1984: the Paperweight

Topics: Nineteen Eighty-Four, Totalitarianism, George Orwell Pages: 2 (713 words) Published: August 23, 2013
In George Orwell’s 1984, symbolism is thoroughly used throughout the novel to reinforce the themes present in the book. The novel is set in a totalitarian society where whatever the government says goes without question. The Party is able to distort and rewrite the past, including the memories of the people, but a small glass paperweight from before the rule of the Party remains. The glass coral paperweight that Winston purchases at Charington’s shop becomes a dominant symbol in Orwell’s 1984. The antique shop where Winston buys the paperweight is significant itself. “The choice of an antique shop where Winston bought paperweight is not accidental” (Sandon). The Party cannot completely destroy the past, as an antique shop is a shop that holds things from the past that still remain important enough to the people where an antique shop is still relevant. Orwell also uses this to the Party’s advantage as a trap where Winston holds his affair with Julia that ultimately fails. Mr. Charington, the owner of the shop, also “ had always vaguely the air of a collector rather than a tradesman” (Orwell 150). Mr. Charington was also seemed interested with the past, he would rather talk about the things he had rather than trying to sell it. Really being a member of the Thought Police, he was not a collector of things, but a collector of people. The antique shop where Winston buys the paperweight shows the significance of the past, but also the trap. Winston constantly and desperately tries to remember the past, and he sees the glass coral paperweight as a relic from the past. “He buys it as an attempt to reconnect with the past” (Shmoop Editorial Team). Because of the Party’s control, the paperweight is a remnant of the past that does not have any basis in reality anymore. Winston uses this as a concrete tangible reminder of the past, as memories are no longer reliable. “The paperweight assists the portrayal of Winston’s desire to remember the true past” (Write Work...
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