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What is the tone of the last couple sentences?“He gazed up at the enormous face....

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unbellyfeeler | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 12, 2012 at 8:11 PM via web

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What is the tone of the last couple sentences?

“He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 12, 2012 at 9:00 PM (Answer #1)

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Tone reflects the author's attitude toward the subject.  Even though Winston's words seem regretfully earnest, Orwell's tone comes across as being very satirica and pessimisticl in this final passage of his novel 1984.  Phrases like "cruel needless misunderstanding" and "self-willed exile from the loving breast" evoke an almost parasitic dependency upon Big Brother's totalitarian regime that comes across as feeling both ridiculous and needy, especially in the light of the fact that Winston has finally succumbed to the power of Oceania.  The "gin-scented tears" coupled with Winston's reassurance to himself that "it was all right" reveals his despondency and broken spirit.  Orwell closes his novel about the evils of tyranny with his main character "win[ning] the victory over himself," but there is nothing to celebrate about this victory. 


*I included a link below to a list of some really good tone words to consider.


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