1984 Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

1984 book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Cite some examples of urban decay that occur in chapter 1 of 1984.

Expert Answers info

Scott David eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2018

write1,096 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

1984 imagines a future in which urban infrastructure is collapsing and war is a continuous reality. Orwell goes to great pains, even from his book's first chapter, in establishing this sense of visceral decay. Consider the description he provides of Victory Mansions' interior:

The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats. At one end of it a colored poster, too large for indoor display, had been tacked to the wall. ... Winston made for the stairs. It was no use trying the lift. Even at the best of times it was seldom working, and at present the electric current was cut off during daylight hours. It was part of the economy drive in preparation for Hate Week.

To this, one must also add Orwell's vivid description of the cityscape itself (a quote that has already been presented by an earlier Educator). Furthermore, this is an urban landscape dominated by the Four Ministries, which tower over the rest of the cityscape—these vast, imposing structures serve as a continuous reminder of State...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 835 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write10,654 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write16,149 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial