Literary Devices In 1984

What are all the literary techniques in 1984?

HELP! I have a report due and I am soo confused.  I need things like flashbacks, humor, vivid descriptions, unexplained twists. Basically anything that makes the book the way it is!

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amymc | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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Writing about all the literary techniques in 1984 would be almost as long as the novel itself.  However, I will pick out some of the major ones for you!.

First, the use of the oxymoron.  An oxymoron is use of contradictory terms to present a statement that generally contains an element of truth.  The three mottos represent oxymorons.  "Freedom is Slavery," "War is Peace," "Ignorance is Strength " all contain what appear to be opposing terms, yet the meaning behind them is true for the world state.  Keeping the country at constant war does lead to peace among the people of Oceania.  Ignorance is Strength is also true in that an uneducated, easily manipulated populace is easy for the government to use for its own power.

Another technique is the use of Big Brother as a symbol.  Big Brother, the ultimate figure of Oceania, is everywhere.  A mustached man who is always watching.  This symbol strikes both loyalty and fear in the people.  They worship this icon, but are continually kept afraid of his power.

Similarly, 1984 creates links to history through the use of allusion.  The posters of Big Brother strikingly resemble Adolf Hitler.  The supposed leader of the underground movement is Goldstein.  The obviously Jewish name of Emmanuel Goldstein and the name of a man responsible for the death of millions of Jewish heritage set up the conflict by relating it to a key turning point in the history of the world.

These are just a few of the techniques that Orwell employs in his novel.


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