Give a short description of the themes and characteristics of the novel 1984.

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1984 is a dystopian novel, which is a novel that takes place in a fictional world where the living conditions are oppressive and horrific.  This book is also a work of satire that was meant to present criticism of the implementation and growth of Totalitarianism during World War II.  The book is written from the third person omniscient perspective which allows the reader to perceive the inner thoughts and actions of all of the characters.  This novel is also rich in symbolism, which is Orwell's primary technique for setting the mood and atmosphere of the novel.

1984 explores a variety of themes, most importantly, the dangers of Totalitarianism.  Orwell creates a society in which the government has attained total control over the people, so much so, that they are able to control people's thoughts by using fear.  This leads into a second theme, use of fear as a control mechanism.  Big Brother and the Inner Party members use fear to control the thoughts and actions of the citizens of Oceania.  Everybody knows that committing thought crime, or acting against The Party's rules will ultimately lead to vaporization (death), and the threat of this alone is enough to control society.