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Laura Amy Schlitz

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Symbol 1: 1984

1984 by George Orwell 60second Recap Decoder Resources PageBig Brother.

He’s the leader of the nation.
He’s the head of the Party.
He’s a reassurance.
He’s a threat.
He exists in the past.
He lives in the present.
He’s immortal.
He’s one of the main symbols in 1984 by George Orwell.

1984

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.”

Symbols in Literature Literary Analysis 101

Find out more about symbols in literature in the Recap Resource.

Recap Eight: 1984 

Orwell’s Dystopia: Big Brother and You

Tired of getting the third degree from your parents? Tired of feeling like your life is under a microscope? Then you wouldn’t do very well in the world of 1984. In George Orwell’s twisted society, there’s always someone watching.

Big Brother is everywhere:

Remember that Winston encounters posters of his picture all over London. Always with the warning (the reassurance?) that Big Brother Is Watching You.

1984 by George Orwell Motifs 60second Recap by Jenny Sawyer

Recap Seven, 1984: Motifs

Now, on a very basic level, Big Brother symbolizes the Party in its public form.

Big Brother is the Party’s face. Both a promise, and a threat.

On a deeper level, Big Brother symbolizes the fiction on which the Party is built.

The Party’s past is fiction, based on fake history that Winston and his co-workers in the Ministry have conjured up. The party’s present is a fiction, an ever-rising pile of fake economic reports and fake military dispatches.

1984 by George Orwell Symbol Two 60second Recap

Up Next…Recap Nine, 1984: Symbol Two

Big Brother is the culminating manifestation of the lies upon lies upon lies that the Party uses to maintain absolute control.

There’s no substance to the Party’s lies (just like there’s no substance to Big Brother) but with no facts and no truth to prove otherwise, the Party—and Big Brother—remain untouchable.

The absence of truth. In the end, that’s what makes Big Brother so powerful…and so strangely, perversely God-like.

 

 


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