1984 George Orwell: How is irony used in Ch. 1???

Essay by jlsyoyoA+, May 2004

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Throughout Chapter 1 of 1984, the reader is exposed to the many kinds of manipulation that the government uses to control the people of Oceania. The Party uses numerous examples of verbal and dramatic irony as part of its campaign to exercise its dominance over the people and control their daily actions.

Verbal irony, an incongruity that has a deeper significance than the surface meaning, is displayed throughout the society of 1984 in Chapter 1. The primary theme of this chapter deals with Winston's desire to write down his deeply felt thoughts about the Party. Winston is scared to open his diary because he is scared of being "punished by death, or at least by twenty-five years in a forced-labor camp" (9). This happens to be ironic because the Party has said that nothing is illegal, "there were no longer any laws" (9). Everyone in Oceania, where Winston lives, is scared of breaking many laws, none of which exist.

Many people are frightened of what is not familiar to them. The Party, not saying a word, controls the citizens of Oceania, causing them to live their lives in constant fear. Verbal irony, which the Party forces on the people, is found throughout the society of 1984 in Chapter 1 and in later chapters throughout the novel.

Along with verbal irony, dramatic irony, which occurs when the characters are not aware of what the audience understands, is also found throughout Chapter 1. For example, the name of Winston's home, Victory Mansions, is very ironic because its name implies that it is exactly the opposite of what really exists there. Its name makes it seem very nice and beautiful, yet the use of the pleasant name is used as another means to manipulate the minds of the people. "The hallway smelt of...