Node your homework .
It is sometimes said that a novel tells as much about the times in which it was produced as about the subject matter. Assess the validity of this statement.
George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four is widely recognized as one of the greatest novels of the 20th century. Many regard it as a prophecy (which has yet to come true, thankfully). The novel is not a description of the inevitable, but a warning to those who may find their government, or even themselves, treading on the dangerous path towards what has become the classic anti-utopia. The world Orwell grimly paints in Nineteen Eighty-Four is, due to the zeitgeist of the time, not unforeseeable even so close as thirty-five years away.
Orwell, who suffered from poor health for the majority of his life, wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four from a gloomy hospital island, which no doubt contributed to the book's dark atmosphere. At the time of writing, 1948, the world, and Great Britain in particular, was recovering from the bloodshed and economic consequences of World War II. The American nuclear detonations above Hiroshima and Nagasaki ushered the world into the nuclear age; although the cold war was not in full swing, the extinction of the human race at the hands of men emerged as an all too possible scenario.
Many of the themes explored in the novel have clear correlations to Orwell's personal experience, as well as the zeitgeist of the time. One of the primary themes of the book, contempt for overbearing authority, was one which resonated within Orwell's life. As a young boy, he attended a number of English schools. All most all of these he found suffocating; he become outraged at what he saw as attempts to strip him of his humanity; uniforms and strict schedules bred conformity - making Orwell feel as if he was no longer human, but rather a cog in an infernal machine.
Orwell's personal experience with a major historical period also manifests itself within the novel. After finishing schooling, he joined the British Imperial Guard and was stationed at British Burma. Much to his dismay, Orwell was required to enforce strict laws, infringing upon the freedoms of many Burmese citizens. Orwell literally had a street-level view of British Imperialism, and found himself a part of the system whose ambitions often conflicted with his principles; the central tenet of Winston's character in the novel.
The mid-20th century collapse of European imperialism saw one of the most spectacular struggles for independence. Mahatma Gandhi led a campaign against British colonial rulers, eventually achieving independence in 1947. During the struggle, however, British forces employed a variety of forceful tactics and severely restricted the freedoms of Indian citizens within their own country. Orwell notes that, both during his time in Burma and other colonial hotspots, newspapers at home reported a significantly distorted (unrealistically optimistic) picture of British possessions, when in reality little or no progress was being made. Orwell explores the ramifications of similar propaganda within his novel; progress is reported on the fronts with Eastasia and Eurasia regardless of the actual circumstances.
The postwar geopolitical world stage was a significantly different beast than it had been before. The United States asserted itself as a world power, joining the Allies in the Great War on the European continent and ending the war in the Pacific. The Soviet Union's troops were the first to reach Berlin, finding the body of the once-formidable Nazi dictator. With Europe bankrupt and in shambles, the contest for world power was now between the Soviets and Americans.
It was no secret that the two superpowers would soon become bitter rivals, and a future under the shadow of yet another global war was none-too comforting. Orwell understood the very real possibility of his government to turn from a democratic and free institution to a secretive, all-powerful, and ultimately evil one. Nineteen Eighty-Four was written in an era where, due to a variety of vast changes in the geopolitical balance of power, the future no longer seemed promising, but threatening.