In this extract from the dystopian novel “Ingsoc” by George Orwell, the two main themes are the totalitarian government and the inevitability of death. The author uses graphological features to relate the extract to these two themes by describing a negative, dark and sinister government controlling Oceania.
In the first line of the extract the author uses “…”, this use of morphology is there to show that the sentence is a continuation of a previous one, which again states that this is an extract. The author uses ideology through “sacred principles” to show that the rules in this totalitarian state are worshiped and seen as godly. The writer’s pragmatics is to show that the Oceanic people’s culture and traditions are based on respecting their sacred principles. In the first paragraph a lot of short sentences are used to capture and alert the reader, this prevents the reader from forgetting what has happened at the beginning of the sentence. In line two the author introduces an unknown character “he” to begin focusing this extract on “him”, conveying his thoughts and feelings as well. Between lines two and three the author introduces a negative state of mind in the protagonist through using “wandering in the forests of the sea bottom”.
This is pursued by the reader as though “he” is drowning in society’s negative impact on his world. In the line 3 the author again brings in the theme of a totalitarian government, by bringing in darkness through the description of a “monstrous world”. This can be seen as a reflection to the real world where politics is destroying our mind sets and the wars occurring are the secret ingredient that is further developing the monster of our world. The author describes how society is again influencing the protagonist’s life by stating that “he himself was the monster”, society is what makes him feel this way.
Between lines seven and eight the writers’ use of diction summarises the atmosphere Oceania is ruled under. “WAR IS PEACE” is a lexical field describing the contrasting environments that state how much the society where he lives is very militaristic. “FREEDOM IS SLAVERY” surprises the reader because it creates a confusion on how slavery; the process of using and abusing a minority too work, is considered as freedom? It shows that people in the outer-party live in slavery. It also relates back to the theme of inevitable death because it creates an unthinkable thought of something worse than slavery, and slavery being the easy way out. “IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH” as well is a quote contradictory by definition but means that no matter what the totalitarian government says or commands the people will follow without question.
At the end of line ten and beginning of line eleven the author states that even on a coin the eyes of the government are planted, “from the coin the eyes pursued you”. This is an emphasis on how controlling the government is in Oceania, it creates a sense of loss of political power. Usually most countries run on democratic systems which comes from the Ancient Greek meaning “Power to the people”. The people have the power to choose, they have the power to decide for themselves and they have the power to elect; nonetheless Oceania seems to run on a more traditional system of power to only one group or one man.
This paints a dark, oppressive and hopeless image in the readers mind, the writer is able to change the tone of the reading through drilling a depressed view of the world and the rest of the protagonist’s life. Line fourteen introduces the idea of suffocation “enveloping you”, as if the author’s semantics is to relate the state of Oceania to a closed, gated arena of fighting for political power; where innocent people are trapped under its influence and slowly what is known to them as beauty is drained out of them until they transform to enslaved zombies. At the end of line fifteen the author again strengthens the idea of an imprisoned continent through the word “skull” where the theme of inevitable death is at its peak. “Skull” is a negative connotation that is related to death. The last sentence of line seventeen the author uses the lexical item “bombs” to exaggerate that no matter what the political influence can never be broken.
George Orwell introduces the emotion of fear, by including the police in his description of the totalitarian government of Oceania, “not even an anonymous scribble on a piece of paper can survive”. This has can be portrayed as a link between the totalitarian governments of Oceania to the totalitarian President and dictator of Chile, Agosto Pinochet, who was arguably the cruellest ruler in Chilean history. During his reign between 1973 and 1990, 30,000 people were tortured and many went missing and around three thousand are still to be found until today. During Pinochet’s rule the people of Chile dared not to disobey the rules as they were filled with the fear of becoming one of the many taken. This relates to the Oceanic people who are afraid of rebelling against their ruling government and just do what is demanded of them. In line 25 the author relates to the militaristic society by mentioning a military way of telling the time “telescreen tuck fourteen”, again this gives the impression of an organised, strict battalion of people under punctual rules.
However in the line 27 the author introduces the first positive feeling of hope and individuality by giving the protagonist a “new heart”. He begins thinking positively and the author is also able to relax the reader, because the extract has been so intense that finally the light has shined on the protagonist and he realises that “staying sane” is how you carry “human heritage” not by being heard.
To conclude the author uses the term “you” a lot during the extract to involve the reader more and to make them feel as the protagonist is feeling. More importantly, in my opinion the purpose of this extract is to state that no matter how dark or hateful your life is at the moment; always stay sane because eventually the light will shine on you and you will figure out how to have freedom in an environment where being free is impossible.