1. George Orwell – the author and the man
1.2 A short presentation of his writing career
2. “1984” – the last and the most outstanding novel
2.1 General information
2.3 Historical context
2.4 Biographical context
3. Types of manipulation and a malleable society
3.1 Manipulation through language
3.2 Manipulation of the mind
3.3 Physical Control
3.4 The Big Brother and the susceptible people
1. George Orwell – the author and the man
In the history of writing, there have been many authors that did not use their real name because of different personal reasons. This is also the case of Orwell and a major fact that has to be said regarding George Orwell’s life as an author is related to this. George Orwell is a name that he used when publishing writings, but his birth name was Eric Arthur Blair. Of course, choosing this name has a meaning: George is the name of the patron saint of England and Orwell is a river in Eastern England and a name of a small rural parish in Cambridgeshire.
Although he moved several times away from England during his life, his name as an author has to do with his roots and the land where he returned to spend his last years. But, on the other hand, this decision of changing his name has an important significance for George Orwell – the man – because he tried to vanish his past and get rid of his self-image as a failure. By doing this, he probably thought that the shadows of his childhood and the following years will disappear and that he will start a new life.
Despite the fact that he somehow wanted to remove the memories and the wounds that the past left in his mind and soul, it is needed just a little glance through his works to draw the conclusion that he infused a small amount of his childhood and youth years in the lines of each writing paper. Critics have found similarities and allusions to his past and his weaknesses in his most important writings. Anyway, the most considerable influences that have marked his works are the changes that the society has suffered during his life. He has successfully transposed the historical events and the transformations they have brought in his writings. George Orwell’s perspectives that formed an ample set of works have led to an important title: one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.
George, Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair) – 25th of June 1903 – 21st of January 1950
The son of an agent in the Opium Department of Indian Civil State and of a tea trader’s daughter, George Orwell or, by his birth name, Eric Arthur Blair was born in what is today the city of Motihari, India or what was Bengal Province of northeastern British India at that time. He was not the single child. He had two sisters: Marjorie and Avril. Around the year when Arthur was born, the fear of plague was intensively increasing due to the previous deaths of 1 million people so the decision of moving back to England was taken when Arthur was just a baby. But this move was not made by the whole family: only the mother and the children went back in England and settled in a small village called Henley-on-Thames, in Oxfordshire. Another reason for their leaving was the fragile health of the author because his own mother mentioned details about his condition in her diary in 1905: “Sunday, 6 February: Baby not at all well, so i sent for the doctor, who said he had bronchitis . . . Saturday, 11 February: Baby much better. Calling things “beastly”!!”( CITATION Edw09 l 1033 (Quinn, 2009)Eric Arthur’s education began in a convent school ruled by French Catholic nuns. Throughout the years, it has been questioned whether this early encounter with religion has influenced in one way or another his later feelings regarding this: both hatred and admiration. Later on, at the age of eight, he was suitable for a prep school. Therefore, he was accepted at St Cyprian’s School in Eastbourne and this moment represented a turning point in his personal life that later has been noticed in his works. His scholarship fee was reduced from 180 pounds to 90 pounds, but he did reveal it only after several years of school. He considered it as a sort of humiliation because he was in a rich boys’ school paying half of the fee. Many years after, he wrote down all of those feelings of his early life in his most important books: “Animal Farm” “Such, such were the joys” and “Nineteen Eighty-Four”.
At the age of 18, he decided not to go to university and not surprisingly, his father suggested him to role the colonial service. He passed the exam and chose to serve Burma, India, where he had relatives at that time, from where he got inspired and wrote “Burmese Days” and “Shooting an elephant”.
