Urban Decay

An important motif that emerges in the first three chapters of 1984 is that of urban decay. Under the supposedly benign guidance of the Party, London has fallen apart. Winston’s world is a nasty, brutish place to live—conveniences are mostly out of order and buildings are ramshackle and unsafe. In contrast to the broken elevator in Winston’s rundown apartment building, the presence of the technologically advanced telescreen illustrates the Party’s prioritization of strict control and utter neglect of citizens’ quality of living.

Winston’s encounter with the Parsons children in Chapter II demonstrates the Party’s influence on family life. Children are effectively converted into spies and trained to watch the actions of their parents with extreme suspicion. The fear Mrs. Parsons shows for her children foreshadows Winston’s encounter in jail with her husband, who is turned in to the Party by his own child for committing thoughtcrime. Orwell was inspired in his creation of the Junior Spies by a real organization called Hitler Youth that thrived in Nazi Germany. This group instilled a fanatic patriotism in children that led them to such behaviors as monitoring their parents for any sign of deviation from Nazi orthodoxy, in much the same manner that Orwell later ascribed to the Junior Spies.
(Summary of CIA-M15 agent George Orwell’s 1984 [one of the “how-to” manuals for the powers that now be in power, but not for long], http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/1984/section2/page/2/)

Urban Decay
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