Symbolism in George Orwell’s 1984
George Orwell truly demonstrates his literacy prowess and his mastery of rhetoric in his dystopian novel 1984 through his use of symbolism. There are numerous symbols present throughout the story which serve to expand the narrative. Some of the most effective implementations of symbolism in the novel directly relate to the story’s protagonist, Winston Smith. Orwell uses Winton’s varicose ulcer, the glass paperweight, songs and the rats as representations for Winton’s needs, wants, hopes and fears.
Winston Smith lives in a world where individual thoughts and sexual instincts are forbidden. The varicose ulcer appears to symbolize Winston’s need to express his individualism as well as his need to fulfill his sexual desires. Both of these actions relate to Winston’s impulses and therefore it can be said that the varicose ulcer ultimately represents Winston’s needs. This symbol is introduced to us on the very first page of the book, moments prior to Winston’s first decisive act of rebellion: the creation of a diary. After dating the first page however, Winston is struck with a sense of helplessness as he finds himself unable to express himself. At this moment, the varicose ulcer begins to itch unbearably and Winston is overcome by the impulse to express himself and starts scribbling in the diary. This is but one example of a scenario from the book where Winston’s varicose ulcer had begun to trouble him prior to him committing an irrational or impulsive act against the Party. Other examples include: Winston’s second diary entry and his trip to the proletariat bar and Mr. Charrington’s shop. In all of these cases Winston was overcome by the need to act against the Party, whether it was directly or indirectly. The varicose ulcer also relates directly to Winston’s suppressed sexual desires and his need to fulfill them. After he started seeing Julia regularly his wound improved, yet became engorged once they were separated. During his...
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