Another inspirational experience that allowed the readers to step into his mind and his history as a human being is the period when George Orwell lived in Paris starting in the spring of 1928. Everything was converted into words that structured the novel “In and Out in Paris and London”. He began writing for different newspapers, but what has to be mentioned is the moment when Victor Gollancz, a well-known British publisher and also a humanitarian, asked Orwell to write a book about the unemployment in the industrial domain in the North of England. For that, he needed to travel between Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester during several months in order to complete the request. The manuscript was entitled “The Road to Wigan Pier”, but by the time he gave the book to Gollancz, George Orwell married Eileen O’Shaughnessy and moved together in a cottage Wallington, a village in Hertsfordshire. This represented the moment when George Orwell became one of the most influential reporters and writers in Great Britain. He also went to Barcelona to report on the Spanish Civil War. This experience left him a long-life bitterness for communism which was first expressed in the book “Homage to Catalonia” (1938). Then he worked for British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) until 1943. In May 1944 George and Eileen adopted a baby boy, named Richard, but after only one year, in 1945, Eileen died during an operation. George Orwell was not there because he was sent as a war correspondent for “The Manchester Newspaper” and “The Observator”. She left a note for him before a cancer operation when she suffered a heart failure and long after her death he strongly blamed himself for ignoring Eileen’s symptoms of cancer while he had been involved in many love affairs that Eileen knew about. Shortly after her death, Orwell married Sonia Brownell in 1949. Meanwhile, his son, Richard, was staying with his sister, Avril, a thing that Eileen would not have accepted.
His second wife was associated with a last hope for Orwell that kept him alive one year after they married. She managed to take care of the unpublished manuscripts, letters and diaries of Orwell and also to fulfill his wish of not being cremated, but buried. However, his death was not a sudden one because he was hospitalized several times and when he was writing on his last novel – “Nineteen Eighty-Four” – his health was collapsing due to his problems with the lungs, a consequence of his participation in the Spanish Civil War where he was injured. He passed away on 21st of January 1950 in University College Hospital, in London. The inscription on his tombstone is a meaningful, but a simple one: “E. A. Blair”. There have been imprinted the initials of the George Orwell, the man, because the tombstone marked the death of Eric Arthur Blair, not of George Orwell, the writer.
1.2 A short presentation of his writing career
The love for justice, the hatred for communism and the support in the Spanish Civil War made George Orwell gather a large variety of experiences and feelings that helped him put down on paper everything that he is known for. Literature in each and every of its forms was his closest friend and there was no fear in expressing as the mind filtered what the eyes saw. He could not have been involved just in writing novels without being knee-deep in the major political events of that period. As a consequence, he designed his works based on his views, on his perceptions, on the way he felt or understood the happenings.
The critics have drawn a map of Orwell’s writings, beginning with the non-fiction books and the novels that value, even nowadays, much for the universal literature. In a chronological order, “Down and Out in Paris and London” (9th of January 1933) is the first one to be noted, being released before “Burmese Days” (October 1934) even though the experiences were opposed placed in time. Then, appeared “A Clergyman’s Daughter” in 1935, followed by “Keep the Aspidistra Flying” in 1936. Next, at the request of Victor Gollancz, he wrote about the unemployment in the industrial field in the Northern England, a book named “The Road To Wigan Pier”, published in February 1937.
After those mentioned previously, there is a list of the most appreciated and remarkable novels among which have to be remembered the following ones: “Homage to Catalonia” (25th of April 1938) ; “Animal Farm” (17th of August 1945) ; “Nineteen Eighty-Four” (8th of June 1949).
The Pamphlets should not be neglected either because there have been a series of some important publications like: “The Lion and The Unicorn: Socialism and The English Genius”; “James Burnham and the Managerial Revolution” or the “English People”.
Last but not least, the poems written by George Orwell come as a surprise making him not only a novelist, but also a poet. He was not known for writing verse, but there are several poems that he had written during school days and during his youth years such as: “Awake! Young Men of England”(1914) ; “Our Minds Are Married, But We Are Too Young” (1918); “Poem from Burma” (1922-1927). In October 2005 Finlay Publisher made a complete book containing all of his poems.
All in all, George Orwell did not waste time when it came to writing as he released novel after novel, poem after poem. He felt that writing is his gift since he had been a child and mixed with his own reality and background the outcome was a fruitful one. He also faced rejections like the one from T. S. Elliot when he refused to publish George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”. Besides this, Orwell himself said in 1940 “The writers I care about most and never grow tired of are: Shakespeare, Swift, Fielding, Dickens, Charles Reade, Flaubert and, among modern writers, James Joyce, T. S. Eliot and D. H. Lawrence.” So they were the motivation and the inspiration Orwell needed.
