Power and Hypocrisy of Socialism in 1984 by George Orwell


George Orwell’s novel 1984 shows that socialism uses power and hypocrisy to strip freedom from its citizens. This can be supported through Marxist theory and can be observed through the elements of character, location, perspective, tropology, and rhetoric.

George Orwell has written 1984 in third-person limited perspective, meaning the reader only knows as much as they are told, this gives the reader an almost first-person view of a totalitarian socialist government. Throughout the novel, the reader is constantly flipping through Winston’s perspective with the narrator's perspective “When he came back his mother had disappeared. This was already becoming normal at that time.” (Orwell, 163 ), this quote shows a flashback through the reader’s perspective, the next one shows a quote from Winston’s perspective.

It was three years ago. It was on a dark evening, in a narrow side-street near one of the big railway stations. She was standing near a doorway in the wall, under a street lamp that hardly gave any light. She had a young face, painted very thick. It was really the paint that appealed to me, the whiteness of it, like a mask, and the bright red lips. Party women never paint their faces. There was nobody else in the street, and no telescreens. She said two dollars. I --(Orwell, 66)

Through these flashbacks, the reader can notice the major difference between Winston and themselves, largely shown in the second quote Winston is timid, talks at a slow pace, with continuous pauses. It is also a precursor by Winston stating that his admission to the crime is justified due to the fact that the crime does not carry a heavy sentence, unlike the first quote which is not spoken by Winston. The quote is straight to the point, showing the stark difference between reality and being trapped in a socialist society. Winstons purpose in 1984 is to spite Big Brother in addition to distinguishing how much he can push the limits, this causes Winston to unknowingly falling into Big Brother’s trap of feeling as if Big Brother has forgotten him which leads him to be increasingly lenient. This differs from the reader as they are constantly having the point of fear drilled into, where at any moment Winston can be convicted. George Orwell gives the reader the same fear of big brother as Winston, but still allows the reader to grasp beyond what Winston thinks, which reinforces the idea of how much power Big Brother olds along with how much the people are being exploited. This is the overall intention of the story, George Orwell shows how fear brings out the exploitation of people in socialism. Using perspective he showcases how the reader may not be able to trust what is in front of them, or what Winston tells them. At the time when George Orwell wrote 1984, Socialism was becoming further corrupt. 1984 is a warning that showcases what life would be if the tyrant leaders in Europe had spread everywhere. The extremes and horrors of World war 2 are common in the world of 1984. By the conclusion of Winston’s life, he had come full circle, now having had loved Big Brother, directly before being killed. Unlike the reader who is still in strong detest towards Big Brother, due to  Winston’s torture that has him losing his sense of self. Importantly by the end, Winston has succumbed to Big Brothers’ power over him.

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