Criticism on George Orwell's 1984

Good Essays
Sydney Muscat
Mrs. Kimber
ENG 4U
6 May 2013
The Madness of the Last Man
Madness is a label created by society in order to imprison its dreamers. It is often usual to lock up critics of cruel commands, because creative people can be dangerous to totalitarian control. The critical essay “George Orwell and the Mad World: The Anti-Universe of 1984” by Ralph A. Ranald discusses the theme of controlled madness and of a reverse society in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Ranald argues that Nineteen Eighty-Four is about “…religion reversed, law and government reversed, and above all, language reversed: not simply corrupted, but reversed” (Ranald 251). He refers to Winston as an “antihero” (Ranald 250), and “implies the ability to have one 's mind changed, but in the condition of "controlled insanity"” (Ranald 251). Ranald claims that through the breakdown of communication, the pain of “all” (Ranald 251) human relations and the “passive” (Ranald 253) characteristics of Winston Smith that the society can be revealed as “mad” (Ranald 251) in Oceania, but this is incorrect. Nineteen Eighty-Four uses communication to spread its totalitarian messages, reveals a love between relationships and exposes Winston as an active persona in the pursuit of rebellion.
Ranald’s main argumentative idea about communication is that it is collapsing in Nineteen Eighty-Four when really, it is growing. His opinion on the “… breakdown in communication – not extension but breakdown…” (Ranald 251) is weak because the only way Big Brother has power is by its influence on messages. Telescreens in the novel were the most important form of communication used. They were bi-directional, pushing propaganda while acting as a security camera in every room, it “could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely” (Orwell 3). From every square and alley, the signs and propaganda for "the face of a man of about forty-five, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly



Cited: Ranald, Ralph. George Orwell and the Mad World: The Anti-Universe of 1984. Vol.7. Gale Group, 250-254. Print. Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four. New York, New York, USA: Penguin Group,1954. Print.

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