2. “1984” – the last and the most outstanding novel
“1984” represents the final and the most prestigious work belonging to George Orwell, being published just one year before his death. Among other important writings, Orwell is often associated with this last novel of his that has changed the views and perspectives of people regarding politics, social life and personal life.
At that time, the novel had a huge impact on both people and literature because nothing similar seemed to have been written before. However, critics have said that Orwell used as a source of inspiration some other writings whose authors were Eugene Zamyatin(“We”), James Burnham, Jack London (“The Iron Heel) and H. G. Wells. These are considered to be the major sources of Orwell’s inspiration when writing the novel, but the biggest influence on the novel was his own experience and the way he viewed the future.
The novel has plenty of symbols and motifs that hide aspects charged with powerful meaning. For instance, some moments of the novel, reflect some turning points of his own life. An illustrative example would be the sequence when Winston (the protagonist) wanted to make a change and a mysterious force, a well-hidden power within himself determined him to do something to find out the truth and also to make a difference. The same thing happened to Orwell when he decided to take part of the Spanish Civil War, an event that marked the history of the whole world. Orwell was there to change something as well as Winston did. Therefore, George Orwell identifies himself with the protagonist.
Another proof of his enormous influence upon literature and readers was the introduction of the word “Orwellian” in the Oxford English Dictionary defining a repressive state. Moreover, phrases such as “Big Brother,” “Double Think,” “Thought Crime” and “Room 101” started being used at a large scale. But even though these confirmed the effect the novel had on the society, “1984” is much more than these words.
The novel is more than often associated with the word “dystopia” because this is what it reveals: a dystopian world constantly fighting for dominance where humans are blinded and brainwashed by the ruling party, all covered in a pessimism that is hard not to be perceived from the first pages.
It seems that Orwell had a calling for satire since “Animal Farm”, another great work of his, is also a satire as well as “1984”. The difference between them is that the first one focuses on the existing society while the “1984” ‘s target in on the future, a future decoded from the title itself. But digging more deeply, using the noun “future” might be too much. It can be better characterized as a “Déjà Vu”. It is well-known that “Déjà Vu” comes from French and it defines a feeling of experiencing something in the present as if it happened before. The same exact thing occurred with Orwell’s novel: he depicted a phenomenon already existing, but which reappeared in a more advanced form. This phenomenon or better said totalitarianism has some principles used as a guidance and examples of such principles are oppression and mass manipulation. George Orwell himself pointed out in the book the same idea: “Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimeters inside your skull.”. It was a post-war London where there was no privacy, no human individuality, only surveillance everywhere, at any time. This explains Orwell’s words from above.
Besides all the features and themes of the novel mentioned before, there is another quite important because it has influence and it determines the other ones: the world in which Winston lives is in a complete stagnation. Nothing happens, everything is static, but at the same time each and every citizen works all day long, there are manifestations in the city, it seems dynamic from the outside. People are stuck in a society that controls every sector of their lives and they are forced to be part of the Party, to participate in all the activities dedicated to their “beloved” leader.
“Whether or not 1984 is an ideological super-weapon, one can say that it changed the world by representing the past and the present so as to modify people’s expectations of the future … Momentous events in the actual world were of course, the cause, but these are so remarkably crystallized in Nineteen Eighty-Four that literature and the world since then have been different.” CITATION DAV11 l 1033 (DUNNICO, 2011). As seen in the pharagraph cited, it was established that “1984” is a referential novel in the universal literature as things were regarded in a new manner, a manner which made people wake their conscience up and see the real face of totalitarianism. It is about the past, present and future, all three of them being merged together resulting in this mixture of politics, love affairs, pleasures of life, sadness, helplessness, despair, desire, manipulation and control in all their possible forms. And this entire mixture changed literature from that moment on.
2.1 General information
The novel “1984” would not have become what it is today without a thoroughly analysis of the plot, of the characters and everything the book offered to the readers. Nevertheless, there are other important aspects outside of the book involved in its examination (historical and biographical contexts). Nothing should be left out when it comes to a good understanding of the novel, but first of all, the plot gives the reader the clues needed to decode the writer’s intentions and perspectives.
