An essay about 1984

Essay by likethatokCollege, Undergraduate June 2014

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4- Discuss the main themes in chapter I of 1984 and how these are further developed in the novel (make clear reference to the text)

The chapter starts with a cold day in April of 1984, a man named Winston Smith returns to his home (the Victory Mansions, dilapidated apartment buildings) While he is climbing the staircase he sees an enormous face, underscored by the words BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU. Winston is an insignificant official in the Party; though Winston is technically a member of the ruling class, his life is still under the Party´s oppressive political control. In every apartment there is a telescreen which is always on and through which the Though Police are known to monitor the actions of citizens. The first few chapters of 1984 are devoted to introducing the major characters and themes of the novel; the main goals are to depict the frightening techniques a totalitarian government might use to control its subjects, and to illustrate the extent of the control that government is able to exert.

To this end, Orwell offers a protagonist who has been subject to Party control all of his life, but who has arrived at a dim idea of rebellion and freedom. Winston seems to understand he might be happier if he were free. Orwell emphasizes the fact that, in the world of Airstrip One, freedom is shocking and alien notion: simply writing in a diary - an act of self-expression - is an unpardonable crime. He also highlights the extent of government control by describing how the Party watches its members through the giant telescreens in their homes. The panic that grabs hold of Winston when he realizes that he has written DOWN WITH THE BIG BROTHER evidences his certainty in the pervasive omniscience of the...