1984
George Orwell

by

Karim Chandra

Symbols
Symbols are objects or figures that artists use to represent an idea.
Big Brother
Big Brother is an important and ever-present symbol in the book. Throughout London, Winston sees the image of the Big Brother with the caption. ‘BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU'. As well as acting as the face of the party Big Brother dominates society as the leader of the party. The people have been conditioned to believe that their lives depend immensely on Big Brother. This omnipresent figure serves as a symbol of the party in its presentation to the public but its ambiguousness also represents the vagueness of the leading elements of the ruling forces.
The Glass Paperweight and St. Clement’s Church

The party has successfully found a way to brainwash the people with propaganda and make sure that they forget about their society and embrace what the party is telling them about the past. When the party rose to power, it promised to rescue the people from the cruelty of capitalism and other forms of oppression. However, when the party ascended, life became more difficult and harsher than it had been in the past. The Party was solely determined to make sure that the people forgot about the past. Winston struggles to understand what happened in the past and cannot form a clear picture in his mind. Winston acquires a paperweight from an antique shop in the prole district. The Paperweight is a representation of Winston’s attempt to reconfigure and reconcile himself with the past. A precious object from a time gone by, but an object that was designed to stop free movement, and by extension free thinking.

The old picture of St. Clement’s Church that is seen in the room that Winston rented above Mr. Charrington’s shop is another representation of the lost past. Upon seeing the picture, Winston associates it with an ominous song, which ends with the words, “Here comes the chopper to chop off your head!" The song leads to Winston's eventual realization that the Thought Police have installed hidden telescreens that leads them to Winston's room leading to his capture. The symbolic nature of the telescreen being behind the church alluding to the fact that there is no sanctuary from the Party.

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