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Major Themes in 1984

This paper is an analysis of three of the major themes in George Orwell's groundbreaking novel, 1984. Orwell's bleak tale portrays a future in which society is strictly regulated by the Party, a political body which continually emphasizes three slogans. Those slogans offer insights into Orwell's principal cautions about the danger society can pose to the rights, will, and freedom of the individual. Although written shortly after the end of World War II, the novelist's meditations on war, freedom, and ignorance continue to hold powerful relevance.

Orwell creates a terrifying vision of a completely repressive world in which every movement, every word, and nearly every thought is monitored. The ubiquitous Big Brother is always watching, trying to detect the slightest indication of disloyalty or incorrect thinking. The novel's protagonist, Winston Smith, is a miserable little man whose longing for things he cannot even name leads to his ultimate destruction.

Everywhere Smith looks, on coins and billboards and the sides of buildings, he sees three slogans. These three phrases contain keys to some of Orwell's most powerful themes in the novel: "War Is Peace," "Freedom Is Slavery," and "Ignorance Is Strength." The phrases are examples of a kind of expression he terms "doublethink," requiring the listener to believe in two contradictory things simultaneously, an essential skill in Big Brother's world. The underground movement that may be attempting to overthrow Big Brother also uses these slogans in its handbook, illustrating the flaws of the repressive system.

Although Smith does not have the opportunity to finish reading the handbook, Orwell's point is clear. These three rallying cries echo the simplistic slogans that are used in political races, wars, advertising campaigns, and other events which attempt to enlist the enthusiastic participation of large numbers of society. "War Is Peace" demonstrates the Party's und...

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Major Themes in 1984. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 15:50, August 09, 2020, from