“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him.” CITATION Geo49 l 1033 (Orwell, 1949). The time is set and the protagonist is named from the first line. The image is being built with every word and little by little an overview is created. But what lies behind these words is the city of London under a totalitarian regime controlled by an all-knowing and all-powerful state and the thirty-nine-year-old Winston Smith who rebels against the totalitarian world in which he is forced to live day by day. Another significant feature is the hour: Orwell chose this specific hour “thirteen” due to its negative connotation, a traditionally unlucky number.
As the story goes on, there is an easy to perceive way of contouring Winston’s life: the grayness, the dullness and the shortages characteristic of the totalitarian lifestyle. Soon the reader is introduced to the “BIG BROTHER”, the leader who is omnipresent and omniscient with the help of the telescreen, tiny devices installed everywhere, even in people’s houses in order to supervise every movement, every breath, every action. “Winston turned round abruptly. He had set his features into the expression of quiet optimism which it was advisable to wear when facing the telescreen. He crossed the room into the tiny kitchen.” CITATION Geo49 l 1033 (Orwell, 1949). There are also posters everywhere on the streets showing the face of a man who seems to watch you from any angle, symbolizing constant surveillance and control. Together with his face, the slogan “Big Brother is watching you”, there is written the following initials: “INGSOC” which stands for English Socialism. ( “As Winston looks out the window at the cold, colorless city, he sees posters of Big Brother plastered on every corner and the word “INGSOC” written on a wall.” CITATION Geo49 l 1033 (Orwell, 1949))
Winston has to hide its feelings from the telescreens and be careful not the reveal any of his thoughts against the system, namely the frustration of being forbidden to express his personality, his individuality. It is later mentioned in the story that Winston Smith works at the Ministry of Truth, an institution whose name has no connection with its real activity. His duty is to alter the historical events in order to match with the aims of the Party. But he is puzzled by the massive control over history and he recalls his memories, finding out important aspects of the history that he is forced to modify because of his job. For instance, the Party sustains that Oceania (where the action takes place) together with Eastasia is fighting against Eurasia, but Winston remembers a time when things were totally different.
Leading a hard life, filled with poverty, having no moment of pleasure or fulfillment, Winston is taken aback by the presence of a simple, dark-haired girl who works with him at the Ministry of Truth. He takes to risk of simply thinking of her, a serious error when living in such a society. Apart from this courageous and daring thought, Winston commits another mistake. His desire is to write in a diary which he starts doing on the same day of April: “The thing that he was about to do was to open a diary. This was not illegal (nothing was illegal, since there were no longer any laws), but if detected it was reasonably certain that it would be punished by death, or at least by twenty ?ve years in a forced-labour camp. Winston ?tted a nib into the penholder and sucked it to get the grease o?. The pen was an archaic instrument, seldom used even for signatures, and he had procured one, furtively and with some di?culty, simply because of a feeling that the beautiful creamy paper deserved to be written on with a real nib instead of being scratched with an ink-pencil. Actually he was not used to writing by hand. Apart from very short notes, it was usual to dictate everything into the speak-write which was of course impossible for his present purpose. He dipped the pen into the ink and then faltered for just a second. A tremor had gone through his bowels. To mark the paper was the decisive act. In small clumsy letters he wrote: April 4th, 1984.” CITATION Geo49 l 1033 (Orwell, 1949)Another sequence of strong meaning is the moment when Mrs. Parsons, his neighbor, knocks at his door asking for help. Winston offers his help and while he is fixing the sink, the Parsons’s child, wearing the uniform of the Spies, a youth organization meant to train children to spy on their parents and friends and report any kind of disloyal behavior. The boy points a gun at him, accusing him of Thoughtcrime (“…the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it” CITATION Geo49 l 1033 (Orwell, 1949)). An interesting aspect at the child’s behavior is the resemble with the Hitler’s Youth Movement, which indoctrinated children and transformed them into merciless killers. Throughout the novel, there are several similarities between the world created by Orwell and Stalin’s Communism and Hitler’s Nazism. In fact, there is a blend of them both, resulting into a dystopian society, where loyalty referred only to the loyalty for the Party and State.
