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1984

1984

by George Orwell

Tools of Characterization

Character Analysis

Clothing

Black overalls mean Inner Party member; blue overalls mean Outer Party member; waist sash means devotion to chastity; regular dress signifies Prole. Man, it sounds so conformed and restricted.

Speech and Dialogue

Oldspeak, just about every Party member in Oceania

Oldspeak is the common English language, basically. You and I speak it, but only because Newspeak has not been finalized yet. Watch out. Because the Party members get to speak it instead of hoi polloi (that’s fancy-shmancy for "the common folk"), it is evident that someone isn’t playing by the rules.

Newspeak, used in written works at the Ministry of Truth, but mostly is intended for the Future

Newspeak constitutes the Party’s attempt to uniformly control language, and thereby, thought, by "cutting language down to the bone" such that in the future, and definitely by the year 2050, subversive thoughts will not be possible. There simply won’t be words available for subversion. Try thinking "I hate exams" when you have no word for hate and no synonyms for it either.

Further, in Newspeak, all synonyms and antonyms are destroyed. Why would you need a word which is simply the opposite of another? Take the word "good," for one; words like "great," "bad," or "evil" are eliminated because one can always say "plusgood" or "doubleplusgood" or "ungood" or "doubleplusungood." What ever happened to the beauty, subtlety, and aesthetics of language? We’re thinking it went down those memory holes.

Prole dialect, Mr. Charrington and other proles

It seems to be just a Cockney accent, but all proles are segregated from the rest of the Party members by their differences in speech, among other aspects such as appearance, vocation, and living quarters. One example of their song in the Cockney or prole dialect is:

They sye that time ‘eals all things,
They sye you can always forget;
But the smiles an’ the tears across the years
They twist my ‘eartstrings yet!

Food

Inner Party members have real sugar, real bread, real coffee, real chocolate, real tea, real tobacco, wine, and cigarettes. Outer Party members consume saccharine, black bread, bitter coffee, bitter chocolate, Victory Cigarettes, and Victory Gin – all rationed out by the Party. The proles have very little to eat and are in a constant state of starvation.

Occupation

Inner Party members have the privilege of turning their telescreens off; Outer Party members are monitored 24/7 by telescreens; the proles are "free" from the constant monitoring of telescreens.

Location

Inner Party members live in luxurious and spacious residences, often with servants. Outer Party members have tiny apartments in the ironically named "Victory Mansions", or they share a hostel with others. Proles live in the prole districts, even dirtier than Victory Mansions.

Physical Appearances

The Proles are large, fat, and strong. Their skin is weathered by their lifestyle and livelihood. The Outer Party members are mostly thin and frail, but not altogether unhealthy looking. The only Inner Party member we know, O’Brien, is large and has an authoritative air about him. Physical deterioration can also show psychological decline. For instance, when O’Brien forces Winston to look in the mirror for a picture of "humanity," Winston cringes. His body has deteriorated along with his mind. When Winston recounts seeing Julia again after their mutual release from the Ministry of Love, he realizes that she has "thickened at the waist," most likely as a result of the torture.

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