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This essay will explore how music serves as a powerful tool for expressing emotions. It will discuss the psychological and emotional impact of music, its role in various cultures, and how it can convey complex feelings that may be difficult to articulate in words. PapersOwl offers a variety of free essay examples on the topic of Emotion.
One of the essential human values, freedom in many forms, is of key importance to society. In the novel 1984, the government abridges the freedom of the people in many ways, including their thoughts, emotions, and memories. Throughout the book, George Orwell uses music and song to represent freedom and self-expression, or the lack thereof, and show how important it is in society.
From the very beginning of the book, music is constantly playing in the background of Party members’ lives. It is usually used by the Party to inspire people to be patriotic or distract them from their own thoughts. For example, the music coming from the telescreen is “strident military music” (6). Winston also says the “blaring of the music” is all he can concentrate on (7). The Party uses music as an extension of its power to make people more brainwashed and under control. Music is also used as an outlet for people’s emotions. During Hate Week, the citizens sing a song that is described as having “a savage, barking rhythm which could not exactly be called music but resembled the beating of a drum. Roared out my hundreds of voices to the tramp of marching feet, it was terrifying,” (131). Using this song, among other tactics, the Party allows the citizens to channel their inner frustration against Oceania’s supposed enemies. This makes them easier to rule over and therefore gives the Party more power, which subsequently robs the people of more freedom.
How it works
Music comes from other sources outside of the Party, and in these ways, music shows freedom and brings back memories from the past of a better life. The time when Winston is most connected to humanity is when he is with Julia and is free to have emotions and memories. One of these experiences is when he and Julia are first together in the woods. About to leave, they see a thrush land in a tree, and it begins to sing. “The music went on and on, minute after minute, with astonishing variations, never once repeating itself, almost as though the bird were deliberately showing off its virtuosity” (109). The bird is singing in the woods, just for itself, just because it can. As Julia says to Winston when he mentions it to her later“ “He wasn’t singing to us. He was singing to please himself. Not even that. He was just singing” (196). This is a type of freedom Party members do not have. The prole woman singing is also another important instance of music and freedom. She lives next door to Mr. Charrington’s shop and is often singing, one of the few times people show real emotion. “Her voice floated upward with the sweet summer air, very tuneful, charged with a sort of happy melancholy” (125). The proles are the only free people, and because of they are allowed to still have free thoughts, memories, and emotions, whereas the Party members cannot. As Winston thinks to himself, “The birds sang, the proles sang, the Party did not sing,” showing how the Party robs citizens of this type of self-expression (196).
Music also represents freedom in that it brings back memories, which is another thing that Party citizens are not supposed to have. An example of this is the nursery rhyme that Mr. Charrington tells Winston. The beginning of the nursery rhyme symbolizes the past, when people still had freedom, and the end represents the present times, with Party control and a lack of freedom. Winston first hears the nursery rhyme from Mr. Charrington, which begins with the phrase, “Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St. Clement’s, You owe me three farthings, say the bells of St. Martin’s, When will you pay me? Say the bells of Old Bailey, When I grow rich, say the bells of Shoreditch” (158). This brings back memories of the past when life was better for citizens and people, in general, had more freedom and rights. One of the things that Winston is fascinated with is the past is very important to him and also gives him an inexplicable hope for the future. The ending of the rhyme is a stark contrast to the beginning. The phrase “Here comes a candle to light you to bed, here comes a chopper to chop off your head” is both violent and unexpected (87). Mr. Charrington says this to Winston as he arrests him. This represents the freedom that Winston loses in that moment, and also the Party control and law that will inevitably take over every citizen.
The final important instance of music happens in the very last few pages. Winston is sitting in the Chestnut Cafe, watching the telescreen, thinking about when he saw recently saw Julia. He feels absolutely no attraction to her and is repulsed by the thought of sex. She says to him badly that she betrayed him, and he thinks to himself about when he had betrayed her himself. “He had meant it. He had not merely said it, he had wished it. He had wished that she and not he should be delivered to the–” (262). This shows how far Winston has come from his thoughts of rebellion. His spirit and freedom had been completely broken. A song then starts playing, almost as though he is imagining it. “Something changed in the music that trickled from the telescreen. A cracked and jeering note, a yellow note, came into it. And then–perhaps it was not happening, perhaps it was only a memory taking on the semblance of sound–a voice was singing: Under the spreading chestnut tree, I sold you, and you sold me” (262). This song has been heard before, also in the Chestnut Tree Cafe, years earlier, before he met Julia. Winston saw Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford sitting at a table, and he heard the same song playing. All of the men were crying. Here, the song symbolizes these men’s loss of freedom, just as it does Winston’s. Winston has no emotion, no love, and no freedom. And, as he hears of victory from the telescreen, he realizes his deep love for Big Brother. This is the final loss of his freedom in all forms, and he becomes just another brainwashed citizen of Oceania.
Music and song have an important role in symbolism in the book and represent freedom. Throughout the book, George Orwell uses the lack of freedom to show how important freedom in thought, speech, and emotion is to humanity. In our lives today, we use music as a way to express our emotions, and it is a form of communication beyond words. Without it and the freedom that comes with it, our world would be unimaginably different.
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