In the novel ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’, the author, George Orwell employs a range of different techniques such as similes, metaphors and symbolism to unnerve and keep the reader in anticipation, impelling them to read on. The novel is in a third-person narrative style, this technique employed by Orwell creates a distance between the central character, Winston Smith and the reader. This vagueness adds tension and mystery to Orwell’s depiction, only allowing the characters emotion to be revealed through dialogue.
The narrative viewpoint also allows the reader to grasp an unbiased view of the character and his circumstances. Throughout these first couple of pages Orwell purposefully refuses to expand on things which confuse the reader. For instance, “The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats”, and simply doesn’t give an explanation why. This deliberate omission is employed to purely keep the reader on edge and impel him/her to read on. Another example of this is towards the end of the second page, “The Patrols did not matter, however.
Only the Thought Police mattered”. This line immediately grabs attention and creates suspense, but Orwell leaves it here. The reader is now left feeling insecure and leaves us questioning ourselves through mere confusion of what may be happening in this society. Another technique utilized by Orwell to disturb the reader is the use of unusual contradictions; an example of this is given in the first line. “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
” After reading this opening line the reader becomes confused because usual connotations of the word ‘Bright’ wouldn’t normally be associated with the word ‘Cold’. Therefore a ‘bright cold day’ would seem a little irregular but effectively creates atmosphere and tension, this poetic technique is called an ‘Oxymoron’. After this Orwell goes on to portray the clocks striking thirteen, this again, is a clever contradiction introduced by Orwell which directly unsettles the reader. The number thirteen itself is known as an unlucky number, associated with evil.
These unusually dark connotations all add to the obscurity of the feeling Orwell is trying to depict and leave the read mystified about what is going to happen. In addition to this Orwell applies various similes, metaphors, repetition and symbolism to convey different emotions across to the reader. An example of the similes used is on the second page, “a helicopter skimmed down between the roofs, hovered like a bluebottle”. This clever expression compares the hovering helicopter with a bluebottle fly.
The helicopter “snooping” about annoying and hassling people just like the hovering pest Orwell wants it to be related with. The repetition used within these two pages is based around the block capital written captions, “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU”. These headings are repeated twice; they are outstanding and emphasize the authority and presence of this establishment. Again, Orwell doesn’t go into detail about what this organization symbolizes or stands for; he simply proceeds with the descriptions.
This lack of knowledge of ‘Big Brother’ leaves the reader wanting to know more about what control this unexplained leader has over the society. Furthermore, the symbolism which exploits this society’s conduct with their people is portrayed through Winston Smith, the main character. “Was thirty nine-nine and had a varicose ulcer above his right ankle” and “a small, frail figure, the meagreness of his body… ” These descriptions of Winston prove that this society run by strangers, is under the unhealthiest of commands and nobody, especially Winston is treated correctly.
These descriptions leave the reader with sympathy for Winston but still in a fearful atmosphere and anxious of what is going to happen. In conclusion to the question, George Orwell has employed successful and intelligent techniques that keep the story on a suspenseful edge whilst the reader and Winston Smith remain within a mysterious distance of each other. The distance is ample enough for the reader to be optimistic and impelled to go on.