PRESERVING ONE’S HUMANITY IN CHALLENGING TIMES: THE VARIOUS FORMS OF RESISTANCE IN GEORGE ORWELL’S 1984
Keywords:George Orwell, Lionel Trilling, Martha Nussbaum, totalitarianism, resistance
This paper will aim to analyze George Orwell’s novel Nineteen-Eighty-Four (1949) in order to uncover the ways in which the characters in the novel resist the influence of an oppressive totalitarian regime and preserve their humanity, that is, the instincts and impulses which characterize a human subject. The modernist point of view will be chosen as the theoretical framework for analysis, due to the fact that modernist literature focuses on the subjective outlook of a character and foregrounds the complex mental processes occurring in his psyche. The concepts evoked in Lionel Trilling’s essay, “Freud: Within and Beyond Culture” (1968), will be referred to when describing the means of resistance that are available to a human subject. Special emphasis will be placed on Freud’s idea of biological resistance which is grounded in a person’s physiology, and on the argument that exposure to different cultures allows an individual to oppose negative cultural influences. Additionally, the view that sexual liberty defies political authority, as is proposed in Martha Nussbaum’s essay “The Transfiguration of Everyday Life: Joyce” (2001), will be taken as an example of how erotic love can also function as a means of opposing the dominant regime.
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