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What was Orwell's own context (contextual values) when writing '1984'?What influenced...

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jadetyler | eNoter

Posted May 27, 2012 at 9:33 AM via web

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What was Orwell's own context (contextual values) when writing '1984'?

What influenced George Orwell to write about a dystopian society in which humanity is oppressed by one dominant being? Personal and contextual issues at the time of writing/publication

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 27, 2012 at 11:20 AM (Answer #1)

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Interestingly enough, I think that1984contains some of Orwell's most personalized notions of the political and literary good.  Despite the fact that it is a novel devoid of much in terms of personal, focusing most of its attention on the political, I think that Orwell's own personal realities and his own contextual values become evident in the work.  In articulating his own personal vision for why and how he writes, Orwell speaks to much of how contextual values are vital in the shaping of1984:

...every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it.

Conceived in 1946, these ideas help to shape 1984.  Orwell's own contextual values of espousing a system where centralized authority operates without much in way of checks and balances and where the rights of the individual are easily trampled becomes his motivating forces in composing the work.  Adding to this is Orwell's own health.  The fact that he writes the work while he is dying helps to influence its bleak nature, and something that underscores the work's pessimism is the fact that there is so little optimism that Orwell sees in his own life and health in the writing of the book.  The political contextuality of despair is matched by his own personal condition of despair through failing health.  In both, one sees little difference between a "sick" state and an equally sick "human being."  For Orwell, both contextual realities mirror each other's values, helping to form the world and narrative of 1984.

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