Top-Rated Free Essay

1984 literary theories

Good Essays
Topics:
George Orwell’s 1984 was an incredible book that displayed a multitude of literary theories that would require looking at the novel from different perspectives. The novel contains subtext that is influenced by the author’s personal experience, and the time in which he resided. Winston Smith represents Archetypal literary theory Orwell was raised in England, even thought he was born in India, so smith was a common name, thus implying that Winston Smith was just a common man. The common man has always been part of history, without them to control, and use, then a government would just be a name with no power, so they shall continue to be part of the present and future. There are layers of literary theories that lie within 1984, but one of particular interest is the historical aspect. To understand the historical aspect of 1984, one must research the time and place the book was written and the life the author has experienced. George Orwell’s real name was Eric Arthur Blair, during his time he was influenced by witnessing totalitarianism. Many aspects of Oceania’s society were based on the Stalin-era Soviet Union. For example, the “Two Minute Hate” was based on Stalinism’s condemnation of their enemies. Stalin’s condemnation of his enemies would range from propaganda to parades’. Orwell did not invent the idea behind the term "two minutes hate"; it was already in use in during World War I. British writers’ would often satire the German campaign of hatred against the English, by illustrations, a Prussian family sitting around the kitchen table having its "morning hate". Comparatively, during the “Two Minute Hate,” the Party would denounce Emmanuel Goldstein, the figurehead of capitalism and the Party's number one enemy, and workers would scream and throw things at the screen, praising Big Brother and Oceania. Orwell also embedded a small amount of his own personality and personal experiences of various societies in the way Smith views things and moments that happen around him. Winston’s hatred for working for the party is completely implied to be based on Orwell’s experience working as a British Imperial Policeman in Burma. He hated working in Burma, since they required him to enforce the strict the laws of the political authority that he despised, so he infused fragments of that experience into Winston Smith; thus, Winston Smith’s doubts about working in the Ministry of Truth. Orwell was possibly attempting to model Winston Smith after himself like many authors tend to do so, by turning Winston Smith into his avatar and implanting his own feelings and views into Winston Smith. Orwell’s world experiences are hidden throughout the book to an average reader unless they truly dive into the content that’s submerged below the surface. For example, Alice in Wonderland, it may seem like a cute children’s story since they can’t relate to the dark meaning behind the words, but to an experienced professional reviewer it can be looked at closely and compared to parts of the real world, Alice isn’t in a magical land that can be entered through a rabbit hole, she’s hopped up on drugs and is having excessive hallucinations. The Proles are modeled from his time purposely living among the poor of London. After traveling to Spain in 1936, he witnessed with a front row seat the atrocities that were committed by fascist political regimes, and after witnessing Hitler’s rise to power as a dictator and Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union only fueled Orwell’s detest for totalitarianism and political authority.
The Thought Police used methods that were used by totalitarian states to control people and remove any that would dare oppose the party. A way to avoid the Thought Police was to use crimestop, so a person avoids committing a thoughtcrime. It’s basically protective stupidity, accepting whatever the party says as the truth and ignoring any thoughts that would say otherwise, even thought they would probably be right.
It could be debated that Orwell wrote 1984 as a warning, that the dangers of a complete politically ruled society in an advanced age of technology would create a dystopian lifestyle for the people of that society. 1984 was written in 1949, before the Cold War truly escalated, the views of the communist and democratic countries were ambiguous to the people that have never experienced the other for themselves, so they couldn’t truly understand if their society was the best way to live. However, Orwell experienced communism for himself, and was simply revolted by the oppressions he’s witness, and how technology might be able to monitor and control the citizens making their lives even more constraining than before, thus he made the telescreens.
1984 could be said to be a book that is the manifestation of all of George Orwell’s fears of a totalitarian/communist society, and how it’s such a possible reality that it could be seen around the corner, it’s this type of world that Orwell doesn’t wish to live in. Winston Smith’s life is an example of how it’s impracticable, for a single average man alone to oppose the brutal might of a government. 1984 couldn’t have just been a warning, but inspiration for citizens to revolt against the government if 1984 seems like of becomes a reality for them. A government is powerless without its people, and if the people unite, then overthrowing the government is no an unobtainable dream, but a possible reality. Not everything can be done alone; sometimes a person just needs a little help.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Satisfactory Essays

