1984 Paperweight Symbolism

Topics: Books

In George Orwell’s 1984, symbolism is thoroughly used throughout the novel to reinforce the themes present in the book. The novel is set in a totalitarian society where whatever the government says goes without question. The Party is able to distort and rewrite the past, including the memories of the people, but a small glass paperweight from before the rule of the Party remains. The glass coral paperweight that Winston purchases at Charington’s shop becomes a dominant symbol in Orwell’s 1984.

The antique shop where Winston buys the paperweight is significant itself. The choice of an antique shop where Winston bought paperweight is not accidental” (Sandon). The Party cannot completely destroy the past, as an antique shop is a shop that holds things from the past that still remain important enough to the people where an antique shop is still relevant. Orwell also uses this to the Party’s advantage as a trap where Winston holds his affair with Julia that ultimately fails.

Mr. Charington, the owner of the shop, also “ had always vaguely the air of a collector rather than a tradesman” (Orwell 150).

Mr. Charington was also seemed interested with the past, he would rather talk about the things he had rather than trying to sell it. Really being a member of the Thought Police, he was not a collector of things, but a collector of people. The antique shop where Winston buys the paperweight shows the significance of the past, but also the trap. Winston constantly and desperately tries to remember the past, and he sees the glass coral paperweight as a relic from the past.

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He buys it as an attempt to reconnect with the past” (Shmoop Editorial Team). Because of the Party’s control, the paperweight is a remnant of the past that does not have any basis in reality anymore. Winston uses this as a concrete tangible reminder of the past, as memories are no longer reliable. “The paperweight assists the portrayal of Winston? s desire to remember the true past” (Write Work contributors). Winston does not want to remember the Party’s version, but the true past. The paperweight helps him and gives him hope.

“the Paperweight Was The Room He Was In, And The Coral Was Julia’s Life And His Own, Fixed In A Sort Of Eternity At The Heart Of The Crystal.”

In Winston’s desperation to remember the past, he buys the coral paperweight. The glass coral paperweight symbolizes multiple things. It is a relic of the past, “the past in which Winston strives to understand” (Trast). It is the dreams of freedom that the past once had. The paperweight proves that the Party cannot control all information and history and that some objects or places are still here to remind people of the past. “It’s a little chunk of history that they’ve forgotten to alter.

It’s a message from a hundred years ago, if one knew how to read it” (Orwell 183). The paperweight also symbolizes the sanctuary of the room in Charington’s shop. Orwell writes that “the paperweight was the room he was in, and the coral was Julia’s life and his own, fixed in a sort of eternity at the heart of the crystal” (Orwell 147). It is the safe haven for Winston and Julia’s love, disconnected from the rest of the world. It is the only place that they could have to themselves and truly think. Thirdly, the paperweight is a symbol of hope.

The Party tries to control the past and all information, but the paperweight remains as a symbol of hope from the past. Lastly, the glass coral paperweight symbolizes the destruction of the love between Winston and Julia. “The shattering of the paperweight is a representation of the destruction of Winston and Julia? s love”(Write Work contributors). The paperweight being made of glass, foreshadows the destruction of their relationship. When the Thought Police capture Winston and Julia, the glass coral paperweight shatters and Winston betrays Julia.

The coral paperweight symbolizes many important things. Symbolism is used thoroughly throughout 1984 by George Orwell. The glass coral paperweight symbolizes the past, sanctuary of the room, hope, and the destruction of Winston and Julia’s love in a dystopian society. A society where the Party controls the past, the memories of the people, and all information. The glass coral paperweight that Winston purchases at Charington’s shop is a dominant symbol that further deepens the purpose and the theme in Orwell’s 1984.

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1984 Paperweight Symbolism. (2019, Dec 05). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/paper-on-essay-1984-the-paperweight/

1984 Paperweight Symbolism
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