George Orwell’s 1984 is overflowing with a great deal of symbolism. The use of objects such as big brother, telescreens, red-armed prole, and the paperweight are just a few of many symbols found throughout the novel. Sometimes characters and other objects are used as symbols to aid in communicate the underlying meaning of the novel. For example, the use of the glass paperweight in George Orwell’s 1984 represents the many aspects of Winston’s rebellion and secret life of the Party, which will be further explained throughout this essay. The paperweight signifies many different characteristics of Winston’s clandestine life. It symbolizes his insubordinate mind against the Party, but it also comes to stand for the secreted relationship between Julia and Winston. The flimsy state of the paperweight is symbolic in the fact that the entire world that Winston creates for himself and Julia can be devastated at any moment. Symbolically, at the end of the novel, the paperweight is thrown on the ground and smashed into many pieces as Winston and Julia are being captured. It also shows the idea of the room in which Winston commits quite a bit of his crime. Winston finds it appealing that nobody seems to notice that items are no longer like they used to be and that nobody seems to care. Upon finding the junk shop, with the paperweight and the old room above that supposedly didn’t have any telescreens, Winston realizes that there are still reminders around of life before the rebellion if one looks hard enough.
The room, like the paperweight, is a piece of life before the rebellion that is not changed by the Party, unlike objects around it. Throughout the novel, Winston becomes captivated with the coral, which Orwell claims to be, a little chunk of history they forgot to alter. The fact that there is a shop of artifacts from life before the rebellion among the people and yet they still believe every word the Party feeds them astonishes Winston. The paperweight comes to stand for all these signs that people pass by each day and didn’t realize are even there. The paperweight also signifies the fragile relationship between Winston and Julia The glass symbolizes the life that they have created together while the coral inside the glass stands for the two of them. The glass represents the room in which Julia and Winston can separate themselves from the outside world in their own special carefree space. Orwell states in the book that “The coral was Julia’s life and his own, fixed in a sort of eternity in the heart of the crystal” [“1984”]. This is symbolic in the sense that just as the glass is easily broken, the life Winston and Julia create for themselves can easily be shattered if they are ever to be caught. In addition to all this, the paperweight comes to represent Winston’s further rebellion against the Party. Besides his relationship with Julia, Winston is also constantly committing “thoughtcrime” and trying to find ways to rebel against the part. This, like his relationship with Julia, is not sturdy for the reason that as soon as he is found out he will be caught and eventually is caught.
In the novel, 1984, an ordinary glass paperweight is used to represent many different ideas that the author, George Orwell, is trying to get across. The entire message the paperweight signifies is the second life Winston leads behind the Party’s back. A second life that he is almost forced to lead in order to remain sane. In this way, the grave and fragile message Orwell is trying to convey is expressed through symbolism.