    1984 Literary Guide

    • 1294 Words
    • 6 Pages

    1984 Literary Guide Section One (pages 1-104) Chapter I 1. What is the effect of the juxtaposition at the beginning of this section? 2. How is paradox involved with the descriptions of the government ministries? 3. How is paradox found in the description of Victory Gin? 4. What is ironic about the statement that “nothing was illegal since there were no longer any laws”? 5. Look at the syntax in Winston’s journal entry for April 4, 1984. What is the effect? 6. Describe how the Junior Anti-Sex…

    • 1294 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Better Essays

    1984 Literary Analysis

    • 1374 Words
    • 6 Pages

    The Nature of Control Is it the common human nature to feel power over others? A totalitarian government seeks to utilize its message of confinement and authority to control the many aspects of life. In the novel 1984, Orwell portrays totalitarianism through psychological manipulation, physical control and the control of language. The totalitarian party manipulates and invalidates the minds of the outer party and proles. Orwell describes the surroundings of Winston, showing totalitarianism, writing:…

    • 1374 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Literary theories

    • 941 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Solidad Reyes’ view on Literary History, Literary Theory and Literary Criticism In an attempt to solve different problems and issues in Literary Studies such as the effects of major trends to modern Philippine Literature, role of the audience and critics in studying text, three areas of literary study was explained, literary history, literary theory and literary criticism and their integration to Philippine Literature. Each area was explained based on their individual roles or impacts in the study…

    • 941 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Literary Theory

    • 1126 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Africa Emergent by Nadine Gordimer A better understanding of literary theory can be gained by investigating the etymology of the word theory itself. Literary theory, then, offers to us a view of life, an understanding of why we interpret texts the way we do. A well-articulated literary theory also assumes that an innocent reading of a text or a sheerly emotional or spontaneous reaction to a work does not exist because literary theory questions the assumptions, beliefs, and feelings of readers, asking…

    • 1126 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    literary theory

    • 36621 Words
    • 147 Pages

    BASICS OF ITEM RESPONSE THEORY THE FRANK B. BAKER BASICS OF ITEM RESPONSE THEORY THE FRANK B. BAKER University of Wisconsin Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation The Basics of Item Response Theory by Frank B. Baker Second edition Published by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation Copyright © 2001 ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation All rights reserved. Editors: Carol Boston, Lawrence Rudner Design: Laura Chapman Cover: Laura Chapman…

    • 36621 Words
    • 147 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    1984 Literary Criticism Paper An archetype is a reoccurring pattern of images, symbols, or a situation. The hero archetype is one who tries to fulfill a necessary task and tries to restore justice to a society. The hero will commonly go through the hero’s journey in search for truth and information on restoring justice to a society. All archetypal heroes share certain characteristics. In 1984, by George Orwell, Winston follows the hero’s cycle because there is nothing told of his childhood, he…

    • 751 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Literary Analysis Paper Outline 1. Which question will you be addressing? Write it here: “Some novels and plays seem to advocate changes in social or political attitudes or in traditions. Which particular attitudes or traditions does Orwell wish to modify? Analyze the techniques the author uses to influence the reader’s or audience’s views. Avoid plot summaries.” 2. Write the question in your own words. This is a chance for you to “unpack” your essay question. Is there a particular…

    • 982 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Better Essays

    Formalist Literary Theory

    • 2251 Words
    • 10 Pages

    Formalism is a literary theory that was spearheaded by two main bodies – Russian Formalists and New Critics – which focused on understanding the literary text through the text itself. Its principles posed a great shift from the traditional approaches during its time, and so it sparked a movement in the field of literary studies that would adopt new perspectives and ideas. While Formalism received much criticism due to its dubious methods of the closed reading of a text, its lack of a solid theory of language…

    • 2251 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Introduction to literary theory Theory Kind of speculation, it’s analytical Interdisciplinary discourse (debate) with effects outside an original discipline (Culler) Critique of common sense, of concept taken as natural What is literature? Elusive term (always changing) Modern sense – 200 yrs old Prior to 1800 literature was „memorized“ not interpreted In fiction the relation of what speaker say to what authors think is always a mater of interpretation Dictionary: imaginative or creative…

    • 337 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Marxist Literary Criticism: What do Marxist literary critics do with texts? They explore ways in which the text reveals ideological oppression of a dominant economic class over subordinate classes. In order to do this a Marxist might ask the following questions: Does the text reflect or resist a dominant ideology? Does it do both? Does the main character in a narrative affirm or resist bourgeosie values? Whose story gets told in the text? Are lower economic groups ignored or devalued? Are values…

    • 637 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays