Imagery and Diction 1984

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Imagery and Diction Orwell’s 1984 In the opening scenes of 1984, George Orwell established the dystopian setting of the novel. Winston Smith, the protagonist, despairs in the bleak world of Oceania. Through the use of imagery and diction, the author establishes the decaying and menacing nature of this society. Through the imagery, the author conveys the decay apparent in Oceania. The narrator claims that the hallway of the building in which Winston lives “smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats”. This initial image exposes the dilapidating condition of this society, for it is a world that smells and is offensive to its citizens. Not only does this society offend the sense of sight. The imagery of the “rotting nineteenth – century homes,” suggest that the society of Oceania is not moving forward because it is still trapped in the past. The citizens of Oceania are made to feel the decay of the society in their own body. Winston describes having a “varicose ulcer above his right ankle”. This image explains to us how human nature is being blocked from people of Oceania causing pain and suffering. It gave us a clear image of how much power Big Brother and the Inner Party have over the society. The diction establishes the menacing nature of this society. The narrator also says that the “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen”. This gives us a sense of contradiction because April is during the spring. Moreover, clocks only have twelve numbers, but the author states the clock was at thirteen. These contradictions help bring in the harsh conditions, making the audience feel grief or pain for Winston. Another example would be, “Big Brother Is Watching You”, which also contradicts on how a brother should act and how this figure acts towards its society. Big brother is more like a symbolic figure to the society symbolizing
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