In the book 1984, how are the dystopian society roles defined?
1984 by George Orwell is a novel that fits very well into the literary genre of speculative fiction. Speculative fiction differs from science-fiction in that it does not rely upon scientific or space-age conceits but instead draws its ideas from contemporary society and culture. The idea of a dystopia, or a society that is dysfunctional and based upon oppressive principles and tyrannical rulership, is usually inspired in part by contemporary conditions. 1984 was written in 1948; George Orwell was suggesting that the world he portrays in his novel has somehow grown from the seeds planted in his own day. In this novel, oppositional and contradictory statements are the basis of government and societal rules, and these statements are used as political slogans. For example, War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, etc.
The ways in which this society defines roles is connected to the way this society defines human relationships, functions and emotions. Orwell consistently emphasizes the irony and absurdity of having Government agencies, called "ministries," named in ways that seem contradictory to their functions. For example, the Ministry of Love is a place where torture occurs. Winston works for the Ministry of Truth, which is involved with propaganda, and his specific function includes rewriting records to conform to Party standards. In other words, the Ministry of Truth is involved in perpetrating lies. Therefore, societal roles are defined in ways that suit and serve the dominant political party; workers are considered inferior to government officials and are expected to do what they are told to serve the aims of their government.