1984: The Best and Only Technique List !

The Best Techniques for Nineteen Eighty-Four

These techniques are a great indication of the overarching literary devices that Orwell uses to create Winston Smith's journey throughout Oceania. Although this is an extensive list, you will need to expand upon these techniques with specific quotes from the novel.


Allegory - the criticisms of totalitarianism (specifically Soviet Russia) and war behind the story of the Party and Oceania

Allusion - Ingsoc as a reference to English Socialism, Big Brother as a reference to Stalin, Goldstein as a reference to Trotsky

Ambiguity - the death of Winston, interpretable as metaphorical in terms of his identity or physical in terms of an execution 

Atmosphere - the manipulation of Oceania altering the mood of different settings; serenity in Winston’s prole hideout,  control in Two Minutes Hate, fear in Ministry of Love/Room 101

Characterisation - Winston as a fragile, knowledgeable and rebellious individual, O’Brien’s charisma, charm and independence

Context – research what was happening at the time of the novel’s publication – Stalin, Hitler, Spanish Civil War, Totalitarianism, Politics and the English Language – These key terms should get you started.

Foreshadowing - Winston predicting Syme’s ‘vaporisation’, Winston’s fascination with the prisoners before his torture

Imagery - see quotes throughout the novel that conjure visual images

Irony - the manipulation of truth becoming the truth in literature

Juxtaposition - The Inner/Outer Party and the proles, characterisation of Winston and O’Brien, descriptions of capitalism and Ingsoc, Winston’s rebellion and the prole woman

Motifs - Information control, Identity/Individuality, Loyalty

Paradox - Party Slogan; 'War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.'

Narrative perspective - 3rd person limited narrator; enhancing the sense of oppression Winston endures

Setting - London in futuristic 1984; links to urban decay/neglect, environmental damage and superpower rules related to the aftermath of WWII

Symbolism - Big Brother as totalitarianism and surveillance, Glass Paperweight as the past and fragility of human relationships, Prole woman as fertility and strength of the lower classes


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