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Examples of Satire in Orwell's 1984 Essay

  • Submitted by: MsLangley
  • on September 19, 2012
  • Category: English
  • Length: 796 words

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Below is an essay on "Examples of Satire in Orwell's 1984" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

1984 is a dystopia, and a warning against many things which are satirised in its pages. The most obvious target is totalitarianism. There are obvious references to Soviet Communism (Big Brother even looks like Stalin!), but naturally the totalitarian nature of Ingsoc is an exaggerated version. The surveillance devices are impossibly thorough given the technology Orwell shows in the book and the impossibility of keeping track of everyone—but they certainly convey the sense of fear and oppression, and the lack of privacy, which such totalitarianism would impose. Ingsoc does not merely ignore the disparities between what it promises and what it delivers—it makes a point of them, noticeably in the names of the Ministries. Ingsoc's glorious leader is more than a man—Big Brother is to all intents and purposes immortal (and almost certainly not an individual with a human existence at all).

Orwell also satirises religion. The author quite probably saw religions as an attempt by one group to impose their will on others, in a very similar way to that in which communists operated. The concern to control thoughts as well as actions is very telling. O'Brien explicitly states that "God is power" and says "we are the priests of power". Big Brother is immortal, and the all-seeing eye of the television is a less benign version of the God who sees every sparrow fall, while the enemy Goldstein is an 'arch-heretic'. The concept of 'blackwhite', and the ability of loyal Party members to believe what they are told to believe rather than what they can see, feels like a swipe at the kind of faith that tends to require its followers to believe in contradictory ideas (like going to war in the name of the God of Love).

The use of language is an important aspect of the book, with Orwell going into considerable detail on the concept of Newspeak. The idea of the 'dictionary', which actually reduces the language in size, is absurd—dictionaries cannot mandate the obsolescence of words—but...

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