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George Orwell

George Orwell . Nineteen-eighty four. Overview. The author The context of Nineteen Eighty-Four: Historical events reflected in the novel Humanity’s threat to civilisation Structure of the novel Style Themes and Issues Characters Tragedy or not?. The Author.

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George Orwell

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  1. George Orwell Nineteen-eighty four

  2. Overview • The author • The context of Nineteen Eighty-Four: • Historical events reflected in the novel • Humanity’s threat to civilisation • Structure of the novel • Style • Themes and Issues • Characters • Tragedy or not?

  3. The Author • Born Eric Blair 1903, died George Orwell 1949. • Classical education at Eton - won scholarship • Worked as a Colonial Officer in Burma – resigned 1927 • he hated authority • he hated being unjust ‘I knew I had a facility with words and a power of facing unpleasant facts.’ The hanging.

  4. Spain • Orwell discovers that the internal and international politics behind The Spanish Civil War are far more complicated that he first perceived. He wrote of history before this war. • A certain degree of truthfulness was possible so long as it was admitted that a fact may be true even if you don't like it.

  5. Orwell’s vision of humanity 1 • Recently another newspaper published photographs of the dangling corpses of Germans hanged by the Russians in Kharkov, and carefully informed its readers that these executions had been filmed and that the public would shortly be able to witness them at the new theatres. (Were children admitted, I wonder?) • There is a saying of Nietzche which I have quoted before, but which is worth quoting again: • He who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself; and if you gaze too long into the abyss, the abyss will gaze into you. • (As I please Tribune 1944)

  6. Orwell and the experience of the twentieth century. • Many critics accuse Nineteen Eighty-Four for being sado-masochistic. • Such a view comically denies the enormity of the evil that Orwell was exposed to in his life. • Nineteen Eighty-Four reflects the experience of the political life of the first fifty years of the twentieth century.

  7. Orwell’s vision of humanity 2. • What is your first reaction when you hear that droning, zooming noise? Inevitably it is a hope that the noise won't stop. You want to hear the bomb pass safely overhead and die away into the distance before the engine cuts out. In other words, you are hoping it will fall on somebody else. So also when you dodge a shell or an ordinary bomb -- but in that case you have only about five seconds to take cover and no time to speculate on the bottomless selfishness of the human being.

  8. Background to Nineteen Eighty-Four • The world of Nineteen Eighty-Four is based upon two totalitarian dictatorships, Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany. • The world of Ingsoc bears strong resemblances to the Soviet Union, but much of the detail of the life comes from Germany.

  9. Totalitarianism • The totalitarian state was based on boundless dynamism. Totalitarian society was a fully mobilized society, a society constantly moving toward some goal……Paradoxically, the totalitarian state never reached its ultimate goal. However, it gave the illusion of doing so. As soon as one goal was reached, it was replaced by another. (The history guide. The age of totalitarianism Stalin and Hitler.)

  10. The theories of Karl Marx were more than fifty years old when Lenin and the Bolsheviks seized power in October 1917. The response of people around the world was one of hope, that this was the beginning of an International workers’ movement that would bring Communism into existence.

  11. The reality was that Stalin rose to power, instituted a police state, developed a cult of personality around himself, and purged millions of people whom he thought might stand in his way. His capacity for cruelty was unprecedented in human history The reality was that Stalin rose to

  12. Stalin's Purges, 1935 • And in order, while doing so, to shield their puny group from exposure and destruction, they simulated loyalty to the Party, fawned upon it, eulogized it, cringed before it more and more, while in reality continuing their underhand subversive activities against the workers and peasants. (Soviet textbook 1935) www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1936purges.html

  13. Propaganda • EVER since I have been scrutinizing political events, I have taken a tremendous interest in propagandist activity. I saw that the Socialist-Marxist organizations mastered and applied this instrument with astounding skill. And I soon realized that the correct use of propaganda is a true art which has remained practically unknown to the bourgeois parties. • Mein Kampf by Adolf HitlerVolume One - A ReckoningChapter VI: War Propaganda

  14. The Nuremberg Rallies • After 1933, the rallies were held in the first half of September under the label of ("National Day of the (Nazi)Party of the German People"), which was meant to symbolize the solidarity between the German people and the Nazi Party. This point was further emphasized by the yearly growing number of participants, which finally reached over half a million from all sections of the party, the army and the state.

  15. Goebbels and the use of the radio • We do not intend to use the radio only for our partisan purposes. We want room for entertainment, popular arts, games, jokes and music. But everything should have a relationship to our day. Everything should include the theme of our great reconstructive work, or at least not stand in its way. Above all it is necessary to clearly centralize all radio activities, to place spiritual tasks ahead of technical ones, to introduce the leadership principle, to provide a clear worldview, and to present this worldview in flexible ways.

  16. Nineteen Eighty-Four and Himmler • How easy it was, thought Winston, if you did not look about you, to believe that the physical type set up by the Party as an ideal, - tall muscular youths and deep bosomed maidens, blond haired, vital, sunburnt, carefree –existed and even predominated • Nineteen Eighty-Four page 63.