Later, he meets a person with a strong influence on him, a person of whom he thinks is against the Party, a member of Brotherhood, an organization known to be entirely against totalitarianism. This man is named O’brien. Judging by his appearance, his gestures, his expression, Winston sees him as a salvation, someone sharing the same ideas and confirmation that he is not insane.
Winston Smith continues writing in his diary everything he remembers from childhood and his youth and his belief that everything is falsified is getting bigger ang bigger. People are lied that the standard of living has grown and that they live longer in comparison to the period before the Revolution that overthrew capitalism and led to the establishment of totalitarianism. As the days go by, he pays attention to his colleagues, analyzing their behavior, but there is no way of forgetting a dream he once had. He dreamt of a man telling him: “We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.” CITATION Geo49 l 1033 (Orwell, 1949). He identifies the voice to O’brien’s from the moment he was convinced that O’brien is against the Party, a disguised member of the Brotherhood. He writes about his sexual experience with a prostitute when he was a young man and other memories that flow in his mind, being aware of the risk he is taking.
Digging into his mind, he finds a photograph picturing three men – Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford – the leaders of the Revolution whose existence has been vaporized after being arrested and tortured. This vaporization happens with all the people who die, their memory and even their names disappear forever. An interesting fact about the three men is that Winston remembers seeing them in a bar, called the Chestnut Tree Café, is that the author himself, Orwell, introduced moments of his own experiences. What it comes as an explanation is the period of Orwell’s life when he was staying in Paris and he saw in a bar (“Closerie des lilas”) Lenin and Trotsky, the leaders of the Russian Revolution. This event of the author’s life may have served as a model for the Chestnut Tree Café and the three leaders.
In that manipulating society where people were not allowed to think, to love, to cherish their freedom, where family was a concept referring only to having children in order to serve the Party and the Big Brother, there were some independent people able to live their lives to the fullest. Those were the proles. Representing 85% of the population, the proles are not monitored by the telescreens, they focus on beer, bets and rising children never questioning about the past or truth. Winston manages to take a walk in the proles’ neighborhood, minding that the risk taken is a huge one. He has the opportunity to witness their way of living and also he visits a little boutique on one of those streets.
Four days later, at work, Winston walk past the dark-haired girl, Julia, with whom he could talk to for a few moments, some days earlier. The moment they meet, Julia falls. He helps her, but suddenly a note slips into his hand. Because of being afraid, he does not read the note in that very moment, but he waits until he is back at his cubicle. Surprinsingly, the note says: “I love you”. After days of trying to talk to her, they manage to arrange a meeting at the Victory Square, that afternoon. In such a crowded place at that time of the day, Julia whispers to Winston the directions to a place, situated outside London, a place where they would meet next time, a safe place for them. They meet the next day at the agreed-upon place and they start talking and sharing opinion about each other. After spending some time together in the intimacy of the woods, they go back in the city and they arrange another date.
After weeks of seeing each other and getting to know each other, Winston decides to rent a room for the two of them. Not an ordinary room, but the room place above Mr. Charrington’s junk shop. Mr. Charrington is the prole in whose shop Winston entered some weeks earlier, while he was walking in the proles’ neighborhood. As he impatiently waits for Julia in their new room, Winston watches and listens to prole woman singing and hanging laundry in the courtyard below. This a crucial point the characters’ lives and the woman symbolizes the relationship between human beings and their need for love and sexuality. Julia brings coffee, tea, chocolate and other things from the black market. They enjoy the time spent together. More than that, they decide upon confessing their own thoughts against the Party and they go to O’brien’s apartament, telling the truth and being convinced that he is from Brotherhood. There, O’brien asks Winston some questions, answering to all of them with yes, except one – he is prepared to do anything but separate from Julia. O’brien promises Winston to give him an important book the next day. It is about “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism” written by Emmanuel Goldstein, the leader of the Brotherhood. Winston is fascinated by the book and at every date with Julia he tries to convince her about the life full of lies they live, but Julia remains uninterested, thinking that they could not do anything, but to simulate their love and loyalty to the Party.
