1984 Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

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What are some examples of juxtaposition in 1984?

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Juxtaposition is something that is used extensively throughout this novel in order to highlight the difference between the Party's version of events and their presentation of life and the reality as experienced by Winston Smith. This is often achieved through the naming of items. For example, in Chapter 1, Winstom Smith is shown to enter "Victory Mansions," although in reality this grand name masks a building that smells of "boiled cabbage and old rag mats." In the same way, note how the experience of swallowing some "VICTORY GIN" is described:

Instantly his face turned scarlet and the water ran out o fhis eyes. The stuff was like nitric acid, and moreover, in swallowing it one had the sensation of being hit on the back of the head with a rubber club.

Again and again in this novel, the way things are named or how they initially appear is radically different from how they actually are. Just as the gin is named in a way that leads the reader to suspect it will be much better than it is, so the naming of other places, like the Ministry of Love, for example, masks the true reality of what happens behind its walls. Juxtaposition therefore is used to identify the two very different versions of reality: the Party's reality, and the reality of Winston Smith. It is the conflict between these two different versions of reality that occupies the entire novel.

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