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Feminism in 1984

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Lauren Dierdorff

on 24 February 2014

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Transcript of Feminism in 1984

Mothers
kind, yet passive
'positive light' doesn't mean feminist
"little boy screaming with fright and hiding his head ...and the woman putting her arms around him and comforting him..." (Orwell 8) (mother in film)
"His mother drew her arm round the child and pressed its face against her breast" (Orwell 163). (his own mother)
"Orwell's...portrayal of...(mother figures)...[is] admirable, moral, protective, but basically passive, or even merely helpless against the forces of Society" (Eckstein 50).
Julia
Other Orwell Texts
"Coming Up For Air"
"The Road To Wigan Pier"
Prole Woman
- Winston refers to her as "beautiful" -page 219
While portraying loving mother figures and sexually liberated, strong women, George Orwell, a product of his society, tarnished all his female characters with minimal intellect and passive minds, ultimately illustrating that men need to be more open-minded and women must stress their worthwhile contribution, to create a society that benefits from multiple viewpoints and adheres to every human's needs.


Feminism in Orwell's
1984

Mothers in the novel
Julia
Other samples of Orwell's texts
The Prole Woman
Conclusion...
Feminism
Concepts:
Gender
Dominance/ Inferiority
Intelligence
Sex
Women in General in '1984'
Women in General
in '1984'
Women viewed by males and themselves

