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1984 George Orwell: How Is Irony Used In Ch. 1???

734 words - 3 pages

Throughout Chapter 1 of 1984, the reader is exposed to the many kinds of manipulation that the government uses to control the people of Oceania. The Party uses numerous examples of verbal and dramatic irony as part of its campaign to exercise its dominance over the people and control their daily actions.Verbal irony, an incongruity that has a deeper significance than the surface meaning, is displayed throughout the society of 1984 in Chapter 1. The primary theme of this chapter deals with Winston's desire to write down his deeply felt thoughts about the Party. Winston is scared to open his diary because he is scared of being "punished by death, or at least by twenty-five years in a forced-labor camp" (9). This happens to be ironic because the Party has said that nothing is illegal, "there were no longer any laws" (9). Everyone in Oceania, where Winston lives, is scared of breaking many laws, none of which exist. Many people are frightened of what is not familiar to them. The ...view middle of the document...

"The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats" (5), "[the lift] was seldom working" (5), and a lot of dust swirled inside as Winston hustled into the building. The name, Victory Mansions, has no resemblance to the shape that it is in and most of the characters, except Winston, seem completely comfortable with this incongruity. Another instance of this kind of irony is presented with the names of the ministries. The Ministry of Peace, Minipax, is not involved with peace, but instead, with war, the exact opposite. Similarly, the Ministry of Truth, Minitrue, is involved with the news, which, as depicted in later chapters, tells nothing but lies. The audience realizes that these names do not make sense, but the people of Oceania do not realize it. In fact, the newspeak names of these two ministries both begin with mini, meaning small or little. It is a further example of the irony used throughout that the ministry, Minipax, which is supposed to be concerned with peace, actually has very little concern for peace. Likewise, Minitrue has very little concern with truth.One last example of dramatic irony is expressed with the slogan of Big Brother: "WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH" (7). The people of Oceania live by Big Brother's slogan, which is found everywhere around the city, along with the picture of Big Brother and his following eyes. War does not equal peace and freedom does not equal slavery; they are exact opposites. The citizens of 1984 do not recognize that this slogan does not make sense, but the reader does. The people of Oceania are unknowledgeable of the power of Big Brother and the Party, and the many ways that their minds and actions are manipulated. The characters are unknowing of many things surrounding them including how the Party impels the ignorance of the dramatic irony in society.Many aspects of the city, including its features, buildings, and general surroundings, work together to manipulate the people's minds using various examples of dramatic and verbal irony. Since the people of 1984 are constantly controlled by Big Brother and the telescreens, they are never given the time or opportunity to think for themselves or notice that their whole town is filled with irony.

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