How does and why Orwell use Symbolism in 1984
Orwell’s use of symbols in 1984 is incredibly important in the dystopian environment of 1984. It depicts the characters attempt to remember the past and bring a sense of appreciation to what life was like before the totalitarian powers being the party, took over. For example the glass paperweight is a key symbol in the novel, as it connects and reminds Winston of his past therefore wakening more rebellious senses as the novel goes on. This is crucial as his attempts to reconnect to his memories as any cost, therefore the possible consequence being him “vaporized” and vanished from history.
Another example of symbolism are the telescreens “The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it; moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard.” These are briefly presented earlier on in the novel. The use of these telescreens to gain full control over the citizens of Oceania therefore placing them in every Apartment and also possibly street, to monitor the people’s activity day to day. Any form of wrong doing or suspicious behaviour is then seen by the Thought Police and is immediately reported as insubordinate behaviour therefore possibly leading to rebellion. This is significant as it links to the themes of power. The party taking over and wanting total control over each citizen, suggests the fear is also implemented by using these technologies such as telescreens, but also as a sort of propaganda to merely remind the citizens that they are being watched which also links to the posters of a Josef Stalin lookalike with the slogan overall it shows the governments surveillance and manipulation.
Linking to Winston’s past there is a different example of Orwell using symbolism to spark Winston’s idea of the past. For example the old picture of St. Clements Church in Mr. Charringtons shop is yet another representation of Winston’s past. However as Winston admires the picture, he associates it with a known song in which he remembers from the past “Here comes the chopper to chop of your head!” This is significant and therefore foreshadows later event, as Winston does not realise that there is a hidden telescreen behind the picture which later on leads to his arrest by the though police, which symbolises the parties control of the past and the present. Symbolically while the Thought police arrests Winston, the glass paperweight shatters into pieces which suggests that the parties has control over the past therefore destroys it.
With all the attempts of Winston reconnecting to his past, he does not understand the main ideas therefore struggles to assemble the memories into one overall picture of Oceania and what has happened to the world. It became therefore nearly impossible for people to remember the past as the Party gains total control over peoples mind which assures that the citizens will not ask questions nor be eager to learn the truth if they do not know what the real truth is.