  17. Hitler Youth • "My teaching is hard. Weakness has to be knocked out of them. In my Ordensburgen a youth will grow up before which the world will shrink back. A violently active dominating, intrepid, brutal youth - that is what I am after". Youth must be all those things. It must be indifferent to pain. There must be no weakness or tenderness in it. I want to see once more in its eyes the gleam of pride and independence of the beast of prey. "I will have no intellectual training. Knowledge is ruin to my young men. • (Herman Rauschning Hitler speaks 1939) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/GERyouth.htm

  18. O’Brien and Winston • ‘There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the processes of life…….always there will be the intoxication of power…. • Nineteen Eighty-Four page 280.

  19. The Role of Hitler Youth • In the schools it is not the teacher, but the pupils, who exercise authority. Party functionaries train their children to be spies and agent provocateurs. The youth organizations, particularly the Hitler Youth, have been accorded powers of control which enable every boy and girl to exercise authority backed up by threats. Children have been deliberately taken away from parents who refused to acknowledge their belief in National Socialism. The refusal of parents to "allow their children to join the youth organization" is regarded as an adequate reason for taking the children away. •  (School teacher letter to a friend 1938) www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/GERyouth.htm

  20. Humanity’s threat to Civilisation

  21. Civilisation and its discontents • Published in 1930 , Civilization and Its Discontents • Adolf Hitler's 1933 rise to power by democratic majority in Germany made Freud a personal historical witness to the phenomenon that he had previously attempted to account for in psychoanalytic terms in his writings.

  22. Aggression • [But] men are not gentle creatures who want to be loved, and who at the most can defend themselves if they are attacked; they are, on the contrary, creatures among whose instinctual endowments must be reckoned a powerful share of aggressiveness. Freud. • Always …..there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. (O’Brien Nineteen Eighty-Four pp.280)

  23. Hitler and Nineteen Eighty-four • "I am beginning to comprehend," he wrote, "some of the reasons for Hitler's astounding success. Borrowing a chapter from the Roman [Catholic] church, he is restoring pageantry and color and mysticism to the drab lives of 20th Century Germans. This morning's opening meeting...was more than a gorgeous show, it also had something of the mysticism and religious fervor of an Easter or Christmas Mass in a great Gothic cathedral. The hall was a sea of brightly colored flags. Even Hitler's arrival was made dramatic. The band stopped playing. There was a hush over the thirty thousand people packed in the hall. Then the band struck up the Badenweiler March...Hitler appeared in the back of the auditorium and followed by his aides, Göring, Goebbels, Hess, Himmler and the others, he slowly strode down the long center aisle while thirty thousand hands were raised in salute." The History Place http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/triumph/tr-will.htm

  24. Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego  (1921) • "In a church …the same illusion holds good of there being a head - in the Catholic Church, Christ; in an army its commander-in-chief - who loves all the individuals in the group with equal love. Everything depends on this illusion; if it were dropped, then both Church and army would dissolve..." www.freud.org.uk/religion8.html

  25. To Shirer, the intoxicating atmosphere inside the hall was such that “…every word dropped by Hitler seemed like an inspired word from on high. Man's - or at least the German's - critical faculty is swept away at such moments, and every lie pronounced is accepted as high truth itself.” The History Place http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/triumph/tr-will.htm

  26. Structure of the Novel • A novel that is also an essay • Important for students to know that Winston’s experience is typical of what happens to people in Ingsoc. • Winston’s journey to the Ministry of Love is inevitable from the time he picks up the diary.

  27. Ingsoc • Ingsoc a society which : Has no history Which completely ignores the value of the individual Where the capacity to use language for personal expression is under attack Where everyone controls what they are thinking

  28. Why Keep a diary? • Anne Frank keeps a diary to explore what she feels and reflect on what she knows. • She also keeps it as a way of comforting herself. • This activity is difficult for Winston because the activity of diary writing becomes impossible. No privacy exists. • ‘Big Brother is watching you.’

  29. Memory and Creativity • Remembers his mother. • His mother’s suffering. • His adult awareness of his mother’s suffering. • His mother’s loyalties. • Impossibility of feeling sorrow. • Julia and he make love because it is a political act

  30. Part 1 Chapter 5 • Syme ‘venemously orthodox.’ • Ability of Syme’s brain to disengage from reality, to think without feeling. • Parsons pathetic, ignorant, manipulated. • The nightmare of his children. • People’s capacity to ignore present suffering. • Duckspeaker in the midst of noise. • Bad food, crowded lifts

  31. Issues and themes • The attack on privacy • The attack on sex. • Destruction of history. • Value of memory. • An appreciation of the past. • Fallibility of the human mind.

  32. Characters • Winston. • Buys diary to communicate with future. • Regimented life. • ‘You had to live, did live, from habit that became instinct – in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinised.’ • Outraged by demands party makes on people’s intellects. • Outraged by party’s attempt to destroy sexual instinct. • Relationship with Julia allows him to feel human. • Capable of recalling and thinking. • ‘These fragments have I shorn against my ruin,’

  33. Julia • Julia not intellectual as is Winston • Resourceful, spontaneous, guiltless. • Julia natural, but has not thought to the degree Winston has. Falls asleep as Winston reads Goldstein. • Does not care if the party invented aeroplanes or not

  34. O’Brien • Contrast between O’Brien’s burly physique and elegant manners. • His manner draws Winston to him. • An indication of Winston’s despair. • When torturing, he adopts different personas. • Freud. • Perfect at doublethink.

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