Significance of the Paperweight to the Novel “1984” by George Orwell
In the haunting novel 1984, George Orwell efficiently alerts his readers about the risks of totalitarianism and the horrific steps governments want to take in order to sustain power over its individuals. In order to produce the preferred result and impart fear among his readers, Orwell wove a powerful story that can be admired as a literary masterpiece. His work is plentiful in literary gadgets that serve to enhance the text and give the story more depth. Of these gadgets, importance is possibly the most effectively utilized.
Orwell makes use of a variety of various symbols in order to perform various functions such as the foreshadowing of various events, advancement of the setting, development of the dreary mood, unveiling of the real natures of the characters, introduction to and support of themes, etc. He uses a vast variety of symbols such as an old diary, a supposedly heretical book, a picturesque landscape known as the ‘Golden Nation’, a painting of a church, the technologically innovative television and surveillance tool referred to as the ‘telescreen’, a singing thrush, and most significantly, a glass paperweight.
The paperweight is the single most significant symbol in the story because unlike the other signs, it embodies all the literary aspects of the unique and combines the ideas and functions of all the other signs. Every sign mentioned in the text has its significance and plays some sort of literary function. The old journal Winston writes in introduces the dispute of the novel since it reflects Winston’s inner desire to look for fact and verify his peace of mind.
The diary also characterizes Winston’s rebellious nature and gives more depth to his character given that it reflects on his inner most ideas. Goldstein’s book represents false hope and the concepts expressed in it reinforce the theme of totalitarianism. The Golden Nation represents Winston’s idea of a utopian setting where flexibility exists and this works as a contrast to the current setting, therefore magnifying its dystopia. The painting of the church likewise represents flexibility and the idyllic past and the nursery rhyme connected with it foreshadows the downfall of Winston and Julia.
On the other hand, the highly advanced security tools referred to as ‘telescreens’ represent the degree of power and influence the federal government has over its society and this enhances the style of totalitarianism. Additionally, the thrush portrays Winston’s inner desire to express himself and his yearning to be free. Overall, all these various signs have a literary function of some sort whether it is introducing the conflict, identifying the characters, establishing the setting, or reinforcing the styles.
Although all the symbols discussed above may play a certain role in molding the novel, the paperweight is the most efficient. In the novel, Winston buys the glass paperweight when he wanders through an antique store. His attention is caught by its beauty and he pays $4. 00 for it. He describes it as: “a heavy swelling of glass, curved on one side, flat on the other, making practically a hemisphere. There was a strange softness, since rainwater, in both the color and the texture of the glass. At the heart of it, amplified by the curved surface area, there was an odd, pink, convoluted object that recalled a rose or a sea polyp” (95 ).
The store owner then informs Winston that the pink things at the heart of the glass is a coral and he discusses the rarity of such an object. What attract Winston the most about the paperweight is “the air it seemed to have of belonging to an age quite various from today one” (96 ). He finds it a lot more appealing due to the fact that of its obvious uselessness and the fact that it might be gorgeous for the sake of being stunning. This paperweight represents the idyllic past where charm existed and the reality that not whatever needed to be useful in order to be valued.
This sets the contrast between the current setting of the unique and the past, therefore magnifying the current dreariness. In addition, the truth that Mr. Charrington mentions that not so many people would appreciate the appeal of the paperweight nowadays suggests that the existing society has a dismissive view on stunning things, especially things that do not seem to serve a specific function. Individuals’s absence of gratitude for charm depicts the importance the society places on utilitarianism. Since the coral represents the past, this absence of appreciation likewise portrays the society’s weakening association with the past.
Additionally, the rarity of the coral and the reality that Winston sees it as a symbol for his relationship with Julia imply that such a relationship in the Oceanic society is really rare and no longer valued. Unlike the ‘Golden Nation’ and the painting of the church, not only does the paperweight represent the appeal of the past, but it likewise depicts the society’s weakening connection to the past and its dismissive view on both appeal and relationships. The paperweight likewise presents the dispute of the unique, which is Winston’s desperate battle to find the reality and his effort to rebel versus the government.
