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The Ironies of Orwell's 1984

Oct 08, 1999 430 Words
The Ironies of Orwell's 1984

The novel 1984, by George Orwell, has many examples of irony throughout it. The two major types of irony: verbal irony and situation irony, are demonstrated again and again in this novel. In the following essay I will discuss these types of ironies and give examples of each from the book.

The first type of irony is verbal irony, in which a person says or does something one way, but the true meaning is the opposite. One of the first example of this irony is discovered when the main character, Winston Smith, uses the "Memory hole" to deposit things -- one would think that this would be where things are remembered ("Memory"), but it's actually an incinerator. The next example of irony comes when you learn about the departments of Government in Oceania. The Ministry of Truth is actually the maker of lies for the history books, the Ministry of Love discourages love, and the Ministry of Peace is actually quite violent. The final example of verbal Irony can be seen in the name of the leader of Oceania, "Big Brother." The concept of a big brother is one whom is older and wiser and helps the "littler siblings" -- this not the case with 1984's Big Brother. The Big Brother in this novel completely watches over every move a person makes keeping them controlled with fear.

The next type of irony is Situation irony, which is when a character or a sequence of events appears to be headed one way, but it ends up as the opposite of what was thought. One example of this is Winston's general health. From the beginning of the book, it is shown how horrible his health is and is continually getting worse and more difficult, but as Winston gets involved with Julia then he begins a metamorphosis into a more healthy person. Another major example is the betrayal of many of the people whom Winston thought were his friends, such as Mr. Charrington and even O'Brien- -who both worked for the Thought Police.

This book is stuffed full of irony, the entire plot of the beginning would makes the reader expect one reaction and instead, the reader gets twisted the complete opposite direction at the end for surprise. George Orwell uses irony as sort of an exhibit, making it virtually the "how to write irony" novel for me. Throughout the book, all of the irony used became negative and depressing, I still thought this book made its point successfully and was an incredible novel. e

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