How can the D.H. Lawrence quote "at its best, the novel.....can help you" be related to 1984 by George Orwell?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Lawrence's quote reveals the essence of literature.  The novel is shown to be helpful to individuals in answering the critical questions of who we are and what we should do.  It is in this regard that Orwell's novel can be seen as embodying the tenets of Lawrence's quote.  1984 does not offer much in the way of redemptive restoration.  However, it provides a vision of a world that the individual must avoid.  The construction of a world where Big Brother and the Party reign supreme has to be avoided at all costs.  When we see the world of Oceania, it is a vivid reminder of how individual freedom must be preserved.  Even if it requires great sacrifice, Orwell's novel makes us cognizant of what happens when individual freedom, checks and balances, and political activism goes away.  The novel helps the individual in understanding the importance of activism in preventing social and political oppression.  It is here that 1984 can help the individual.

Sometimes novels are helpful because they depict a world that must be avoided.  The hope that lies within them is not in what they show, but rather what must be avoided.  Orwell's work fits this description.  We become cognizant of the horror of Oceania, and anything that moves us closer to it must be avoided.  

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