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Laura Amy Schlitz

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Symbol 2: 1984

1984 by George Orwell 60second Recap Decoder Resources PageThe Glass Paperweight.

Call it the lone bright spot in this exceedingly dark novel. Call it a symbol of hope, a symbol of promise.

Call it another one of George Orwell’s unpleasant surprises in 1984.

Honestly now, you didn’t really think anything good was going to happen in this novel, did you?


George Orwell, 1949
Famous for: Big Brother, doublethink, and some of the 20th century's most memorable quotes: "He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

Learn about symbols such as the glass paperweight in literature such as 1984 by George Orwell | 60second Recap® Decoder™ study guidesRecap Nine: 1984

The Glass Paperweight.

It’s that little thing of beauty, that little symbol of hope that Winston discovers in Mr. Charrington’s shop. Unfortunately, that’s not all it stands for.

One of my favorite moments in 1984 occurs when Winston first encounters the glass paperweight with the coral suspended inside. You can almost feel his pleasure as he looks at it, admires its beauty, feels the weight of it in his hand.

1984 by George Orwell Symbol One 60second Recap

Recap Eight, 1984: Symbol One

Remember that Winston finds the paperweight after an almost-frantic search to find someone who can tell him about the past. The old guy Winston meets in the pub is no help, and after unsuccessfully pumping him for information, a glum Winston stumbles into the street and begins wandering. Soon he finds himself at Mr. Charrington’s antique shop. Soon, the beautiful glass paperweight is his.

But while the paperweight symbolizes Winston’s desire to connect with an authentic past—a past that hasn’t been fabricated by the Party—it also symbolizes something else:

1984 by George Orwell Final Analysis 60second Recap

Up Next…Recap Ten, 1984: Final Analysis.

Namely, the fact that there is no hope in this book.

Of course, Winston is eventually arrested by the Thought Police. Of course, the moment he’s arrested is when the paperweight shatters.

Of course I was completely crushed by this scene in the story.

Like Winston, I believed in what that paperweight stood for.

Like Winston, I was deluded.


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Another rule to remember:
Let those facts write your thesis statement for you.

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