in the book 1984 what does the glass paperwight symbolize?

what does it symbolize to winston

7 Answers

  • For Winston Smith the paperweight represents a link to the past and in particular his past with which he tries to reconnect. By purchasing forbidden objects from the old proprietor at the antique store not only is he breaking the law, he is setting himself on a disastrous path. The paperweight could be seen as a representation of his fate and when it falls and shatters and is destroyed it gives a clue of the fate which is to befall Winston namely the destruction of his spirit and mind.

  • Glass Paperweight 1984

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    in the book 1984 what does the glass paperwight symbolize?

    what does it symbolize to winston

  • 1984 Paperweight

  • It’s a relic of the past. For Julia and Winston, it represents a freer time in which the Party was not all-powerful. So when the police discover them above the shop and it shatters, it is symbolic in that their future together is over.

  • It symbolizes an alternative consciousness – another state of mind – before the programming and indoctrination of the ‘five minutes hate’. Something into which he can look and not be observed by in the panoptic world of Big Brother’s telescreen. Innocence not yet entirely lost.

    For Orwell it also symbolized a time before his own disillusion. Charrington, the shopkeeper from whom he buys the paperweight, is thought to be a literary representation of T.S. Eliot. Eliot,- then a director of Faber and Faber – rejected it as “unconvincing” when Orwell sent him ‘Animal Farm’ for consideration,

    In a letter from 1944 explaining why he would not be publishing the work, Eliot told Orwell that he was not persuaded by the “Trotskyite” politics which underpin the narrative. To publish such an anti-Russian novel would jar in the contemporary political climate,

    Orwell was deeply affected by this rejection from a man he formerly greatly admired and regarded this as a betrayal, not only by this giant of the literary world, but also politically due to the poet’s response which said;

    “We have no conviction … that this is the right point of view from which to criticise the political situation at the present time. It is certainly the duty of any publishing firm which pretends to other interests and motives other than mere commercial prosperity to publish books which go against the current of the moment,” wrote Eliot, before going on to say that he was not convinced that “this is the thing that needs saying at the moment.”

    If, as posited by Keith Aldritt and Michael Shelden ‘Smith’s story is very much a resume of Orwell’s own life’ the nature of this relationship is important in determining the betrayal of his love for Julia which is contained in the shattering of this object. In that respect it could be said that Orwell’s literary, political and personal betrayal by someone he so admired and trusted is symbolized in the acquisition of the paperweight and by the events this subsequently leads to, given that Charrington also represents Eliot whose Modernist poetics Orwell rejected following this profound disillusionment..

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