An intense, emotional moment, the climax of the story is represented by the episode when the two lovers are in their rented room and a voice behind a picture hanging on the wall shouts: “You are the dead”. It was a hidden telescreen covered by a picture. A full of meaning object encountered in the room is a glass paperweight and Winston imagined that him and Julia are there, protected like the tiny piece of coral inside it. The moment when the troops entered the room, the glass paperweight fell and broke. The universe created by Winston broke, too. Mr. Charrington entered the room and ordered the troops to clean the shattered paperweight. It was then when Winston realized that the voice which came out of the telescreen was Mr. Charrington’s voice. “Mr Charrington came into the room. The demeanour of the black-uniformed men suddenly became more subdued. Something had also changed in Mr Charrington’s appearance. His eye fell on the fragments of the glass paperweight. ‘Pick up those pieces,’ he said sharply. A man stooped to obey. The cockney accent had disappeared; Winston suddenly realized whose voice it was that he had heard a few moments ago on the telescreen. Mr Charrington was still wearing his old velvet jacket, but his hair, which had been almost white, had turned black. Also he was not wearing his spectacles …. It occurred to Winston that for the ?rst time in his life he was looking, with knowledge, at a member of the Thought Police” CITATION Geo49 l 1033 (Orwell, 1949)
The next episode is predictable as Winston wakes up a cell and during a certain period of time both him and Julia endures tortures and beating. He finally is taken to the Room 101 which has an important symbolism, being known for the sufferings and persecutions. Winston’s biggest fears are used against him in the Room 101 in order to make him betray Julia, which he actually does in the end, shouting: ‘Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don’t care what you do to her. Tear her face o?, strip her to the bones. Not me! Julia! Not me!’ CITATION Geo49 l 1033 (Orwell, 1949).
The ending pictures Winston being an alcoholic, but in a much more joyful mood, working on the Eleventh Edition of the Newspeak dictionary. Now he lives in peacefulness, being happy with every piece of news he hears about the Party and “he had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.” CITATION Geo49 l 1033 (Orwell, 1949).
There would be no story if there were no characters. All of them has important roles that influence the events and they should not be left out. Of course, it is always a protagonist who occupies the central position and everyone else revolves around him. Therefore, a brief display of all the characters of “1984” is compulsory.
First of all, Winston Smith is the dominant character, the protagonist, an employee at the Records Department in the Ministry of Truth. He is a frail figure, both in his physical appearance and mindset, who has taken a decisive step against oppression. He represents the traditional hero in a totalitarian society who dared to think for himself, to think beyond what he is forced to think, the one who stands out in a susceptible and malleable crowd that surrounds him. Winston has the courage to investigate what seems wrong and to go forward even though the risk taken is inmensurable, according to the ideology of the world he lives in. This main character is not the typical one who achieves his good intentions and makes the world a better place, he is overwhelmed by the O’brien’s hostility and hatred.
Speaking of O’brien, he is a member of the Inner Party who somehow fascinates Winston with his gestures and looks, giving him a wrong impression. He was characterized “as terrifying a character as we are likely to meet in a book” CITATION Edw09 l 1033 (Quinn, 2009). He poisons Winston’s mind because the protagonist wanted and expected someone to be on his side and saw in O’brien the perfect partener to destroy the Party and the political regime. The philosopher Richard Rorty claimed that: “After Winston and Julia go to O’Brien’s apartment, Nineteen Eighty-Four becomes a book about O’Brien, not about twentieth century totalitarian states” CITATION Ric89 l 1033 (Rorty, 1989).
“Bold looking girl of about twenty-seven, with thick dark hair, a freckled face, and swift, athletic movements.” CITATION Geo49 l 1033 (Orwell, 1949). That is the description of Julia given by George Orwell, seen through the eyes of Winston Smith. Julia works at the Fiction Department at the Ministry of Truth and she seems a zealous member of the Anti-Sex League, but there is just the image of the perfect humble, obedient citizen who takes part in all the activities organized by the Party. Actually, Julia knows very well how to hide her real intentions and thoughts and she proves to be skillful concerning her secret encounters with Winston and the way she plans some of them. It has been said that Julia is a reflection of Orwell’s second wife, Sonia Brownell Orwell, as she was an ingrained opponent of her Catholic background.
