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Main Ideas

Allusions

Main Ideas Allusions

Book One, Chapter I

Religious

He would tie her naked to a stake and shoot her full of arrows like Saint Sebastian.

This is an allusion to a Christian saint who was persecuted by the Roman emperor for converting Roman soldiers to Christianity.

Book One, Chapter II

Historical

And for good reason, for hardly a week passed in which the Times did not carry a paragraph describing how some eavesdropping little sneak—“child hero” was the phrase generally used—had overhead some compromising remark and denounced his parents to the Thought Police.

This is an allusion to the British newspaper that circulated in the late 1700s that focused on delivering the news without including any government or political propaganda.

Book One, Chapter IV

Historical

It struck him as curious that you could create dead men but not living ones. Comrade Ogilvy, who had never existed in the present, now existed in the past, and when once the act of forgery was forgotten, he would exist just as authentically, and upon the same evidence, as Charlemagne or Julius Caesar.

This quote contains allusions to Charlemagne, the emperor of much of Western Europe who lived from AD 742–814, and the Roman dictator Julius Caesar.

Book Two, Chapter IX

Literary

A little Rumpelstiltskin figure, contorted with hatred, he gripped the neck of the microphone with one hand while the other, enormous at the end of a bony arm, clawed the air menacingly above his head.

This is an allusion to a fairy tale in which a small, magical creature named Rumpelstiltskin tricks desperate people into participating in unfair contracts and then spins straw into gold in exchange for payment.

Book Three, Chapter II

Literary

“I think I exist,” he said warily. “I am conscious of my own identity. I was born, and I shall die.[”]

This is an allusion to the philosopher René Descartes’s (1596–1650) quote “I think, therefore I am.”