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December 05, 2023, 04:33:57 pm

Author Topic: Anyone feeling kind enough to give me feedback on 1984 essay  (Read 2392 times)  Share 

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Anyone feeling kind enough to give me feedback on 1984 essay
« on: November 08, 2021, 05:41:09 pm »
Would be appreciated to the max

George Orwell’s 1949 hybrid text ‘1984’ invites us to consider the power of storytelling in shaping identity while acting as a cautionary tale regarding the ability of hegemonic narratives to obliterate individual experiences of liberty and hope. Inconsistent narratives manifest as the Party’s construction of a uniform past, strictly orthodox present, and eternally oppressive future collides with the protagonist’s obsession with legitimate history and pursuit of rebellion. The text thus reflects and hyperbolises the contextual concerns of Orwell’s society, acting as a bricolage of realism and speculative fiction. Orwell then reveals that individual stories and experiences are vulnerable to destruction by dominant and oppressive totalitarian narratives. Thus, his representation of human experience not only highlights the importance of storytelling, but - in a manner that is inherently metafictive - exhorts us to greater political vigilance to maintain rich and diverse narratives.

Orwell makes us aware of the significance of storytelling in shaping human identity by representing how totalitarian societies construct an artificial past - a hegemonic narrative which, despite resistance, imposes a limited collective identity upon society. His bleak vision was informed by Stalin’s USSR: a regime perpetuated by official photographic censorship, and its citizen’s fear of persecution that led them to deface compromising personal records. Orwell’s paradoxical description of time - ‘It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen’ - alerts the reader from the outset that Winston’s society is one where time has suffered mutation. Its totalitarian nature and the obliteration of individual narratives is paralleled as the reader is forced to believe the mutually exclusive - an act of doublethink - that a clock can be both analog and ‘strike thirteen’. Winston’s resistance to Ingsoc’s dominant narrative embodies individual stories, and manifests as an obsession with legitimate history, conveyed in the synecdochical symbolism of the glass paperweight: ‘the paperweight was the room he was in, and the coral was Julia’s life and his own, fixed in a sort of eternity at the heart of the crystal’. Metaphor depicts his appetite for antiquity as physically consuming, suggesting that it is intrinsically entwined with his identity. Simultaneously, the ‘air it seemed to possess of belonging to an age quite different from the present one’ suggests Winston perceives his fixation as segregation him from society, hence denoting its continuation as motivated by the desire to establish his own private narrative. However, the vulnerability of individual stories manifests in the Party’s infiltration of his refuge where ‘someone had picked up the glass paperweight from the table and smashed it to pieces against the hearthstone’. Synecdochical symbolism of the paperweight depicts the obliteration of private experience, while assault on the hearthstone through classical connotations is an attack on individual narratives. Winston’s resultant disengagement with the past is conveyed when a memory of his mother arises and ‘he pushed the picture out of his mind. It was a false memory’. Simple syntax and high modality language parallels the obliteration of rich and diverse narratives as Winston becomes indoctrinated into societal conformity. Thus, Orwell successfully makes us aware of the importance of storytelling in shaping identity, and warns of the destructive consequences when totalitarian societies are enabled to perpetuate hegemonic historical narratives.

