Settings 1984 the Role of Setting in Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Settings 1984

The Role of Setting in George Orwell's 1984: Handout

Four Basic Functions of Setting:

Setting has four functions: to set the tone/mood of the scene, to give symbolic significance to a situation or to the story as a whole, to affect the character's emotions in the scene, and to be informative about what the characters and their environment are like.

In 1984, George Orwell uses setting in each of these functions, as seen in the following three environments:

The Woods: "Winston picked his way up the lane through dappled light and shade, stepping out into pools of gold wherever the boughs parted. Under the trees to the left of them the ground was misty with bluebells. The air seemed to kiss one's skin." (Orwell 98)

Words like dappled light, pools, gold, bluebells, and kiss all are positive words that give the impression of happiness and contentment. The four functions of setting are fulfilled:

Emotional: Winston and Julia are relaxed, calm, free, and un-oppressed

Tonal: it is a happy, carefree environment

Informative: this environment provides a sharp contrast between what is good vs. what is normal (bad) living conditions

Symbolic: symbolizes freedom, escape from oppression, and what life should be

The Junk Shop: "All round the walls were stacked innumerable dusty picture frames. In the window there were trays of nuts and bolts, worn-out chisels, penknives with broken blades, tarnished watches that did not even pretend to be in working order, and other miscellaneous rubbish." (Orwell 80)

The description is of things covered in dust, with the impression of antiqueness and brokenness. The four functions of setting are fulfilled:

Emotional: it sparks Winston's curiosity and interest

Tonal: mystery and nostalgia

Informative: Winston's curiosity shows his longing for a better life

Symbolic: broken objects represent a broken society, where once was freedom, but now is oppression

The White Cell: "He was in a high-ceilinged windowless cell with walls of glittering white porcelain. Concealed lamps flooded it with a cold light .…

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