How do the symbols in 1984 support the development of the theme?  Be sure to use specific examples.

Expert Answers
parkerlee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The reeking smell of cooked cabbage  mentioned at the very beginning of the story shows the insipid, repetitive and bleak side of Winston's existence.

The "feelies" which dope the public are the "bread and circuses" which keep people entertained and satisfied with a surrogate and virtual "experience" -- instead of having the possibility to have the real thing.

The loudspeakers and later on the one-way mirror represent the intrusion of the government in a person's privacy. In fact, no domain is private, as the last "free space" is taken in the end when Winston is brainwashed to betray Julia and to "love" Ford and Big Brother instead.

Note the paradoxical elements within the novel as well, such as the Ministry of Truth whose job is to rewrite history and propagate lies. (See the reference below.)

mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Main theme: The Power of Big Brother; enslavement of the individual

Symbols: The telescreens; room 101; the Ministry of Love

Main theme: Destruction of the past, of words, of marriage and family

Symbols: the coral in the glass (past); the Newspeak dictionary (words); the Golden Country (marriage/family); Winston's journal (past); Chestnut Tree Hill Cafe (marriage/family); memory hole (past)

Main theme: Appearance vs. reality

Symbols: Charrington's apartment; Goldstein's book