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What is the importance to the rhyme Oranges and Lemons in 1984?

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pippaisawsome | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 7, 2012 at 5:56 PM via web

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What is the importance to the rhyme Oranges and Lemons in 1984?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 7, 2012 at 7:27 PM (Answer #1)

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The significance of "Oranges and Lemons," a traditional English rhyme, is that people cannot remember it in its entirety. It is symbolic of the ways in which Big Brother has wiped out traditional English culture (or most of it) that had existed for centuries before. Winston and Julia try, but fail, to remember the lines to the rhyme, and Julia doesn't even know what a lemon is. In another scene, Winston is convinced that O'Brien is a sympathizer when he reveals that he knows the last line to the rhyme. Of course, this is a ruse, and by the end of the book, it is clear that the rhyme will not survive another generation. 

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