anOrwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four:What is Orwell trying to tell?─About community, reality, and freedom
生科二 李嘉芳 B99b01081
The slogan “Brother is watching you.” is frequently seen in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four as well as is mentioned in political issues. It typically symbolizes the pervasive surveillance of totalitarian government thus it stands as the totalitarianism in human society. But, can this classical sentence tell us the spirit of the novel? How does Nineteen Eighty-Four play a prominent role in the realm of classical literature novels? Besides it has high art value and it is an epiphany in political satire, I think, the novel unearths the higher value of human existence which is about the purchasing of reality and freedom. Orwell attempted to redefine and discuss the reality by depicting the figure Winston who was living under the extreme totalitarian society and the society itself. And the whole novel demonstrated the struggle and introspection to the objective world and human innermost world. In the text, we focus on the paragraphs that Winston was brought into the room 101 and launched a series of conversation. The conversations containing Doublespeak, thought control and ideology reflect essence of inspiration of the novel. In one of them we find the paradox between freedom and reality: “Ashes,” he said. “Not even identifiable ashes. Dust. It does not exist. It never existed.” “But it did exist! It does exist! It exists in memory. I remember it. You remember it.” “I do not remember it,” said O’Brien.
Winston’s heart sank. That was doublethink. He had a feeling of deadly helplessness. If he could have been certain that O’Brien was lying, it would not have seemed to matter. But it was perfectly possible that O’Brien had really forgotten the photograph. And if so, then already he would have forgotten his denial of remembering it, and forgotten the act of foretting. How could one be sure that it was simply trickery? Perhaps that lunatic dislocation in the mind could really happen: that was the thought that defeated him. (Orwell, et al. 109) If O’brien really forgot the fact that he had forgotten the thing, the absence of the picture would become truth to him. (Kirschner, et al. 33)What oppressed Winston is what we fear most: What is the truth? If we supposed O’Brien is right and doublethink truly happened, all the actual events would be doubtful. We cannot sure whether doublethink occurs in our thoughts thus the objective reality would no longer exists. The world we live on suddenly turns to nihility, and so do ourselves. Orwell dig out our deepest fear about that nothing is around us. Michael P. Zuckert assert that the most valueable feature of 1984 is his analysis of freedom-inspired attack on objectivity, an attack which deeply threatens freedom itself.”(Nelson, et al.64) To the radical enigma, Charles Taylor has indicated “ People do not acquire the languages needed for self-definition on their own.” in the thesis ”The politics of Recognition.” (Kirschner, et al. 34) He point out that human themselves is existing in dialogues, or we can say, individual consciousness can’t exist solely. People have to find themselves in other people’s eyes through dialogue, and the others also exist through ours. In the assumption, an individual will be a disproved existence when it was isolated from community. It’s the greatest dilemma which protagonist Winston faced with─from the time he begun querying and last to the end─that questioning the solidarity leads to self-diminishing. The end reveals that Orwell may be pessimistic for the question he brought up asides his political writing motive.(Orwell and Huxley) But Richard Rorty believes that “the real point of the novel lies in its defense of the idea that cruelty is the worst thing we do.” (Kirschner, et al. 90) In the novel, reality is a set and unquestionable matter. For example, when O’Brien forces Winston to accept 2+2=5(Orwell, et al. 114), Orwell...
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