An Overview of the Multiperspectivity of Gender Roles And Ambiguity of Women in Orwell’s 1984 Introduction Women have always been an interesting zest in literature. Whether they are instrumentalized as figures of amusement, distraction (like in a magician’s act), or more subtle roles - the words and imagery inherent in women’s gender roles make them effective tools for such instrumentalization…
George Orwell’s novel, 1984, puts an indecisive light on women’s role. This paper attempts to explore the multi-perspective gender roles evident in Orwell’s novel, as well as delve in the exciting ambiguity of its feminine elements. Sacrificial Women The protagonist’s (Winston Smith) mother repetitively played the universal nature of the feminine gender -- being self-sacrificing. This sacrifice concept is commonly known to start when a woman marries (i.e., submitting herself to the husband, and using the husband’s family name) or upon conception (e.g., eating nutritious food for the baby’s consumption and not for herself). Roazen, in his essay “Orwell, Freud, and 1984” strengthened the emphasis of this woman’s role through adding the adverb “ideally” in describing 1984’s women as “self-sacrificing creatures” (section V, para. 1). Moreover, Winston explicitly expresses this through his own interpretation of his dream: “he could not remember what had happened, but he knew in his dream that in some way, the lives of his mother and sister had been sacrificed to his own” (Orwell 78). ...
Winston goes to say, “...they were down there because he was up here...” (Orwell 77). However, no matter how saintly it sounds, reading the whole novel will expose to the readers, through Orwell’s narrative style and women’s role, how ambivalent and ambiguous women’s gender-role is. Protagonist-Effectual Though characters aside from the antagonist are used to stimulate events and the protagonist, Orwell effectively used the effectual gender-role of women to rise up that usual effectual mode. Smith pointed out the specifics: 1) Winston’s mother (i.e., her memory) “encouraged him to desire a more liberal society;” 2) his wife, Katherine, intensified Winston’s detestation of the Party; 3) Julia “triggered” Winston to finally deviate from the loathsome Big Brother and focus his intellectual pursuit to achieve freedom (1). However, one may argue that Winston’s desires, decisions, or actions were mainly the offspring of his rebellious nature and the feminine ‘stimulus’ was nothing but inconsequential. Yet, it is more absurd to dispense the catalytic effect the women characters had on Winston. In reality, though every person has the potential to act as such, this potential is not realized until an effective ‘pushing’ factor motivates the person. This holds true in 1984, and to argue otherwise may probably suggest the unrealistic framing of events and the useless tagging of such feminine encounters. Conformist In Orwell’s narrative, there is this evident contrast of feminine conformity and masculine rebellion. For instance, as Orwell detailed Winston’s dislike of women, since they “were the most bigoted adherents of the Party, the swallowers of slogans, the ...
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