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1984 Character Analysis: Parsons

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Celestina Tanase

on 26 September 2013

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Transcript of 1984 Character Analysis: Parsons

1984 Character Analysis: Parsons
We will be examining Parsons and coming to a conclusion about his character by using the seven components of characterization.
REACTIONS (of others)
pg. 58-59: “[...] a tubby, middle-sized man with fair hair and a froglike face. At thirty five, he was already putting on rolls of fat at neck and waistline..."
middle-sized = average; froglike = not very good looking
chubbiness could indicate laziness, poor diet
frogs are jumpy animals with big eyes; comparing Parsons to a frog could suggest he is:
energetic, which shows he is a Party loyalist (refer to quote on pg. 139: "They [the Party] want you to bursting with energy all the time."
nervousness, which could show he is hiding something
pg. 59: "His whole appearance was that of a little boy grown large..."
boyish appearance makes the reader think he:
is immature
has innocence
is oblivious (towards the Party's antagonism)
pg. 244: "[...] pudgy knees [...] his eyes had a wide-open, staring look..."
"wide-open, staring look" could indicate shock, disbelief (that he had committed thoughtcrime)
If this is the reason for his shock, it could indicate that he feels guilt easily
pg. 23: "The Parsons' flat was bigger than Winston's, and dingy in a different way."
makes a decent living, but still subject to the same dingy environment as everyone else
pg. 23: "On the wall were scarlet banners of the Youth League and the Spies, and a full-sized poster of Big Brother."
devoted and loyal to the Party
nostalgic for the days he was in the Youth League and the Spies (a man that lives in the past)
pg. 23: "Everything had a battered, trampled-on look, as though the place had just been visited by some large violent animal."
Parsons is not a very tidy person
Suggests he does not have organized thoughts
pg. 26: "[...] what most struck Winston was the look of helpless fright on the woman's [Mrs. Parsons] greyish face."
his wife is a very scared woman, malnourished; not a very protective caring husband
pg. 25: "Both [his children] of them were dressed in the blue shorts, grey shirts and red neckerchiefs which were the uniform of the Spies."
Parsons influenced his children with his past (further suggests he is a man that lives in the past)
pg. 58: “[...] his movements were brisk and boyish. His whole appearance was that of a little boy grown large.”
Childish respect for the Party (younger sibling tags behind an older one, he aspires to emanate a sense of pride and awe for the higher power)
Thoughtlessness, blind ambition
pg. 59 “His powers of sweating were extraordinary.”
overworking and stress (constantly fulfilling Party needs)
highly conscious of his actions (nervousness)
most memorable trait, abnormality
constantly corrects himself (nervous)
conflicting private and public personas
strict father
pg. 60: “‘[...] I gave him [his son] a good dressing-down for it. [...] ‘Ah, well - what I mean to say, shows the right spirit doesn't it?'"
pg. 60: “‘But I wouldn't be altogether surprised if-’ Parsons made the motion of aiming a rifle, and clicked his tongue for the explosion.”
aware of Party violence (no remorse); sees all, but is
Party cruelty = spectator sport (adds to thoughtlessness)
pg. 244: “He began walking jerkily up and down, evidently unable to keep still. Each time he straightened his pudgy knees it was apparent that they were trembling.”
still moving: a very active man, irritable, cluttered, can't sit still
pacing, a lot on his mind
pg. 245: “‘I started talking in my sleep.’”
sleep-talking signifies uneasiness
private thoughts unwilling unprotected (has something to hide)
pg. 59: '“I’m treasurer for our block.”'
Being the treasurer implies that he is able to keep organized and is good with numbers, especially with money
He may not be clever, but he is able to keep track of the money
pg. 59: '“I tell you, it won’t be my fault if old Victory Mansions doesn't have the biggest outfit of flags in the whole street.”'
He makes sure that he won’t be blamed for anything, can’t do everything perfectly (he is very afraid of the Party)
pg 60: “‘Mischievous little beggars they are, both of them, but talk about keenness! All they think about is the Spies, and the war, of course.’”
proud of his children
talks about their accomplishments
constantly bragging (did a good job at raising them)
pg. 244: '“Not brainy, of course, but keen [Parsons].”'
admits he is not very bright
might be more aware and not quite as oblivious as we believe
Party devotion
pg. 245: “A chap like me could make himself pretty useful in a labour-camp.”
hard-working (as aforementioned)
loyal to the Party
pg. 24: "At the ministry he was employed in some subordinate post for which intelligence was not required,"
not an impressive person
doesn't stand out for any redeeming qualities
pg. 58: "Syme looked up. 'Here comes Parsons,' he said. Something in the tone of his voice seemed to add, 'that bloody fool.'"
not seen as very bright, gullible
not respected
pg. 59: "His powers of sweating were extraordinary. At the Community Centre you could always tell when he had been playing table-tennis by the dampness of the bat handle."
gullibility because something like excessive sweating is something that would usually diminish someone socially, but Parsons is in fact anything but
not perceptive
pg. 64: "Parsons, on the other hand, would never be vaporized."
Parsons is seen to be very much of an "average man," fitting into the "1984" society so well that there is no doubt in Winston's mind that he will live on into his senior years
viewed as a loyal Outer Party member
pg. 244: "'YOU here!' he [Winston] said."
surprising that Parsons was arrested by the Thought Police
viewed as a loyal Outer Party member
devoted to the Party
pg. 245: “‘Down with Big Brother!’”
loyal, brainwashed, average Outer Party member, but a look into his subconscious thought says otherwise
suggests that, albeit subconsciously, Parsons is not quite as brainwashed as believed
may see the unfairness and wrongdoings of the Party, especially since this occurred around Hate Week
pg. 59: sweat
hard-worker; could be used to portray Parsons as the hard-working mule of the Party, or the average man
The smell of sweat masks all other smells; could foreshadow Parsons’ hidden and subconscious betrayal to the Party
Symbolizes nervousness; also foreshadows his betrayal

