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Narrative Perspective in 1984

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"The memorable impact of novels and short stories arises from the careful and often brilliant creation of detail by their writers. Using at least two writers you have studied, explore the role and impact of some significant details in the narratives."

The memories that we retain as humans are due to the exposure brilliant circumstances that occur in life, this has the effect of leaving a lasting impact on readers. This ideology is comparable to authors and their writing choices. Often authors allude to detail in unique and perhaps often obscure ways to leave a certain impression on the reader – a memorable impact. This is evident within George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four which tells the story of Winston Smith who rebels against the totalitarian rule of Big Brother; and within Cormac McCarthy’s dystopian novel The Road which follows the journey of a man and his son struggling to survive following a cataclysmic circumstance. Both Orwell and McCarthy in their respective novels communicate to readers in their own ways of brilliance. This detail accentuates the dominant themes that are evidently what creates this impact toward the nature of lasting memory. Through an analysis of conventions: narrative perspective, characterisation, and setting, this essay will formulate an answer to the ways in which authors authors write in creation of careful and brilliant detail.

Authors often leave memorable impressions through portraying narrative perspective in often unique ways to accentuate core themes of novels. This is evidently encapsulated within Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, as Orwell’s attention to detail in delivering the narrative perspective is attributable in conveying the harsh realities of the totalitarian government that are faced by Winston Smith. The narrative perspective of the novel is written in third person limited. This has the effect of simultaneously describing Winston’s thoughts and feelings while commenting on them. For example, Winston thinks about the proles and realizes that they have “stayed human,” then recalls, “without apparent relevance,” kicking a human hand into the gutter a few weeks earlier. Here, Orwell brilliantly emphasises the fact that Winston appears to be losing his sense of humanity without Winston being aware. To further this, Orwell cleverly establishes his own personal view indirectly through the nature of the novels authorial voice. Although many sections of the novel establish this connection, it is encapsulated when Winston believes: “Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.” This exert, perhaps taken out of broader context, establishes Orwell’s views toward society through his authorial voice that creeps through the detail of the novel. This places effect on readers by leaving a memorable impact wherein they have the ability to reflect on the outside world and connect this perceived idea of ‘unconscious totalitarianism’  within the circumstance of real world occurrences.

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