Social Commentary In 1984

1164 Words5 Pages
“It is often said that literature is a voice for social commentary. How is this true of the novel 1984”?
Historically, literature has always echoed the key issues and themes present during that time. In the period which Orwell wrote this novel, totalitarian government was a popular concept seeing implementation around the world such as Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and Mussolini’s Italy. In the novel 1984. While Orwell’s world is a fictional one, it can be said that he uses it as a voice for social commentary, and he predictions as to what a world would be like if totalitarian governments would rule the world. This essay will aim to explore how Orwell goes about doing this.
Orwell draws from features of these totalitarian regimes in order to create the setting in which the story takes place. In the novel, the narrator describes big brother on the poster as a “mustachiod figure”. This figure is a reference to the
…show more content…
The words under the picture read “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU” in all capitals. This phrase immediately establishes the power-distance relationship between the party and its members. All citizens are constantly being watched over and are powerless compared to the party. The word “watching” implies that all citizens are under scrutiny from big brother himself with the “mustachiod figure” playing the role of a “big brother”, watching over his citizens and controlling their actions and movements. Such a lack of freedom creates a stark contrast between normal people’s lives and the lives of Orwell’s characters, and therefore acts like a warning as to what might happen in the future if the rise of totalitarianism continued in Europe. Through this, Orwell is also criticizing this movement by highlighting its key disadvantages and drawbacks.
Furthermore, Orwell uses bizarre and unfamiliar concepts to the reader to comment on totalitarian
Get Access