3rd May 2017

1984 Quote Analysis

Theme- Breaking down of social fabric using the indoctrination of children.

Parsons- working class Party advocate sent to the Ministry of Love (effectively prison). Denounced by his 7 year old daughter for sleep talking.

“‘Down with Big Brother!’ Yes I said that! Said it over and over again it seems. Between you and me, old man, I’m glad they got me before it went any further. Do you know what I’m going to say to them when I go up before the tribunal? ‘Thank you,’ I’m going to say, ‘thank you for saving me before it was too late.'”

“Who denounced you?” said Winston. “It was my little daughter,” said Parsons with a sort of doleful pride. “She listened at the keyhole. Heard what I was saying, and nipped off to the patrols the very next day.”’

There are many ways The Party maintains control over the citizens of Airstrip One. Perhaps the method that seems most shocking to us in our lives today is children spying on their own parents. Today, with our modern family values, the idea of young children betraying their parents in favour of the impersonal state is appalling. However, Orwell is demonstrating the all encompassing control The Party has over every one of their members, regardless of age.

‘“Of course I’m guilty!” cried Parsons with a servile glance at the telescreen. “You don’t think the party would arrest an innocent man, do you?”

Here, Orwell reiterates the power of the Party by having Parsons remain subservient to them, even after committing thoughtcrime, a certain death. But even when he knows he’s doomed, Parsons shows no defiance of the Party and can’t even recognise the injustice of his situation, his brainwashed mind forcing him to accept the sacrifice of himself for the Party.

“It was still somehow slightly frightening, like the gambolling of tiger cubs which will soon grow up to be man-eaters.”

Here, early on in the book, Orwell sets the scene for the betrayal of Parsons by his daughter. By comparing Parsons kids to tiger cubs, he’s foreshadowing just how deadly the way that they’ve been raised will be to Parsons. In addition, the simile is making a comparison between tigers, brutal animals without consciences or the ability to think critically, and members of the Party, whose human qualities have been stripped away to make them easier to control.

“Already we are breaking down the habits of thought which have survived from before the revolution. We have cut the links between child and parent and between man and man and between man and woman. No one dares trust a wife or a child or a friend any longer. But in the future there will be no wives and no friends.”

The Party realises that they can’t remove the bond between parents and their children. So instead they morph it, twisting it into one that works in their favour, making the children put the state ahead of all else, including those that raise them.




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