1984 Essay, Research Paper
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE THEMES IN 1984
The world of 1984 that is depicted by George Orwell is one that is a bleak, depressing world. The government in this future is a totalitarian one, where anything that does not conform to the ruling party’s ideals, even thought is punishable by death. 1984 is about life in a world where no personal freedoms exist. Winston the main character is a man of 39 whom is not extraordinary in either intelligence or character, but is disgusted with the world he lives in. It is this world and the significance of its themes that are discussed in this paper.
One of the major themes in 1984 is rebellion by Winston. The main character, Winston Smith, first exhibits his inner will to rebel when he decides to commit his first thought crime. Winston’s first act of rebellion is buying and writing in a diary. This act is known as a thought crime and is punishable by death. A thought crime is any bad thought against the government of Oceania. “Winston commits many thought crimes and becomes paranoid about being caught, which he knows is inevitable.” (Greenblast 113).
Another theme in 1984 is love. Winston sees this girl who always seems to be following him. The girl who was following him slipped him a note while at work. The note said, “I love you”(Orwell 90). They make plans to meet each other and carry on an
illegal love affair. It goes on for some time. The girls’ name that was following him was named Julia. When Winston is with Julia he feels very happy and feels that perhaps the world can be changed.
A third theme is the message of “War is peace” (Orwell, 17) In 1984 Orwell states that the party’s position on war is that war is important for consuming the products of human labor. If this work would be used to increase the standard of living, the control of the party over the people would decrease. War is the economical basis for a hierarchical society. There is an emotional need to believe in the ultimate victory of Big Brother. In becoming continuous, war has ceased to exist. The continuity of the war guarantees the permanence of the current order. In other words “War is Peace.”
The theme of Winston’s rebellion is quite easy to understand. He works in the Ministry of Truth, a place where history and the truth is rewritten to fit the party’s beliefs. Winston is aware of the untruths, because he makes them true. This makes him very upset with the government of Oceania, where Big Brother, a larger than life figure, controls the people. His dissatisfaction increases to a point where he rebels against the government in small ways.
The significance of these events happening are that they are the catalyst that starts Winston down his ultimate path of destruction and failure. Winston starts with his small rebellion which eventually lead to him hoping to join Goldstein’s rebellion. Winston believes that he finds a similar person to himself in O’Brian. However, O’Brian is just a member of the party who thought the resistence up. This is to ensure that the party can find subversive members in society and stop all thoughts of rebellion.
The theme of Winston’s love for Julia also represents the futility of love in such a world and the hope for a normal life.
George Orwell, Writer and Critic of Modern Society. Daley, Alan L.
New York, The New American Library Inc., 1983.
Greenblast, Stephen “Orwell as Satirist.” George Orwell,
A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Raymond Williams and J. Englewood Cliffs. Charlottesville, Samhar Press, 1974.
Totalitarianism and the virtue of the Lie. Ed. Irving Howe
New York, Prentice-Hall Inc.,1974.
Kolakowski, Leszek, 1984 Revisited, Totalitarianism In Our Century
New York, Gramala Publishing Limited, 1981.
Stansky, Peter and Abrahams, Orwell: The Transformation