The coral in the center represents rarity and the truth that it is embedded in the glass and can not be touched depicts Winston’s issue: he would like to know the past and reconnect to it, but too many barriers surround it, avoiding him access. Additionally, when Winston sees Julia outside the antiques shop and he visualizes squashing her with the paperweight, this portrays his desire to rebel versus the government and damage it with the past: “He might keep on her track till they remained in some peaceful location, and then smash her skull in with a cobblestone. The piece of glass in his pocket would be heavy enough for the job” (102 ).
Although the diary also represents the dispute of the novel, the paperweight presents the problem with more depth. The journal simply exposes Winston’s desire to look for reality and rebel against the government, however the paperweight provides the difficulty of his pursuit of reality and his effort to rebel versus the federal government through using the past. The paperweight plays a crucial role in establishing Winston’s character and his relationship with Julia. Winston’s gratitude for the paperweight reflects his appreciation of appeal and his desperate desire to reconnect with the past.
When the glass paperweight supplies the setting for one of his dreams about his mother, it shows Winston’s association of love with the past, which discusses his longing for previous relationships and mindsets. Additionally, the fact that Winston buys the paperweight despite the truth that such an act would excite suspicion represents his defiant nature. Additionally, when Winston views the coral inside the paperweight as a symbol for his relationship with Julia “repaired in a sort of eternity at the heart of the crystal,” his quixotic nature is unveiled because the idea of ‘eternity’ does not exist in 1984.
This foolish optimistic nature is enhanced when he gazes into the heart of the paperweight “with the feeling that it would be possible to get inside that glassy world which as soon as inside it time might be arrested. Their luck would hold indefinitely, and they would carry on their intrigue, similar to this, for the rest of their natural lives” (151 ). This understanding likewise portrays the marriage-like bond in between Winston and Julia and how their relationship embodies previous relationships that no longer exist.
However, the fact that the paperweight is constructed of glass depicts the fragility of the relationship due to the fact that it exists in a society lacking such relations. The paperweight foreshadows the couple’s failure and the loss of their love towards one another. The downfall of the couple is foreshadowed in numerous different ways throughout the novel; however, the paperweight is the only symbol that foreshadows both their failure and the destruction of their bond. This can be seen when the paperweight crashes and the coral is lost: “The garment of coral, a tiny crinkle of pink like a sugar rosebud from a cake, rolled across the mat.
How small, thought Winston, how small it constantly was!” (223 ). The truth that the coral is much smaller sized than Winston had expected implies that his relationship with Julia is not as strong and effective as he had actually imagined. Winston at first believes that his relationship with Julia is quite strong and he informs O’Brien that he would never betray Julia. The relationship fills him with hope and he thinks that like the coral, the relationship is “repaired in a sort of eternity”( 147 ). However, since Winston’s understandings are generally paradoxical, this extremely optimistic view foreshadows that the relationship will eventually end.
Furthermore, the reality that the paperweight is constructed of glass reflects on the fragility of the relationship and foreshadows its damage. This is seen when both Julia and Winston betray each other once they are recorded and their ties are thus permanently lost just as the paperweight had foreshadowed. Among the many signs pointed out in the novel, the glass paperweight is maybe the most significant. Not only does it combine all the functions of the other signs, but it likewise presents all the literary elements of the novel and supplies each one of these aspects with excellent depth.
It marks the existing setting of the unique and offers the reader with an informative view on both Winston’s character and his relationship with Julia. The paperweight likewise serves to present the dispute of the unique and strengthens all the styles presented by the other symbols. Therefore, the paperweight is the most important literary gadget made use of by Orwell and in the lack of such a device, 1984 would not have obtained its present imminence and effect on its audience. Bibliography:1984– George Orwell