In George Orwell's novel 1984 what are some examples of metaphors, similes, and irony?

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vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Metaphors, similes, and irony occur often in George Orwell's novel 1984, but in one sentence early in the first chapter, all three of these techniques occur together. The sentence, actually a sentence fragment, poses a question about Winston Smith's unattractive surroundings:

And the bombed sites where the plaster dust swirled in the air and the willow herb straggled over the heaps of rubble; and the places where the bombs had cleared a larger path and there had sprung up sordid colonies of wooden dwellings like chicken houses?

In this sentence, the phrase "sordid colonies" is a metaphor since it compares the dwellings to colonies without using the words "like" or "as."

A simile appears in the phrase "dwellings like chicken houses."

An example of irony appears when the narrator reports that "bombs had cleared a larger path." Bombs, usually considered and intended to be destructive, have in this case ironically proved helpful in making space for new construction.

This passage also repeats a motif that has already been well established in the novel by this point: the statement that "plaster dust swirled in the air" is just the latest of several references so far to swirling grime, dirt, or dust, suggesting that the world of the novel is unclean in more ways than one.

 

kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For an example of a simile, take a look at the first chapter of the book in which Winston is describing the appearance of the telescreen:

The voice came from an oblong metal plaque like a dulled mirror.

By using this simile, Orwell successfully conveys the appearance of the telescreen to the reader thus giving them a glimpse into Winston's world.

For an example of a metaphor, take a look at chapter five. In this example, Winston describes the room that he is renting with Julia. To emphasize how liberating it is to be in this room, he compares it to a different world:

The room was a world, a pocket of the past where extinct animals could walk.

In other words, this room gives Winston a sense of freedom, and it reminds him of a different era, one before the Party came to power.

Finally, for an example of irony, consider the character of Julia. When she meets with Winston in the woods in chapter two, for example, she is wearing the sash of the Junior Anti-Sex League around her waist. She then proceeds to tear off the sash and have sex with Winston. This act is ironic because the sash is supposed to be symbolic of her dedication to chastity.