Saturday, March 28, 2009

1984 by George Orwell

George Orwell’s novel, 1984, is a novel about a man, Winston Smith, living life in a dystopian society. Winston slowly realizes that he disagrees with much of how his life is governed. 1984 follows Winston as he navigates the tricky dystopian society. 16 concordance on 1984 follow.

Varicose Pain

“The flat was seven flights up, and Winston, who was thirty-nine, and had a varicose ulcer above his right ankle, went slowly, resting several times on the way.” (1)

A varicose ulcer is the lack of skin at the drainage point of a varicose vein.  Varicose veins are enlarged veins caused by high blood pressure in the veins.  They are most common in the legs and feet because standing and walking increases the blood pressure to the lower extremities. Orwell uses Winston’s varicose ulcer to show when Winston is worried or anxious; during these moments, Winston’s ulcer begins to itch.  Winston’s job is mostly sedentary, so for him to have acquired a varicose ulcer means that he must do a lot of walking and standing outside of his job.  There is no mention of motorized transport, so Winston must have to walk a long distance between his job and his home in order to have acquired a varicose ulcer.

Works Cited:  "varicose ulcer." The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary. 2007. Houghton Mifflin Company 28 Mar. 2009

"Varicose veins." Mayo Clinic. 16 Jan. 2009. 28 Mar. 2009 <>.

Pig Iron

Pig_Iron_Ore “Inside the flat a fruity voice was reading out a list of figures which had something to do with the production of pig iron.” (2)

Pig iron is crude, raw iron in its ingot form. It is the product of smelting iron ore with coke, a fuel produced from coal, in a blast furnace. Orwell uses the production of pig iron to show the state of society in 1984.  Concern over how much pig iron is being produced should not be high when there are other more valuable and more important metals to produce. This shows that the Party has its priorities in mass, low quality productions rather than fewer, high quality productions.

Works Cited: "pig iron." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 29 Mar. 2009.

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Blue Uniform

“He moved over to the window: a smallish, frail figure, the meagerness of his body merely emphasized by the blue overalls which were the uniform of the Party.” (2)

Orwell uses the uniform to symbolize the control that the Party has over its people.  By forcing its members to wear uniforms, the Party is removing freedom from the people, which is one of its main purposes. Blue overalls are the typical dress of a laborer, so the Party sees its members as nothing more than laborers, skilled workers following the Party’s orders.

A Lack of Color

“Outside, even through the shut window pane, the world looked cold.  Down in the street little eddies of wind were whirling dust and torn paper into spirals, and though the sun was shining and the sky a harsh blue, there seemed to be no color in anything except the posters that were plastered everywhere. The black-mustachio’d face gazed down from every commanding corner.” (2)

Orwell uses imagery to show how the Party, with Big Brother at its head, has taken life out of the world. Color is used to represent life, which society has lost due to Big Brother’s control. The man on the poster that Winston describes is Big Brother, the leading figure of the Party. Winston sees color in the poster, but in nothing else because Big Brother has removed all of the pleasures, interests, and benefits of life.  When Winston looks out into the street, he sees despair and drear because of a lack of color.

Tower of Truth

“A kilometer away the Ministry of Truth, his place of work, towered vast and white above the grimy landscape.” (3)

Orwell has created an alternate London for the setting of 1984, in which he places buildings like the Ministry of Truth, that belong to the Party.  The buildings belonging to the Party are taller, and more expansive than the buildings surrounding them, the ones that belong to the people of the city are smaller, and dingy, showing the differences in statures between the Party and the citizens.  The Ministry of Truth is symbolic of the control that the Party has over its people.  The Ministry towers over the other buildings like the Party towers over its people.


“Were there always these vistas of rotting nineteenth-century houses, their sides shored up with balks of timber, their windows patched with cardboard an their roofs with corrugated iron, their crazy garden  walls sagging in all directions? And the bombed sites where the plaster dust swirled in the air and the willow herb straggled over the heaps of rubble; and the places where the bombs had cleared a larger path and there had sprung up sordid colonies of wooden dwellings like chicken houses?” (3)

This is one of the first times that Winston starts questioning the motives of the Party.  Doubt and suspicion fill Winston’s mind as he looks out at the city.  He finds it hard to believe that everything the Party tells him about the history of the Party and the city is true.  The imagery that Orwell uses not only shows Winston’s suspicion, but it also shows the state of living at this point.