Historical context of 1984-george orwell

Essay by [w]ilson.[s]High School, 11th gradeA, June 2008

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George Orwell’s 1984 is one of the most important pieces of political fiction; it is a timeless political satire that demands to be read to be truly appreciated. Published in 1948, and set 36 years into the future, 1984 eerily depicts where the world is going, where the truth is shunted and lies are promoted by all mainstream media. Perhaps one of the most powerful science fiction novels of the twentieth century, this apocalyptic satire shows with grim conviction how the protagonist Winston Smith’s individual personality is wiped and how he is recreated in the Party’s image until he does not just obey but loves Big Brother.

Some critics have related Winston Smith’s suffering to those Orwell underwent before the writing of 1984. Orwell maintained the idea that the novel was written with the intention to alter other people’s ideas about the society they should strive after. But perhaps, to truly understand the concepts explored and the purpose it was written, we should first consider the historical context of the novel, the period leading up to the writing of 1984 in order to answer just what kind of book he was writing.

One of the things that make 1984 such an important work of political fiction is the fact that it was written in a period of unprecedented political instability. It was the end of the world’s great imperial powers and the rise of a new age of politics. Democracy, fascism and communism were vying for dominance and the outcome of their struggle could not be predicted.

Most people at the time were content to read 1984 as a straightforward allegory of the about the melancholy fate of the Russian revolution. From the minute Big Brother’s moustache appears in the second page of the book, people were immediately reminded of...