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Explain and give specific examples proving the female characters in George Orwell's...

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danielb77 | Valedictorian

Posted July 27, 2013 at 7:09 PM via web

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Explain and give specific examples proving the female characters in George Orwell's 1984 are easily manipulated and  weak willed and how these morally corrupt roles influence the plot. 

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 24, 2013 at 7:39 AM (Answer #1)

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The perfect example that seems to embody these characteristics is of course Katherine, Winston's wife, who has vanished by the time the novel begins. It is particularly important though to realise how the experience of being married to a woman like Katherine has impacted Winston, which arguably leads him to seek pursuing the affair with Julia in a way to gain a sexual relationship that is meaningful and liberating, rather than the sexual activity which he conducted with Katherine. Note how Chapter 6 describes this:

And what was strange was that even when she was clasping him against her he had the feling that she was simultaneously pushing him away with all her strength.

Winston describes her as "submitting" as she forced him to carry out a sexual act that became "embarrassing" and "horrible." Katherine is presented as weak-willed in the way that she is so brainwashed and dominated by Big Brother and the Party, and her morality is shown to be corrupt through the way that she insists on continuing engaging in a sexual act with her husband even though she obviously hates it and he finds it terrible too. Katherine is presented by Orwell as an example of somebody who has been completely brainwashed by Big Brother and party propaganda, and Winston's later decision to rebel against Big Brother can arguably be traced back, at least in part, to his experience of being married to Katherine.

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