Criticism on George Orwell’s 1984
Sydney Muscat Mrs. Kimber ENG 4U 6 May 2013 The Insanity of the Last Man Insanity is a label produced by society in order to imprison its dreamers. It is frequently normal to lock up critics of harsh commands, since creative people can be dangerous to totalitarian control. The important essay “George Orwell and the Mad World: The Anti-Universe of 1984” by Ralph A. Ranald goes over the style of controlled insanity and of a reverse society in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Ranald argues that Nineteen Eighty-Four has to do with “… religious beliefs reversed, law and government reversed, and above all, language reversed: not just damaged, but reversed” (Ranald 251). He refers to Winston as an “antihero” (Ranald 250), and “implies the ability to have one’s mind changed, however in the condition of “regulated insanity”” (Ranald 251). Ranald claims that through the breakdown of interaction, the discomfort of “all” (Ranald 251) human relations and the “passive” (Ranald 253) attributes of Winston Smith that the society can be exposed as “mad” (Ranald 251) in Oceania, however this is inaccurate.
Nineteen Eighty-Four uses interaction to spread its totalitarian messages, exposes a love between relationships and exposes Winston as an active personality in the pursuit of rebellion. Ranald’s primary argumentative concept about interaction is that it is collapsing in Nineteen Eighty-Four when truly, it is growing. His viewpoint on the “… breakdown in communication– not extension however breakdown …” (Ranald 251) is weak due to the fact that the only way Huge Brother has power is by its influence on messages.
Telescreens in the unique were the most essential kind of interaction utilized. They were bi-directional, pushing propaganda while acting as a security video camera in every room, it “might be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off entirely” (Orwell 3). From every square and street, the signs and propaganda for “the face of a man of about forty-five, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome features” (Orwell 3) overcome you.
To state that “the intentional, handled breakdown in communication … at the linguistic level and undoubtedly in all media …” (Ranald 251) is a “… master style” (Ranald 251) of Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four is unreasonable, as communication simply from “A single flicker of the eyes could give you away” (Orwell 39). It is the huge function of interaction that keeps individuals like Winston scared of Big Bro, and enhances the plot of the novel. Despite the hurt in between a lot of relationships throughout Nineteen Eighty-Four, to say that “all human relationships are based on discomfort” (Ranald 251) in the novel is incorrect.
Although I would agree that the O’Brian-Winston interactions would classify under pain, the Winston-Julia relationship has to do with desire. Ranald fails to see that not all “humans interact … by inflicting pain on each other …” (Ranald 252) Winston’s love for Julia is what kept him alive for so long, for at “the sight of the words I enjoy you the desire to stay alive had welled up in him, and the taking of minor threats suddenly seemed dumb” (Orwell 115).
This quote shows that not all relationships are based upon discomfort, just manipulated that method to make people scared of defying the party. By showing the “… simple undifferentiated desire: that was the force that would tear the Celebration to pieces” (Orwell 132), stopping the power of Big Sibling. Ranald’s views on Winston’s character are unreliable and weak due to the fact that it represents Winston as an “antihero” (Ranald 250), “passive and not self-aware” (Ranald 253), when in fact his character represents hope and humanist views for all readers.
Winston’s bravery, although sometimes examined, can not be dismissed. Acts such as believed criminal activity and purchasing from the black market, as well as rebellion to Huge Bro with Julia through defiance are not considered “passive” (Ranald 253). At the Ministry of Love, his encounter with O’Brian is heroic: O’Brien held up his left hand, its back towards Winston, with the thumb concealed and the four fingers extended. ‘The number of fingers am I holding up, Winston?’ ‘Four.’ ‘And if the Party says that it is not 4 but 5– then how many?’ ‘Four’ (Orwell 261-262).
Although Winston understood he would be tortured for his answer, he declined to provide into Big Sibling’s methods, a real hero and the last bit of humankind in Oceania. Winston only finally gives up because in “the face of pain there are no heroes” (Orwell 251). Reading Ranald’s criticism on Nineteen Eighty-Four was frustrating since his argumentative points were flawed. Although it made one think about the insanity of Oceanian government, in addition to the reversed society, it didn’t persuade the audience to believing that what he was saying was unquestionably real.
Ralph A. Ranald couldn’t prove that the communication was degrading, every relationship was based upon discomfort or that Winston’s character was a by-stander throughout the novel. To agree with everything Ranald had said, that, would be madness. Works Cited Ranald, Ralph. George Orwell and the Mad World: The Anti-Universe of 1984. Vol. 7. GaleGroup, 250-254. Print. Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four. New York City, New York, USA: Penguin Group,1954. Print.