'Gamesmanship and Androcentrism in Orwell's 1984' by Daphne Patai
Not respected by men and viewed as not intelligent and easily manipulated
Sexually liberated and in control of their own instincts
Novel:
women: positive
women: negative
therefore, complicated role in text
Winston didn't like her initially
Strong, sexually liberated woman
Very little intellect
“He disliked nearly all women, and especially the young and pretty ones. It was always the women, and above all the young ones, who were the most bigoted adherents of the Party, the swallowers of slogans, the amateur spies and nosers-out of unorthodoxy. But this particular girl gave him the impression of being more dangerous than most” (Orwell 10).
"She had given him a sidelong glance which seemed to pierce right into him and for a moment had filled him with black terror” (Orwell 10).
"Have you done this before?"
"Of course. Hundreds of times-well, scores of times, anyway."
...
"Listen. The more men you've had, the more I love you. Do you understand that?"
"Yes, perfectly."
...
"Well then, I ought to suit you dear. I'm corrupt to the bones."
"You like doing this? I don't mean simply me I mean the thing in itself?"
"I adore it" (Orwell 125).
"they are Party secretaries, Party fanatics, Party wives like Katherine-whom Winston judges to be the emptiest person he has ever known-or Mrs. Parsons; they are also antisex freaks or prole prostitutes."
(Patai 868)
"It was always the women, and above all the young ones, who were the most bigoted adherents of the Party, the swallowers of slogans, the amateur spies and nosers-out of unorthodoxy" (Orwell 10).
Women Today
"She was 'not clever,' but was fond of using her hands and felt at home with machinery" (Orwell 130).
"She 'didn't care much for reading,' she said" (Orwell 130).
"It's a kind of strong, rank feeling, a feeling of knowing everything and fearing nothing, and it's all bound up with breaking rules and killing things. The white dusty roads, ... the stamping on the young birds, the feel of the fish straining on the line-it was all part of it. Thank God I'm a man because no woman ever has that feeling." (Orwell 52).
"At school she had been captain of the hockey team and had won the gymnastics trophy two years running" (Orwell 130).
"One looks down upon them as 'natives', but one was ready to be physically intimate with them [i.e., allow oneself to be dressed and undressed by a Burmese servant boy] .... I felt towards a Burman almost as I felt towards a woman." (Orwell 123)
"I was never in the Rewrite Squad. I'm not literary, dear-not even enough for that" (Orwell 130).
"Girls are always supposed to be so pure. Here's one who isn't, anyway" (Orwell 131).
- Doesn't have a role in the society-yet is important to future
- No intelligence-merely has children and does chores women are expected to do
"She hated the Party, and said so in the crudest words, but she made no general criticism of it. Except where it touched upon her own life she had no interest in Party doctrine" (Orwell 131).
"He learned with astonishment that all the workers in Pornosec, except the head of the department, were girls. The theory was that men, whose sex instincts were less controlable than those of women, were in greater danger of being corrupted by the filth they handled" (Orwell 131).
Katharine
Winston and Julia hate her violently
"...she (Katharine) had without exception the most stupid, vulgar, empty mind that he had ever encountered" (Orwell 66)
"'Why didn't you give her a good shove?' said Julia. 'I would have.'...'Are you sorry you didn't?' 'Yes. On the whole I'm sorry I didn't'" (Orwell 135)
"He wondered vaguely how many others like her there might be in the younger generation- people who had grown up in the world of the Revolution, knowing nothing else, accepting the Party as something unalterable, like the sky, not rebelling against its authority but simply evading it, as a rabbit dodges a dog" (Orwell 131).
"With Julia, everything came back to her own sexuality" (Orwell 132).
"Oh, rubbish! Which would you sooner sleep with, me or a skeleton? Don't you enjoy being alive? Don't you like feeling: This is me, this is my hand, this is my leg, I'm real, I'm solid, I'm alive! Don't you like this?" (Orwell 136)
"She had become a physical necessity, something that he not only wanted but felt that he had a right to. When she said that she could not come, he had the feeling that she was cheating him" (Orwell 139).
" She had had her momentary flowering, a year, perhaps, of wildrose beauty, and then she had suddenly swollen like a fertilized fruit and grown hard and red and coarse, and then her life had been laundering, scrubbing, darning, cooking, sweeping, polishing, mending, scrubbing, laundering, first for children, then for grandchildren, over thirty unbroken years. At the end of it she was still singing" (Orwell 220).
"Yes, dear, scent, too. And do you know what I'm going to do next? I'm going to get hold of a real woman's frock from somewhere and wear it instead of these bloody trousers. I'll wear silk stockings and high-heeled shoes! In this room I'm going to be a woman, not a Party comrade" (Orwell 142).
"You're only a rebel from the waist downwards" (Orwell 156).
"In the ramifications of Party doctrine she had not the faintest interest. Whenever he began to talk of the principles of Ingsoc, doublethink...she became bored and confused and said she never paid any attention to that kind of thing...If he persisted in talking of such subjects, she had a disconcerting habit of falling asleep...Talking to her, he realized how easy it was to present an appearance of orthodoxy while having no grasp whatever of what orthodoxy meant...they simply swallowed everything, and what they swallowed did them no harm, because it left no residue behind, just as a grain of corn will pass undigested through the body of a bird" (Orwell 156).
Page 217, Julia falls asleep while Winston reads "the book"
Conclusion
Women may be seen as equal in certain aspects
Not seen intellectually as equals
Timeless- seen in
1984
and even in today's media
Change is necessary
Women can also make the change, not only men
- “Orwell’s denigration of women now increasingly consists of his portrayal of women (especially mother-figures) in an overtly very positive...light: admirable, moral, protective, but...passive or even merely helpless against the forces of society.” (Eckstein 50)
Is how Orwell treated and percieved his female characters in 1984 any different then the way we do today?
Question 1
Class Answer
The Facts
48%
51%
Question 2
Class Answer
The Facts
26
35
Question 3
Class Answer
The Statistics
330
35
Question 4
Class Answer

The Statistics
30%
20%
Question 5
Question 6
Question 7
Question 8
Question 9
Question 10
Question 11
Class Answer
The Statistics
72%
70%
Class Answer
The Statistics
78%
53%
Class Answer
The Statistics
79%
78%
Class Answer
The Statistics
5.5 million
7 million
Class Answer
The Statistics
69%
100%
Class Answer
The Statistics
.97
.77
Class Answer
The Statistics
73%
80-95%
Full transcript