pg. 61: filthy tobacco pipe
Symbol of masculinity in many countries; adds to Parsons’ appearance of an average man, the man of the family, hard worker, etc.
pg. 23: games impedimenta
Symbolizes athleticism; a man that can’t sit still, as previously shown by his constant community involvement
Sports fanatic: easily entertained by violence
Athletics release endorphins: Parsons is a happy person
HOWEVER, also can mean aggression; either he is aggressive about his love for the Party/Big Brother, or his subdued aggression AGAINST the Party
Common stereotypes that jocks aren't smart (further supports the claim that Parsons is not a smart man)

pg. 58: chubbiness
Symbolizes overfeeding/overeating; could show how Parsons is “eating up” all of the Party’s lies
pg. 58, 244: froglike
Symbolizes cleansing, renewal/rebirth, fertility/abundance, transformation/metamorphosis, transitions, which can:
foreshadow his betrayal (transformation/metamorphosis, transitions); there is no saying how anti-Party he would've become if he was never caught
represent his Party loyalty (cleansing); his thoughts were always pure by Party standards, up until the point he committed thoughtcrime in his sleep
To Sum Up...
Thus far, Parsons seems to be:
lazy, but energetic personality
doesn't care for health
easily guilted
To Sum Up...
organized (not as previously thought)
oblivious in SOME aspects (not all)
To Sum Up...
Supports that he is:
not smart
oblivious (to Party actions)
We now see he is also:
disrespected by peers
oblivious (to social situations)
To Sum Up...
The evidence provided here shows us that:
he may not be as big of a "Party Lover" as we pinned him to be
HOWEVER, could still show obliviousness (these are subconscious thoughts)
To Sum Up...
Shows that Parsons is:
hard-working, middle class
To Sum Up...
thoughtless (blind ambition)
strict (parental figure)
To Sum Up...
oblivious (but simultaneously observant)
Words that describe Parsons as a character and person:
devoted, dedicated
socially unaware, but involved
oblivious (ironically oblivious to his observations), dim-witted
nervous, conflicting
By: Celestina, Joe, Dania, Lucy, and Victoria
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