1984 Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

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How does George Orwell's 1984 relate to modernism?

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Thanh Munoz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Modernism is a term that has usually been applied to artistic movements (modernism in literature, in painting, music, and so on) or, less frequently, to general cultural attitudes associated with the early to mid twentieth century (or even up to our own time). If we are talking about the style in which Orwell's 1984 is written—in other words, about 1984 as a novel—I would not regard it as "modernist," in comparison with certain other novels, or literature in general, of Orwell's time and earlier. Orwell gives us a straightforward third-person narrative as opposed to, say, the stream-of-consciousness manner of James Joyce. Even in comparison with a much more accessible writer like Hemingway there is, in my view, something much more traditional about Orwell's prose style, almost harking back to the novels of Somerset Maugham, whom Orwell greatly admired and whose influence he acknowledged.

If we are talking about the content of 1984— its story, themes, and characters—it describes a world...

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