Mr. Charrington plays an important role and a surprisingly one, also. Mr. Charrington seems to be that helper who appears when the hero needs him the most, that hope which took forever to come in order to change the state of affairs and to lead to a happy ending. He is described as a man in his sixties willing to help the two lovers. Being the owner of the shop above which is the room rented by Winston and Julia, Mr. Charrington gives the impression of a kind-hearted man. At first, his presence in the story does not seem as important as it proves to be at the end because he appears to be just a connection, a bridge in Winston and Julia’s lives. But when the things take another turn and the two lovers are caught right in that room, Mr. Charrington is now like another person, he looks much more younger, around 35 years old and he is now clearly a member of the Thought Police. His words when Winston and Julia were arrested need no explanation regarding his membership: “‘Pick up those pieces,’ he said sharply” CITATION Geo49 l 1033 (Orwell, 1949).
Emmanuel Goldstein is another character on the list. He has not an active role, but he is similar to a mythical figure due to his influence over the protagonist. Goldstein is believed to a be a former member of the Party who betrayed its principles and lives in exile somewhere else. Winston sees him as a salvation, as his unique chance to escape from the wicked world in which he is living. All that describes Emmanuel Goldstein confirms the portrait of the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky. Goldstein is supposed to have written a book entitled “Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism” as Trostky did too, but his book was named “The Revolution Betrayed”. So, the similarities are obvious and Orwell’s cultural and historical knowledge marked the evolution of the book.
A book and its characters can not exist without a title. A title is, in general, a synthesis of the main ideas and themes presented in the book. What is interesting here and tricky, at the same time is that the title gives the impression of a future society imagined by the author. But in fact, it has nothing to do with a forthcoming world where individuality and personal life is deeply eradicated. “1984” could be the reverse of 1948 when the book was written, but it should be remembered that Orwell began the process of writing it long before that year. There could be also related to the year 1944 when took place the Teheran Conference when Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin met and talked about how the world should be divided after the war ends. The idea of a world run only by 3 superpowers is at the heart of “Nineteen Eighty-Four” as well as at this historical event, the Teheran Conference. This was taken into account when critics analyzed the title.
But the title has its own story to tell. At the beginning, Orwell decided “The Last Man in Europe” to be the title of what was his last novel. Some months before the manuscript was sent, George Orwell wrote to his publisher, Fredric Warburg, asking which of the titles fits the best: “The Last Man in Europe” or “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. He suggested the latter thinking of the commercial aspects of that time and of the impact on people when seeing such a title on the cover of a book. But here it comes another hypothesis on this dilemma: The facsimile of the draft shows clearly that the novel was first set in 1980; then, as time passed in the writing of the book, 1982, and finally 1984. This is particularly plain on page 23 of the facsimile, but the consequential changes occur at various points. It is arguable that, in setting the novel in, successively, 1980, 1982 and 1984, Orwell was projecting forward his own age, 36, when World War II started, from the time when he was planning or actually writing the novel. Thus, 1944 + 36 = 1980; 1946 + 36 = 1982; 1948 + 36 = 1984. It is not, perhaps, a coincidence that in 1944, when the idea for the novel might reasonably be said to be taking shape, Richard was adopted. It would be natural for Orwell to wonder at that time (as many people did) what prospects there would be for war or peace when their children grew up. By choosing Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell set his novel in both present and future. Had Orwell only been writing about the present, there would have been no need for him to have advanced the year beyond 1980, and preserving the interval he did – of 36 years – must have had significance for him. Inverting the final digits of 1980 and 1982 would have been meaningless; the inversion of those for 1984 was probably coincidental.” CITATION Pet98 l 1033 (Davison ; Orwell, 1998). These assumptions have led to no result and the mystery of the idea behind the title is still unable to be decoded. Another fascinating possibility comes from his first wife’s poem. Eileen O’Shaughnessy read “A Brave New World” written by Aldous Huxley in 1934 and then she wrote “End of the Century, 1984”. Still, there is no certainty that Orwell read her poem or knew about it. The amalgam of symbols, themes, events added to the enigma of the title confirms once again the brilliant mind of Orwell’s that has thought about every single detail to be in connection with the others.
