In his novel, 1984, George Orwell sets the scene in the first chapter by establishing the atmosphere that illustrates the oppression of an omnipotent government. The setting that is created in the first chapter displays the domination of the government over the masses of Oceana and the description of the party itself illustrates the power that a government may obtain through manipulation. The culmination of the themes in the first chapter proves the terrors that the individual, Winston Smith, must face in his everyday life while living under the totalitarian power of the government.
The deteriorating city and dark setting create an extremely oppressive atmosphere from the beginning of the novel. For example, the "vile" city "smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats" that parallel the rundown apartments in which the population must live. Also, posters with an "enormous face" and "eyes that follow you" containing the huge caption, "BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU" are scattered all throughout the city.
Winston is psychologically oppressed by a government present in every aspect of his life. He is forced to monitor his every action (and even facial expressions) when he goes into the "rubble" outside and even in the apparent shelter of his own crumby apartment at night due to the telescreen. Finally, the setting in the first chapter describes the dominant party ministries as they extend "three hundred meters into the air" and "dwarf" the surrounding decaying apartments of Oceana's citizens. The size of the buildings in contrast with the rest of Oceana's setting is a symbol of the government's oppressive bulk and its power over the people.
Through the party slogans in "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength," the Party's suppressive control over the people is created. In this imaginary society that the first...