1984-George Orwell How Does the Writer Use Language to Create a Sense of Place?

  • January 02, 2021/
  • 1984

1984-George Orwell How does the writer use language to create a sense of place? Orwell uses a solemn tone for the foundations of anguish in the extract from Nineteen Eighty-Four. This tone is used to firstly set the scene with the use of adjectives: ‘vile’ and gritty’ to describe the poor weather. These have negative connotations and therefore allow the reader to understand the melancholy and depressing scene that is being set. The effect of the pathetic fallacy when the wind is described as ‘vile’ portrays a comfortlessness of the world around Winston but also reflects his underlying feelings of disgust with it.
The irony of the name of his apartment block ‘Victory Mansions’ reiterates these feelings as ‘Victory’ implies happiness and joy when all he experiences is harshness, and ‘Luxury’ implies ease and wealth when he leads a life of dilapidation and squalor. As the description continues into the hallway of his apartment block, the sense of place is addressed by the poster on the wall. It is explained as being ‘too large for indoor display’ and depicting ‘simply an enormous face’.
The size of the poster, emphasised by the adjectives: ‘large’ and ‘enormous’ illustrate the true reason for the poster; primarily for control. This shows the sense of state power and oppression of the individual in Winston’s world. This sense of control is emphasised again later in extract when we discover the caption under the poster reads: ‘BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU’. The direct object pronoun ‘you’ personalises the poster to the immediate viewer and therefore along with the presentation of the words being in capitals makes it more effective.

Overall the poster therefore shows the hostility of the place where Winston is and their lack of freedom. Orwell gives a realistic portrayal of Winston as he ascends up the stairs to his flat. The ‘varicose ulcer above his right ankle’ could be seen as a manifestation for his repression, and suffering through a life of adversity and turmoil. This is emphasised by the fact that he had to rest ‘several times’, which is very unusual for a man as young as ‘thirty nine’ . This portrays an image of an overworked miserable and lonely man inhabiting a tortured existence. William May

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