Orwell then argues that the obliteration of individual identity through totalitarian narratives of an entirely orthodox present erodes liberty and devalues individual human experience. The prohibition of female sexuality in Nazi Germany and the BDM - a nazi organisation involved in instructing females to avoid Rassenschande - inspired the Party’s ‘junior antisex league’ and Orwell’s creation of a world where dogmatic nationalism inhibits individual relationships. Winston’s pursuit of intimacy in an effort to rebel and claim autonomy manifests in Orwell’s construction of dialogue: ‘I’m thirty-nine years old. I’ve got a wife I can’t get rid of. I’ve got varicose veins. Anaphora and emphatic tone mimic a political manifesto, emphasising the revolutionary nature of his relationship with Julia, while the accumulation of personal pronouns highlights its validation of their personal identities. Furthermore, the symbolic presentational imagery of Julia ‘ripping off the scarlet sash’ - a synecdochical representation of Party despotism - demonstrates the liberty attained through rejection of the Party’s dominant narrative of chastity, and by extension, orthodoxy. However, Orwell indicates the unreliability and fragility of private narratives through metafictive description of the thrush’s song having ‘astonishing variations’ despite the creature - a symbol for the union between two people - being distinctive for its repetitive song. Thus, the couple’s mutual betrayal is foreshadowed, as realised through asyndeton which describes Winston ‘falling backwards, into the enormous depths, away from the rats’. Extended syntax represents his indoctrination into the Party’s hegemonic narrative by paralleling the forfeit of his identity. Julia’s relinquished love has a similar consequence, with an anecdote referring to her as a ‘corpse’ more like ‘stone than flesh’ employing chremamorphism to depict the eradication of her sexual autonomy and eventual embodiment of the Party’s narrative of orthodox chastity. Thus, Orwell successfully makes us aware of the importance of storytelling in maintaining individual liberty, and warns of the destructive consequences when totalitarian narratives are perpetuated.

By illustrating how totalitarian societies obliterate the individual’s hope for liberty by maintaining a narrative of perpetuatal oppression, Orwell challenges us to resist and preserve rich individual narratives. Orwell’s post-WWII context incited his construction of a society in which the distortion of language diminishes the possibility of eventual revolution, with Nazi Germany displaying a similar manipulation through euphamisms such as the ‘final solution’ - the complete extermination of the Jewish race. Newspeak serves as a metaphor for the obliteration of individual narratives, with the aim that ‘Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed exactly by one word’ paralleling the obliteration of all diversity so that the only narrative perpetuated is that of the Party. As a result, figurative nuances are lost as meaning becomes ‘rigidly defined and...subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten’ - a metonymy for narrative complexity. In Winston’s exchange with Syme regarding the future of Newspeak, Orwell ironically contrasts between ‘There will be no thinking’ and ‘as we understand it now’ to emphasise via the collective pronoun ‘we’ that the result of the Party’s encompassing narrative is the absence of a ‘we’ to discuss - only the Party as a single, unified entity. Winston’s perspective - incongruent with that of the Party - is constructed as he parallels the proles with birds as a symbol of immortality: ‘The birds sang, the proles sang, the Party did not sing’. Thus, his hopeful narrative of a future where the eternal proles overthrow the oppressive Party is established. However, O’Brien exposes this story as fiction because of the paradox that Winston is already implicitly aware of, that ‘Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious’. The resultant obliteration of Winston’s hope is conveyed through the high modality metaphor ‘Winston looked up at the portrait of Big Brother. White always mates’. Orwell subverts our expectations through this non-squitier wherein the novel’s antagonist becomes associated with white - a colour with connotation of mortality - to highlight the destruction of Winston’s private narrative. In turn, he warns us of the dangers regarding oppressive hegemonic narratives, and challenges the reader to resist totalitarianism and its destruction of rich and diverse representations.

Therefore, Orwell’s representation of human experiences in 1984 encourages us to reflect personally on the significance of storytelling, and challenges us to fight to preserve rich and diverse narratives. His depiction of a totalitarian governments’ destructive perpetuation of hegemonic narratives, and the brutalising impact on individual human experience, ultimately galvanises us to reject political apathy. Thus, the role of storytelling for Orwell is not only in shaping human identity, but instructing his audience on how to maintain it. 


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Re: Anyone feeling kind enough to give me feedback on 1984 essay
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2021, 07:01:38 pm »
Your essay is absolutely amazing, very impressive. Your introduction is very well articulated, you briefly outline the main concepts you'll be talking about, whilst, incorporating the context very well. Each of your ideas (body paragraphs) is well articulated. Your quotes and analysis are relevant. The only concern I have for you is, will you be able to replicate this under timed conditions? Your essay really is impressive, however, you've written a lot. If you think you can replicate this in the exam, then go for it. However, if you think you can't then I noticed that you've included 3 quotes in each of your paragraphs, you could consider cutting it down to 2. Other than that, your conclusion is nice and concise. And your vocab is impressive. Great job!