What specifically is Orwell warning us against, and how does he achieve this? What literary techniques does Orwell use in order to convey his themes?
George Orwell’s 1984 is a warning against tyranny and authoritarian governments. Writing in the mid-twentieth century, Orwell had seen the rise of tyrannical governments and political leaders throughout Europe, and he used those examples to inform his dystopian novel. Orwell uses paradox and symbolism to achieve this warning and convey the associated themes.
Early in the novel, the reader is introduced to the official motto of Oceania:
War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength
These three paradoxical statements help facilitate the theme of psychological manipulation. Since these statements are so obviously incongruent, no free being using reason and independent thought could agree with them, which reinforces how much damage Big Brother has done to its citizens.
When Julia rips off her scarlet sash of the Junior Anti-Sex League, the reader sees Orwell’s use of symbolism. The sash represents a citizen’s alignment with a cause, and the ripping off shows Julia’s prioritization of her...
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