Essay on Orwell, Modjeska and Gardin

Essay on Orwell, Modjeska and Gardin

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The Orchard and Nineteen Eighty-Four both describe cultures that "encourage us to see ourselves as others see us." Consider the political implications of seeing and being seen in Nineteen Eighty-Four and The Orchard, focussing on one passage or scene from each book, and one relevant image or written text you collect from the print media.

The Orchard by Drusilla Modjeska, Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell and Gianni Berengo Gardin's The Gypsy Camp, Trento (Italy) 1985 all detail the control of minorities, and disempowered factions through the expectations of cultures that `encourage us to see ourselves as others see us'. In each case control allows the particular sect to be defined and separated from the rest of society as the other, thereby ensuring that they are inadequately represented in the governing body. Furthermore a theoretical argument emerges from the three texts: if our understanding of self is defined by our culture and how we are viewed, then how can we discern whose reaction to, involvement in or view of politics we are expressing.

In Part 3 of the Sight of Solitude Chapter in The Orchard, Modjeska establishes the cultural encouragement for women to see themselves through the eyes of others as near timeless by focusing on judgements of female art, literature and individuals through the past five-hundred years thus establishing a precedent for the narrator's `double dance' . A second effect of the author's inclusion of the historical framework is how the reader is positioned to view women as an oppressed minority, as they were through the times of the Artemisia Gentileschi and Virginia Woolf . The aforementioned `double dance' between the public and private self, is particularly interesting in its word choi...


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...h varied techniques, although each for the same ultimate aim: political control. While Modjeska and Berengo Gardin both base their work in a world not dissimilar from that of today and highlight social expectations and economic realities as controlling agents, Orwell depicts a would-be future culture which forces integration with literal force and never came to pass. Therefore the political implications of Orwell's work are confined to a cautionary platform, where as Modjeska and Berengo Gardin offer insight into the political implications of being a dominated faction in modern day Western and European cultures.

Works Cited

The Photography Book, Ian Jeffrey, Phaidon Press Ltd, 1997

The Orchard, Drusilla Modjeska, Pan McMillan Publishers Australia, 1994.

Nineteen Eight-Four, George Orwell, Penguin Books Ltd, 1949 (original publication), reprinted 2000.

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