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Conformity vs. Humanity An analysis of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.

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Presentation on theme: "Conformity vs. Humanity An analysis of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four."— Presentation transcript:

1 Conformity vs. Humanity An analysis of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four

2 Conformity is the loss of one’s moral sense, that which makes us human.  Winston remembers when he stole chocolate from his mother and baby sister.  Mr. Parson’s daughter turns him in to the Thought Police for saying, “Down with Big Brother!”  = 5

3 Symbolism: Winston Steals Chocolate “His mother’s anxious eyes were fixed on his face. Even now she was thinking about the thing, he did not know what it was, that was on the point of happening. His sister, conscious of having been robbed of something, had set up a feeble wail. His mother drew her arm round the child and pressed its face against her breast. Something in the gesture told him that his sister was dying. He turned and fled down the stairs, with the chocolate growing sticky in his hands….The dream was still vivid in his mind, especially the enveloping, protecting gesture of the arm in which its whole meaning seemed to be contained” (167).

4 This act symbolizes Winston’s obedience to social pressure. The chocolate is something of value, something that was rationed and therefore rare, and thus something that Winston “robbed” from the hands of his helpless baby sister. The chocolate represents the prize – a sweet sensation – that conformity seems to promise. In choosing to steal the chocolate, Winston caves in to the pressure and sacrifices his mother’s love, and her life, for this gift from Big Brother.

5 Juxtaposition: Winston’s act & his mother’s protective arm His mother’s love, as symbolized by the protective gesture of her arm, is used to shield her baby from such social pressure. She presses the baby’s face to her breast, which also represents a nurturing sort of love. His mother tries to protect the innocent purity of her baby; she tries to maintain a sense of humanity amidst the cold and heartless society that Winston has succumbed to. Winston stealing chocolate = inhumane conformity His mother’s protective arm = humanity

6 Anaphora, Analogy, Metaphor “When the last of the chocolate was gone, his mother had clasped the child in her arms. It was no use, it changed nothing, it did not produce more chocolate, it did not avert the child’s death or her own; but it seemed natural to her to do it. The refugee woman in the boat had also covered the little boy with her arm, which was no more use against the bullets than a sheet of paper” (168).

7 Conformity vs. Humanity “What mattered were individual relationships, and a completely helpless gesture, an embrace, a tear, a word spoken to a dying man, could have value in itself. The proles, it suddenly occurred to him, had remained in this condition. They were not loyal to a party or a country or an idea, they were loyal to one another….The proles had stayed human” (169).

8 Connections Plato’s cave allegory – our blind faith in the illusion of truth World War II and the internment of Japanese-Americans Meritocracy and homelessness Bullying in school


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