1984 - 11/13/06 English 101 Professor Linker 1984: A...

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11/13/06 English 101 Professor Linker 1984 : A Comparison of Critical Interpretations “Is 1984 a prophecy that has or will soon—or at least soon could—come true?” (Beauchamp 249) This debate is at the forefront of our thoughts and has been since George Orwell published his dystopian novel in 1949. The suggestion of a gross and oppressive government displayed in 1984 offers grim hope for anyone expecting this horrific future to come true. In his column, writer Dan Maxwell purposes that “the world is turning into Orwell’s 1984” (2), while in contrast, Gorman Beauchamp trusts that Big Brother and the society of 1984 are not prophecy of a sinister future, but instead an attempt to prevent of one. In an in-depth analysis of two published interpretations of 1984 , it is evident that while many are eager to draw parallels between the Orwellian society and the present state of civilization, substantial evidence implies that this fictional world of Big Brother and the Thought Police is not intended to define our future. First, did Orwell write 1984 to illustrate a prediction for the future, or did he write it simply to serve as an allusion to the past, giving warning to future generations? Maxwell begins explaining that “because of the nature of the book’s setting, we breathe a sigh of relief knowing 1984 has come and gone harmlessly…” (1). However, Maxwell then proposes that 1984 is an enduring novel, regardless of the present year (2). In other words, 1984 is just as relevant and thought provoking today as it was in 1983. On the contrary, even though Beauchamp does concede that certain indications of 1984 are discernable in our society (251), he determines that “the real atmosphere and texture of 1984 reflect the Soviet Union of the 30s” (248) during
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Stalin’s rule of Russia; not the future of the United States. Although discussion of whether or not 1984 can be interpreted as a prediction for the future is all over the media, in most cases leading to the conclusion that we are living in our own “1984,” Beauchamp argues that if we really are living in Orwell’s grim dystopia, we would know it: “a boot stamping on one’s face is hard to miss” (249). 1984 illustrates such a brutal and oppressive government, that if Orwell did make a forecast that is coming true, it would be so obvious that there would be no debate about it. Moreover, the value of 1984 is not found in its predictions for the future, but in its effective warning of what the world could become (Beauchamp 250). When writing his novel, Orwell was able to contemplate the past and evaluate the world he was living in at the time in order to envision what the world could become, not what the world would become. Therefore, there never has been, and most likely never will be agreement on whether or not Orwell was making a prediction for the future of mankind, or if he was simply reflecting on the past to give warning for future generations. However, both authors offer convincing evidence on both sides of the
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This note was uploaded on 03/29/2008 for the course ENG 101 taught by Professor Cornett during the Fall '08 term at N.C. State.

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1984 - 11/13/06 English 101 Professor Linker 1984: A...

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