1984 - Bleak Essay

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“The bleak setting of ‘1984’ reflects the bleak lives of the characters.” Discuss.

There is no doubt that the setting of ‘1984’ is bleak – it just simply cannot get any more miserable and dreary. The entire concept of ‘Big Brother’, the reeking smell of “boiled cabbage and old rag mats” and the totalitarianism of the Party, almost forces the whole of Oceania into bleakness. In fact, the only characters who seem to be unaffected are the proles and Julia. Julia’s youthful personality and apathetic attitude allows her to see the world differently compared to other characters that fall under victims of ‘Big Brother’. However, when Julia initiates her love affair with Winston, their relationship becomes a significant exception to the depression of the scenes around them. Constantly throughout the novel, there is a vigorous battle between the Party and the ones whom dare to rebel against living a colourless life.

As the main narration is based upon Winston’s thoughts of his surroundings, it is inevitable readers to disregard all the bleak concepts in his life. The opening chapter, Orwell’s immediately launches into descriptions of gloom, giving the readers the understanding of how horrible it is living under these revolutionists. Winston’s residential building, ‘Victory Mansions’, is shabby and decayed with “…electric currents…cut during the daylight hours…”; if these conditions are considered as ‘victorious’, there cannot be another more perfect reflection of bleakness than the life in Oceania . The deprivation of privacy described in ‘1984’ is also a significant factor. The peoples’ lives revolve literally around interrogating telescreens and posters of the “face…with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome feature”. With all these Party concepts dominating people’s lives, there is absolutely no chance to escape from the harsh bleakness.

For Julia, she is an exception for being affected by the motions and controls of the Party because of her...
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