Underneath the themes of the novel lays a certain number of symbols intentionally put there in order to find a hidden massage sent directly to the reader. Symbols have the mission to help the reader discover the meanings and aims of the book leading to a better understanding of the main idea. The same happens with the symbols in “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. The author makes excellent use of symbolism to enhance the themes. Therefore, he placed strategically some names, some objects and some terms that guide mentally every single reader to the core of the novel.
First of all, there is a common name which appears on the packages of the products Winston consumes. As an example comes the “Victory Gin” or “Victory Cigarettes” or “Victory Coffee”. Being a depressive man, suffering from paranoia, Winston Smith finds the cigarettes and the gin as a self-medication and represent a sort of disconnecting from life. But these are common vices because they are offered to all citizens in the same way so it turns out be another way of manipulation being induced as personal decisions, as small acts of rebellion. The word “victory” might confer freedom, release and gives the illusion of spending some time alone, relaxing after a long day at work. But the monitoring does not stop and any moment of isolation from the real world is just false appearance. Some places in the city also contain the noun “victory” like “Victory Square” or “Victory Mansion” and they have the same connotation.
Then, the omnipresent slogan “Big Brother is Watching You” together with the face of Big Brother is the all-seeing eye that governs people’s lives in order to force them to obey the rules of the Party. Big Brother is the leader, the absolute commander whose existence was never truly confirmed, but in whom people believe. This chosen name, “Big Brother”, is somehow an irony from the first reading. A brother is known to be a person who protects and supports his siblings. In here, this kind of brother is overprotective and is perceived by Winston as the black sheep, the villain whose purposes does not include a peaceful, free and harmonious society. In relation to the Big Brother, appears another symbol, namely the telescreen. These devices are meant to control people even in their most intimate moments so people obey the rules. The telescreens represent a mean of propaganda implemented by the Party, succeeding in constantly monitoring the citizens. They were also analyzed from the point of view of the totalitarian political systems, emphasizing the abuse of technology to control the population surviving at the lowest standard of living.
Trying to recognize the symbols spread in the entire novel, critics have found that a striking use of symbolism is the introduction of a notion that refers to psychological control. “Doublethinking” is a term which described the action of having thoughts that contradict the laws of the Party. Orwell used this symbol as an ultimate form of brainwashing framed in a totalitarian society. It means considering and being aware of the rules and the statements made by the Party and at the same time having antithetical thoughts which are roughly punished by the Thought Police. Through incorporating “doublethinking”, the leader manages to convince the public that two plus two equals five, while Winston commits the crime of doublethinking from the moment he believed that two plus two equals four and wrote it down on his diary, feeling that his journal is an escape from a corrupt world.
The red-armed prole woman. This is a symbol compulsory to be mentioned due to its impact and meaning. This prole woman that Winston watches at from the window of the room he rented gives him hope and freedom. What is more interesting to this woman is that she sings, an action that Party members never do. This opportunity of singing is regarded from their shattered window as a blessing and her song fills them with confidence about the future. Much more than this, the woman’s wideness, her extremely large body and her forceful arms contour the idea of virility, the ability to give birth to future generations so that they can rise up against the Party.
Advancing in the novel, an essential symbol that was identified is the glass paperweight. This object is found by Winston in the room he rented from Mr. Charington in order to spend some time with Julia, his lover. The paperweight is an antique item that beyond its usual purpose has another meaning for the protagonist. In the context of a world which destroys the past and forgets anyone from the moment they die, a world in which people are persuaded to believe in the presence of a leader that does not prove his existence and where the period before the Party and Big Brother is said to have been terrible and tough, Winston’s believes are strengthened when finding this paperweight. Moreover, inside this object is inserted a tiny piece of coral, protected by the glass and it symbolizes the relationship between Winston and Julia. Their little love affair is similar to the coral and Winston feels that they have a shield which keeps them isolated and able to hope for a better future. But when the glass paperweight falls down and shutters coincides with the moment when the two of them are caught and arrested by the police.