A Marxist Analysis of Nineteen Eighty-Four
When reading George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four from a Marxist perspective, one can see various classic Marxist themes in the narrative. It describes a society called Oceania which lacks equality among its citizens, who are oppressed by their dictator leader known as Big Brother and are stuck in very defined social classes. The main character, Winston shows potential for resistance against this injustice, yet he never manages to spark a revolution.
When interpreting Nineteen Eighty-Four with Marxist theory, one can immediately recognize the existence of a class structure in the society of Oceania. Oceania is a totalitarian state, which is under the dictatorship of a ruler known as Big Brother. Big Brother is assisted by a very exclusive group of individuals known as the Inner Party; this personality cult makes up only about two percent of the country's population. Members of the Inner Party are quite separated from members of inferior social classes, and are also much more wealthy than those of lower classes. When he visits an Inner Party member named O'Brien, Winston is overwhelmed by the lavish lifestyle he lives. O'Brien lives in a spacious flat, tended by servants, which smells of good food and good tobacco, rather than the unpalatable victory coffee' and victory cigarettes' Winston is accustomed to. The middle class citizens of Oceania are known as Outer Party members. Although not as exclusive as the Inner Party, the Outer Party makes up only about thirteen percent of Oceania's population. Outer Party members do the majority of work in the Party, and are to never question the tasks assigned to them. The lowest social class in Oceania, making up about eighty-five percent of the population, is known as the Proles. They have even fewer rights. According to the Party, Proles are not human beings, and pose no threat to the government, despite their vast quantities.
Marxism believes that in any...
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