What is the symbolic meaning of dust in "1984"?

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Dust permeates life in Oceania, among both Party members and Proles. It is with Winston in one way or another from the start of the novel to the finish.

Dust symbolizes the decay and oppression that the state has visited on the people. It is also evidence of the constant warfare which Oceania engages in with its enemies, for much of the dust comes from bombs destroying buildings. Dust lays over everything, a real indicator that Oceania is not experiencing the progress the Party claims for it. Winston's flat is dusty, his office is dusty, Mr. Charrington's shop is dusty, the streets are dusty, and the Chestnut Cafe is dusty: the dust representing the gray pall cast over everything in this dystopia.

As an example of dust symbolizing oppression, we are told twice that Mrs. Parsons, a woman defeated by her life, has dust in the creases of her face. Even the "million dustbins" of...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 484 words.)

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