Paradoxical Slogans in 1984

Topics: Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell, Totalitarianism Pages: 4 (1651 words) Published: June 15, 2010
Sahil Aggarwal
IB English SL

The Veracity of Paradoxical Slogans in 1984

The definition of a paradox is, “A statement that on the surface seems a contradiction, but that actually contains some truth.” In George Orwell’s, 1984, the use of paradoxes is exemplified in an attempt to allow the reader to understand the true intentions of a totalitarian government. By using war as a method of keeping peace in the society or even going so far as to further the degree of ignorance to greaten the government’s power, Orwell constantly expresses the oppression of people under a totalitarian rule, the central theme of the novel. In an effort to gain the further support of the people of Oceania, the controlling party writes the following three paradoxical slogans on any propaganda poster: War is Peace, Ignorance is Strength, Freedom is Slavery. These paradoxical slogans, no matter how antonymous, contain a high degree of truth and can be proven through Orwell’s vivid descriptions of Oceania as well as the various literary features found throughout the novel The traditional definition of war is when two or more parties go into combat for a desired external goal that cannot be obtained within their boundaries. However, in 1984, although there are two other enemies that exist against Oceania, Eastasia and Eurasia, because of the fact that they are all equally matched, war would only cause massive destruction with no victorious party at the end. So instead of fighting, the war is used as a means to keep the hierarchical structure of society intact and allowing the ruling party to maintain their control. They do so by using the war as an excuse to utilize and consume all the wealth that the society could hold. By creating a sense of inequality, the government does not have to worry about the masses becoming literate. In doing so, they do not come to “realize that the privileged minority has no function” and would not sweep it away hence the paradoxical slogan “War...
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