates the different animal species. This story describes how a society’s ideologies can be manipulated by those in political power, to cause corruption by those in leadership. Plot The story begins with old major, a boar, who tells the animals of manor farm, his dream of freedom and life without humans....   [tags: George Orwell]

Strong Essays
906 words (2.6 pages)

Essay about 1984 By George Orwell

- 1984 by George Orwell Summary: The book is set in a fictive future in the year 1984. The world is split into three totalitarian super-states: Oceania (North and South-America, Britain and Ireland, Australia and South-Africa), Eurasia (Europe and Russia) and Eastasia (China).These three super-states are constantly at war with each other, regularly forming different alliances....   [tags: 1984 George Orwell]

Strong Essays
1340 words (3.8 pages)

Essay on Analysis of George Orwell's 1984

- Analysis of George Orwell's 1984 War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Ignorance Is Strength. The party slogan of Ingsoc illustrates the sense of contradiction which characterizes the novel 1984. That the book was taken by many as a condemnation of socialism would have troubled Orwell greatly, had he lived to see the aftermath of his work. 1984 was a warning against totalitarianism and state sponsored brutality driven by excess technology. Socialist idealism in 1984 had turned to a total loss of individual freedom in exchange for false security and obedience to a totalitarian government, a dysutopia....   [tags: George Orwell 1984 Totalitarianism Essays]

Strong Essays
4217 words (12 pages)

Animal Farm by George Orwell Essays

- Animal Farm by George Orwell The story of Animal Farm takes place in a farmhouse, somewhere in England. The farm animals are property of the "cruel" and "evil" farmer Mr. Jones. Old Major, a wise pig, and one of the oldest animals on the farm, calls for a secret meeting to take place later at night. At the meeting, Old Major tells the animals about a dream he recently had. In his dream, he sees a revolution taking place against Mr. Jones, and the freedom of all animals. Old Major points out to the animals that the cause of their miserable existences is the tyranny of man, who is a lazy, useless creature who steals the fruits of the animals for his own advantage....   [tags: George Orwell]

Strong Essays
1890 words (5.4 pages)

George Orwell's Animal Farm Essay

- George Orwell's Animal Farm George Orwell has used many techniques of writing such as irony and humour to portray significant events throughout Animal Farm. This extract, just after the slaughter of the 'disloyal' animals (one of the most emotive of the events in the book), is no exception and so I will be analysing and interpreting the response of readers as well as making links to other parts in the book. 'Loud singing' could be heard from the farmhouse, this is just after the pigs have come across a 'case of whiskey'....   [tags: George Orwell Animal Farm Essays]

Free Essays
976 words (2.8 pages)

Essay about George Orwell's 1984

- The Book 1984 was written by George Orwell shortly after W.W.II. I think this book really shows us what would happen if the government gets too powerful. It was written long ago and set in the future, but I feel like the message is still very relevant today. This story takes place in an imaginary country called Oceania; it is one of the three large super states in the world of 1984. Oceania is a society similar to Hitler's Germany; with absolute power in the government and absolutely no individualism....   [tags: George Orwell 1984]

Strong Essays
1039 words (3 pages)