Orwell wrote at a time when communism seemed likely to spread across the word, which is a similar situation that we see today in some countries. Studying the Orwell’s works is relevant as it parallels with modern times. Orwell’s writing mostly focused on the nature of human in the society; his opinion about the non-democratic world and central authority focused in social and political areas. He wanted to educate people and expose everything he was against. Through the use of symbolism, extended metaphors and intensive imagery, Orwell wrote “naturalistic novels with unhappy endings, full of detailed descriptions and arresting similes” (Orwell, Why I Write) thus turning his harsh words into an art form.
In his essay, ‘Why I Write’, Orwell stated that he wanted to capture the truth of human nature. As exemplified in his story of poverty, Down and out in Paris and London; he captured the realism of life during the Spanish Civil War in Homage to Catalonia, and in The Road to Wigan Pier, Orwell studied human misery in an exploitative social order. In 1984, Orwell described utter and total hatred to people who are different, hate of evil and hate of all other humans. It is where love is described as absurd, and totally unnecessary. People are raised to hate, and hate is the primary emotion that people feel. The lack of love and kindness is what brings the society to a complete totalitarian state. Human beings instinctively crave love and care to thrive; without it, no one can experience happiness or freedom.
This works well for 1984 because of its hate-driven society; however the lack of love causes unrest with those who can see the importance of love. Orwell’s non-fictional works greatly differ from his fictional works though; they both constitute the same understanding of human decency. His fictional works contained many details with the use of imagery, themes and symbolism. On the other hand, Orwell’s non-fictional works is structured differently as he utilized a first person point of view, colloquial diction and a tone that points out the moral decency of humanity.
Orwell’s trend in his writing, since 1936, had been directly and indirectly against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism. Orwell confessed that he wrote “because there [was] some lie that [he wanted] to expose, some fact to which [he wanted] to draw attention, and [his] initial concern [was] to get a hearing [in the world’s politics]” (Orwell, Why I Write). While Communism might have exited the world stage in terms of competing for dominance, there needed to be a mindful and attentive presence taken against what happened when a central authority took over.
Orwell didn’t criticize the act of revolution itself but the misery it could cause if the leaders grow to be corrupt, shortsighted, greedy and indifferent. He wanted to expose the most important issue that affected everyone in the world. Animal Farm was the first book he wrote to expose the Soviet myth of socialism. Even in his finest fictional novels, Orwell conveys the same basis of human reality. Nineteen Eighty-Four explored his hatred towards totalitarianism and government security. Animal Farm was his satirical, allegorical and metaphorical masterpiece elucidating his abhorrence of Stalin’s dictatorship in the Soviet Union.
Orwell’s use of symbolism in 1984 reveals more about what he wanted to portray in a new creative way. His use of symbolism allowed readers to easily understand his message as well as appreciate his writing style simultaneously. For example, in 1984 Orwell used Big Brother as a symbol to represent the Party. The citizens were told that Big Brother is the leader of the nation and the head of the Party, but Winston could never determine whether or not he actually existed. In any case, the face of Big Brother symbolized the Party in its public manifestation; he is a reassurance to most people (the warmth of his name suggests his ability to protect), but he is also an open threat (one cannot escape his gaze). Big Brother also symbolizes the vagueness with which the higher ranks of the Party presented themselves—readers are left wondering who really rules Oceania, what life is like for the rulers, or why they act as they do.
Additionally, in Animal Farm he used the farm to symbolize Russia and the Soviet Union under a Communist Party rule. Generally, Animal Farm stands for any human society are it capitalist, socialist, fascist, or communist. The farm reflects the dynamics of a nation represented by animals: the government (the pigs), the police force or army as the dogs and the working class as the other animals. Its location amid a number of hostile neighboring farms supports its symbolism as a political entity with diplomatic concerns. Orwell portrayed detailed symbolism in 1984 and Animal Farm, keeping both novels renowned up to the day.
Orwell remains an important author as his themes reoccur in the twentieth century. His writing gives a sense of how life is a struggle but it is not to be feared – that fitting in and belonging need not be the most important goals in life. Orwell was willing to go out there and fight in trenches for what we believed and he wrote about what he thought was important. He was a great representational novelist, as seen in Nineteen Eighty-Four, for portraying the realities of mundane life in totalitarian societies in such original and artistic manner.