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What are the elements of symbolism and irony in the arrest scene in 1984?In Part Two,...

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lalalove54 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 24, 2009 at 5:39 AM via web

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What are the elements of symbolism and irony in the arrest scene in 1984?

In Part Two, Chapter 9-10ish.

Can you please help me summarize the symbolism and irony -thanks.

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 25, 2009 at 3:11 PM (Answer #1)

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The most obvious example of symbolism in the arrest scene is the destruction of the coral paperweight that Winston had bought at the junk shop just prior to the beginning of his affair with Julia.  The paperweight had appealed to Winston because it was old, and because it seemed to have an air about it of a far distant past when things were different.  For a little while, when it is in his possession, Winston dares to do things that he would never have done before, immersing himself in thoughtcrime by studying the writings of Goldstein, the epitome of subversion, and defying Big Brother through his relations with Julia.  During this time Winston actively considers the world the way it was before Big Brother took over, but when he is arrested, that time of rebellion, of dreaming of a life more meaningful than that offered by the Party, is over, as symbolized when the paperweight is "smashed...to pieces on the hearthstone".  For a little while Winston had imagined how wonderful the world might be under different circumstances, but as he spies "the fragment of coral" that rolled across the mat after the paperweight is smashed, he realizes "how small...how small it always was".

Similarly, the most obvious example of irony in the arrest scene is the revelation of the telescreen behind the picture.  Earlier, Winston had commented to Julia on the beauty of the painting hanging on the wall.  Little did he know that the picture, a likeness of the a local church, St. Clement's Dane, was just a camoflage for something so sinister.  In a further exhibition of irony, the church depicted had brought to mind a child's poem about "the bells of St. Clement's", of which neither Winston nor Julia could remember the end.  After the telescreen has been exposed, the voice from the screen provides the last two chilling but appropriate lines of the rhyme, "Here comes a candle to light you to bed, here comes a chopper to chop off your head" (Part II, Chapter 10).

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