In his novel titled 1984, George Orwell frequently depicts Winston Smith’s obsession with the past and explains that obsession in various ways, including the following:
- One of the first references to the past occurs in the paradoxical phrase “the mutability of the past.” We usually think of the past as immutable – as unchanging – but in 1984 the history of the past is rewritten so often and so thoroughly that it becomes increasingly difficult to determine what, exactly, did happen in preceding years. The Party knows that if it can not only erase previous history but create “new” history, it can control the way people think in the present and future. Ironically, Orwell’s book, published in 1948, is set in an imagined future (1984), so that he is imaginatively writing the history of the future before it even happens.
- At one point, Winston reflects on the power of the Party’s...
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