Define "motif" and explain why one motif in the novel is the scarcity of consumer goods such as butter, razor blades, and real chocolate.Why does this scarcity exit?

1 Answer | Add Yours

mstultz72's profile pic

mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

One question per day, please.  I'll answer the middle one.

The motif (recurring mini-theme) of the scarcity of goods is based on the real wartime efforts of the British government (and U.S., U.S.S.R., and Nazi gov'ts) to both conserve and profit from consumers.  Remember, this is satire: Orwell is both imitating and exaggerating what he saw happening during World War II.

Price readjustment is a form of propaganda that enables the government and manufacturers to both limit the distribution and control the pricing of necessities (butter) and luxuries (chocolate).  It's supply and demand, and the war has made supply so low and demand so high that the prices will, inevitably, become inflated.

The specific prices or types of goods don't matter as much as what the act and process stands for: it is a means of information control.  Whatever the government says is a conscious lie.  The Party lies about the prices; it lies about the scarcity; it lies about who they're at war with.  It's a means of keeping the Outer Party and Proles hungry, tired, and stupid.  It's a disinformation campaign against its own people as a means of control and profiteering.

We’ve answered 318,913 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question