Historical Allusion in 1984

Historical Allusions in 1984
• The Parson’s children
spy on their parents
while they sleep.
• They set fire to a lady
who wraps her
sausages in
newspaper with an
image of Big Brother
on it.
• Hitler Youth before
and during World War
Historical Allusions in 1984
The steamer is a rocket bomb
and represents the V-I bomb
which was dropped on London
during World War II.
The bomb created terror
because it was unmanned and
would hum right up to the
moment it dropped.
Also called the ‘doodlebug.’
Historical Allusions in 1984
• Oceania is at war with Eurasia and Eastasia at various times.
Sometimes the change from ally to enemy is sudden.
This reflects how quickly the U.S.S.R. became an enemy of the U.S. and
Britain after World War II ended. The Cold War ensued.
Historical Allusions in 1984
Rationing was common in Britain, other European nations, Canada, and the
U.S. in World War II and for years after.
This is reflected in 1984 when the chocolate ration is reduced (but said to have
increased) and Mr. Parsons runs out of razor blades.
Historical Allusions in 1984
Big Brother is an allusion to Joseph Stalin, Russian dictator.
Historical Allusions in 1984
The Russian purges after the Russian revolution and before World War II are
reflected in the disappearances of characters such as Comrade Withers and the
majority of old people in the society.
An imagined place or state in
which everything is unpleasant
or bad, typically a totalitarian or
environmentally degraded one.
Elements of dystopian literature
• Act I is largely exposition,
establishing the
parameters of the society
and introducing the
• Usually some precipitous
event occurs toward the
end of Act I that
introduces the conflict
and begins the rising
• Act II contains most of the rising action as it follows the
attempts of the main character to either escape or change
the society.
• The climax—the point at which the character’s attempts to
fulfill his/her desire and the society’s attempts to thwart
him/her reach the point at which one side or the other must
win—usually occurs either at the end of Act II or the
beginning of Act III
• Act III contains the falling
action, the aftermath of the
action in Act II.
• The theme is derived from the
resolution of the plot: if the
attempt to escape is
successful, or the dystopian
society is changed, the novel
has a positive theme.
• If, however, the attempts at
escape or change fail, the
novel has a negative theme.
Characters in dystopian fiction
• Common characters in the dystopian
novel include:
• Representative of the powerful, those
in control.
• Representative of the “typical” citizen,
perfectly happy with the society or
blissfully unaware of the society’s
• At least one character disenfranchised
by the society, who desires either to
escape or to change.
Point of view
• The narrative point of view is almost always from the
inside… either a member of the society itself or someone
who enters it.
Themes of dystopian novels
• The individual is worth nothing more than a part of the
government machine
• Power resides with a dictator or large government
• Control is through communication, education, mass media
and popular culture. Military control plays a lesser role.
• The controlling party often encourages drug and alcohol
use, sexual promiscuity, rampant consumerism
Scapegoats are found to deflect blame for the suffering of
the people.
Who is the
scapegoat in
How does the
use him to
Two Minutes of Hate
Click photo
to see clip
from the
• The End