Metaphorical interpretation of the novel – 1984

1984 is a remarkable political novel written by George Orwell which conveys many significant messages to the society. The novel is a highly symbolic novel and possesses many literary devices like allusion, metaphors, and similes. Similes are basically an illustration of point through different concepts. Unlike similes, metaphors are a direct comparison of two separate ideas without using “as” or “like”. Though the list of metaphors in the novel 1984 is not exhaustive but they have multiple interpretations. Here are some of the metaphors discussed below.

Proles: Proletariat or the lowest working class of a society is represented by proles in the novel 1984. Like Marx, George Orwell also thought that these proles can wake up, unite and stand tall against the Party to snatch the freedom for every citizen. However, these proles are used to live savage life and they are unable to acknowledge their nature of oppression. They are huge in numbers, they fight against the Party but still, they are powerless. So in the novel of 1984, these proles are represented as the “hopeless” mass.

Rat: It represents fear and depravity. Though rats are small in size, they are considered as one of the most “beastlike” creatures. They bring curse as the form of disease like the plague. According to the 1984 novel, in society, there are humans who act beastlike. They can become the big brother of a society. These men will multiply their force like rats, which ultimately will make society full of human garbage.

Songs and music: Throughout the novel, this metaphor has played a crucial role to encourage proles. Music has made proles energized to fight for their parties and the same music has made them powerless. Propaganda music of party has made protagonist Winston become amazed. But the sound of birds has made him hopeful by the course of time. This represents a free culture, where music doesn’t belong to the state.

Dreams: In the novel, 1984 dreams foretell future and reveals critical information regarding the past. George had tried to represent the dream of a society by comparing it with Winston’s dream. Like every man, Winston dreams of a golden society where he can live with his love Julia without any intervention of the state or Party. However, the party has controlled Winston’s dream like any other person of a state. Police have suppressed his inner thoughts by brainwashing and elimination of past records or history. This ultimately kills his dreams and provoked a great question- who is responsible for his fate!

Winston’s mother: She comes only in Winston’s dream and indicates a peaceful past free of dominance. Loss of mother is represented as the loss of human contact. Being a child, during his adolescence, Winston never appreciates the selfless work of his mother. But in adulthood, he repeats same that has forced him towards paranoia. So, throughout the novel, Winston’s existence has been characterized by loss and alienation.

Using these metaphors, this novel has successfully represented every aspect of a society. Thus, still today 1984 is acknowledged as one of the best political novels.

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