Mood and Imagery in 1984

The mood of 1984 is extremely sorrowful and full of despair for the situation that the characters are going through. The government is controlling all aspects of their lives and it is dreary throughout. The reign of the totalitarian government is developed in detail throughout the entirety of the novel in different settings.

The mood in Winston’s apartment is similar to that of the rest of the novel, but the audience is aware that Winston is more comfortable in this location. Orwell depicts that “the hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats” which utilizes senses to explicitly describe the setting (Orwell, 1). Given the diction of the description which pulls on the senses of scent with extremely detailed and specific words, the audience knows that Winston is aware of his surroundings and is very cognoscente of his environment. The scents, however, are described in a pungent manner, which sets an unsettling tone.

At Winston’s workplace, the mood is very monotonous and overbearing. Winston works at the Ministry of Truth, which is the “enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete, soaring up, terrace after terrace, three hundred meters into the air” (4). The depiction was given at the beginning of the story which sets a mood for the remainder of the novel in regards of the Ministry of Truth. The detail of the physical depiction of Minitrue is full of luxury which sets the mood as one of control and power.

The apartment that Winston rents with Julia has a mood of comfort and character. This is depicted because Orwell explains that there is a “strip of carpet on the floor, a picture or two on the walls, and a deep, slatternly armchair drawn up to the fireplace.” (150). It is also important to recognize that he makes a point to evaluate the “old-fashioned clock with a twelve-hour face [which] was ticking away on the mantelpiece.” (150). This is interesting because, as an audience, we believe that a clock with twelve hours on it is very normal, but in the novel it is old fashioned. We imagine the other type clock to be one that shows twenty four hours which is military time. This resembles industrialism and war, which alters the mood to be harsh and fearful. D. The Ministry of Love has a mood that is combined of contradictions and juxtaposes because it is grotesque and sterile. The sterility is depicted by Orwell’s description of the “high ceilinged windowless cell with walls of glittering white porcelain” (231). This demonstrates the cleanliness and positive connotation of the setting, but there is also an old woman who is rotund, intoxicated, and obnoxious which contradicts the sterile environment.

The imagery in the novel is descriptive and brings light to each scene to ensure the reader is aware of the tone and experience that Winston has in each setting. In the depiction of Winston’s apartment, Orwell uses imagery to depict the scent that sounds to be overwhelming to the character, but it is stated in a very matter-of-fact manner which indicates that Winston is adjusted to the misery of the scent of old rags and boiled cabbage (1). The outside surroundings are also described at the beginning of the novel which seems dreary. There is little to no happiness outside and there are massive and intimidating posters pasted in multiple locations for viewing that remind citizens that “Big Brother is Watching You” (3). There really is absolutely no privacy for Winston and he understands the effects of rebellion against the Party. We know this initially because he makes a point to stare at the poster.

Winston’s place of work, the Ministry of Truth, has a stressful feeling and the imagery matches this tone. The government clearly controls Winston’s work very closely because they are the ones who inform him of what he must do to completely alter the written history of the nation and change what the public knows about political affairs of the Party. The building is described in a triumphant manner which implies that the government has control over all l that is good and is responsible for it. Also, the workspace for all workers, which is segregated into cubicles, is significant and parallel to the lack of collaboration that occurs outside of the work place because the government does not want the citizens to rebel together.

The apartment that Winston and Julia use for their personal affairs is also describes using plenty of diction that is straightforward but elicits emotion from the reader. The fireplace and bed by the window draw a picture in the reader’s mind that it is quaint and calm and relatively “inviting” (99). The lighting is also enabling the entire room to be visible so it seems as if there is no place for the Party to see them, although they are mistaken. This place is the only location through the entire novel that elicits a comfortable emotion and feeling from the reader because of the sensory description because it a getaway for the couple when they want to remove themselves from the sterility and monotony of everyday life in Oceania.

The Ministry of Love is the exact opposite of what is expected by its name. The Ministry is consumed by a lack of hope and extravagance of fear and sadness. The individual person is extremely lonely and there is no freedom to work together or speak and have a conversation. Orwell depicts the building to be “a maze of barbed wire entanglements” which indicated the struggle that it must take for one to endure the Ministry of Love (5). We know it must be difficult because of the names of the other Ministries and the contradiction between the name and the purpose. Also, the description of the inside, “high ceilinged windowless cell with walls of glittering white porcelain”, does not aid in the unappealing outside appearance (231). The simplicity of the design on the inside resembles that of a mental hospital in which people with psychological disorders reside to get medical attention. There is nothing in the space for them to ruin. This is similar to how Ingsoc ensures that there is no way for the citizens to ruin anything by scaring them.

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