Literary Concerns

Despite the life she brings to the book as entertainment, Julia's character does emerge as a weakness in consistency of the novel. Clearly from Winston's final conversion, a central theme of the book is the inescapability of the system. Within such a system, Winston who was born before the revolution is just about credible as a relic of the old era, but the young Julia is not. And yet, unlike the terrified and put- upon Winston, she is a free spirit: 'Life as she saw it was quite simple... You wanted a good time; "they", meaning the Party, wanted you to stop having it; you broke the rules as best you could.' Indeed, she does not care at all about the Party, the slogans, or what she is supposed to believe in. In other words, she is just the sort of person that the Party is ensuring does not exist: she is an anachronism in the novel's own terms - and one that cannot be explained away by Doublethink. However, if her existence was a possibility, her rebellion in the end is a more dangerous one than Winston's. As she says, 'What you say or do doesn't matter; only feelings matter.' And as is confirmed in the end, it is these very basic feelings that the Party needs to control to sustain itself.

Nineteen Eighty-Four has also been attacked for its other literary shortcomings. The narrative is basic and often seems only exists to contain the ideas the novel seeks to explore. Indeed as an essay on the extremes of power, O'Brien's indoctrination of Winston could almost stand alone. The dialogue is occasionally weak, and many of the characters - the proles, Parsons, Syme - feel caricatured and two- dimensional, existing only to illustrate a political point. Within the context of a satire, these shortcomings are forgivable, particularly the use of caricature. And, like the best satire, Nineteen Eighty-Four is not without its grim humour - from the 'novel-writing machines' to the pitiful Ampleforth the Party poet who is arrested for the use of the word 'God' in a Newspeak translation of Kipling:

'It was impossible to change the line. The rhyme was 'rod'. Do you realise that there are only twelve rhymes to 'rod' in the entire language? For days I had racked my brains. There was no other rhyme.'

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