This is an essay on how George Orwell used irony in his novel 1984.

Essay by Kenneth LiuHigh School, 11th gradeA-, October 1995

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The novel 1984, by George Orwell, has many examples of irony

throughout it. The two major types of irony: verbal irony and situation

irony, are demonstrated again and again in this novel. In the following

essay I will discuss these types of ironies and give examples of each from

the book.

The first type of irony is verbal irony, in which a person says or

does something one way, but the true meaning is the opposite. One of the

first example of this irony is discovered when the main character, Winston

Smith, uses the 'Memory hole' to deposit things -- one would think that

this would be where things are remembered ('Memory'), but it's actually an

incinerator. The next example of irony comes when you learn about the

departments of Government in Oceania. The Ministry of Truth is actually

the maker of lies for the history books, the Ministry of Love discourages

love, and the Ministry of Peace is actually quite violent.

The final

example of verbal Irony can be seen in the name of the leader of Oceania,

'Big Brother.' The concept of a big brother is one whom is older and wiser

and helps the 'littler siblings' -- this not the case with 1984's Big

Brother. The Big Brother in this novel completely watches over every move

a person makes keeping them controlled with fear.

The next type of irony is Situation irony, which is when a character

or a sequence of events appears to be headed one way, but it ends up as the

opposite of what was thought. One example of this is Winston's general

health. From the beginning of the book, it is shown how horrible his

health is and is continually getting worse and more difficult, but as

Winston gets involved with Julia then he begins a metamorphosis into a more

healthy person. Another major example is the betrayal of many of the

people whom Winston thought were his friends, such as Mr. Charrington and

even O'Brien- -who both worked for the Thought Police.

This book is stuffed full of irony, the entire plot of the beginning

would makes the reader expect one reaction and instead, the reader gets

twisted the complete opposite direction at the end for surprise. George

Orwell uses irony as sort of an exhibit, making it virtually the 'how to

write irony' novel for me. Throughout the book, all of the irony used

became negative and depressing, I still thought this book made its point

successfully and was an incredible novel.