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Symbolism in terms of outward appearance essay

The Barcelona of Homage to Catalonia is revolutionary, vital, and very different from the "deep, deep sleep" of England. But increasingly Orwell turned to a dystopic view of the city, where it became the place of poverty, inequality, and oppression.

The urban imagery of George Orwell

Vittore Collina follows the transition from the "city of men" to the "city of stone" in Orwell's urban imagery. At the beginning of the twentieth century, artists and architects belonging to the futurist movement developed an idea of the city that united urban order with movement, speed, and machines.

But the general feeling is different and European culture after the First World War accentuates an awareness of loss of the city as a unifying system: To new groups of intellectuals and architects, reason and geometric forms seem to be a remedy for the illness plaguing the metropolis.

  • Moreover, the irony of the author is too strong to attribute to these elements a general conclusion and, in particular, to give to his nostalgia the weight of a theoretical and political position;
  • From a point of view of urban imagery, two very important aspects need to be underlined;
  • Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier, 46;
  • Eyes Wide Shut presents two different planes of discourse;
  • But increasingly Orwell turned to a dystopic view of the city, where it became the place of poverty, inequality, and oppression.

New stable reference points are sought after. The surrealistic approach links roaming around the city to the surfacing of the subconscious. These visionary reconstructions are in conflict with rational programming.

Martin Lings

This presence is highlighted in Nineteen Eighty-four, where the dramatic representation of London obtains great symbolic weight. In the opening pages, we find a colourful description of Barcelona that is experiencing the exceptional conditions of a revolutionary city in the hands of the workers; symbolism in terms of outward appearance essay the end he returns to England and recounts his arrival in London.

Two cities, one at its beginning and one at its end: London is a pure image, just to represent something else. We are in tune to the images of symbolism in terms of outward appearance essay, even if, in this tranquil portrait of the metropolis, there is a word that stirs up a somewhat unsettling echo: There is, in addition, an attraction for the rural landscape, together with a refusal of the industrialized city.

Instead, at the beginning, Barcelona is very alive and on the move: It was the first time that I had ever been in a town where the working class was in the saddle. Practically every building of any size had been seized by the workers and was draped with red flags or with the red and black flag of the Anarchists; every wall was scrawled with the hammer and sickle and with the initials of the revolutionary parties […] Churches here and there were being systematically demolished by gangs of workmen.

Every shop and cafe had an inscription saying that it had been collectivised; even the bootblacks had been collectivised and their boxes painted red and black. Waiters and shop-walkers looked you in the face and treated you as an equal.

Servile and even ceremonial forms of speech had temporarily disappeared […] almost my first experience was receiving a lecture from a hotel manager for trying to tip a lift-boy. There were no private motor-cars, they had all been commandeered, and all the trams and taxis and much of the other transport were painted red and black […] Down the Ramblas, the wide central artery of the town where crowds of people streamed constantly to and fro […] And it was the aspect of the crowds that was the queerest thing of all.

In outward appearance it was a town in which the wealthy classes had practically ceased to exist. Practically everyone wore rough working-class clothes, or blue overalls, or some variant of the militia uniform.

From a point of view of urban imagery, two very important aspects need to be underlined: On one hand, the city can be thought of as a map heir of many historic overlays with its streets, buildings, squares, bridges, churches, parks, stations, neighbourhoods, etc. Instead, as an example of rare balance, one could cite Mon vieu Paris, by Edouard Drumont, which starts from the streets, buildings and oldest neighbourhoods to reconstruct a symbolic depth, pieces of history, customs and values, tightly holding the city of stone together with the living city.

This early, autobiographical work is dominated by the city of men: The search for employment, the efforts of maintaining a dignified appearance, the pawn shops and the little money earned there, the ways of finding food with little money, night after night in lodging houses with revolting conditions, the strange encounters, the information that circulates, the solidarity of temporary friends, the rare stroke of luck.

The second part of the story takes place in London. London is always compared to Paris in relation to these problems: Along with the fatigue, the inhumane hours 12 hours a day, with a one-hour break at 2 pmand the deep, tortuous cellars stinking and darkOrwell describes in detail not only his day, but the organization of various duties, the psychology of the roles performed by the employee and the caste system of the hotel that seems to have become a metaphor for the entire society.

From a spatial point of view and the associated metaphorical implications, it is not by chance that the lower stratum works in the unhealthy and labyrinth-like cellar: They are part of what the city hides both materially and socially.

In this work from 1933, essentially we see a city of men in which there is a small part hidden from and by the city. Henry Fielding revealed this aspect about London in the eighteenth century. His travel to the north is by train, and in the book we find some descriptions joined with wider reflections on industry and human life: The whole of the industrial districts are really one enormous town, of about the same population as Greater London but fortunately, of much a larger area; so that even in the middle of them there is still room for patces of cleanness and decency […] The earth is so vast and still so empty that even in the filthy heart of civilisation you find fields where the grass is green instead of grey […] For quite a long time […] the train was rolling through open country before the villa-civilisation began to close in upon us again and then the outer slums, and then the slag-heaps, belching chimneys, blast-furnaces, canals and gasometers of another industrial town.

He presents some studies and some comparisons on the salaries. He describes the poor houses of the workers and touches the terrible housing problem. In industrial towns, poverty and hardships are not relegated underground. Under the eye of Orwell its most evident aspects are filth and ugliness.

At the end of the first part we find again urban descriptions and reflections. Sheffield, I suppose, could just claim to be called the ugliest town in the Old World […] it has a population of half a million and it contains fewer decent buildings than symbolism in terms of outward appearance essay average East Anglian village of five hundred […] If at rare moments you stop smelling sulphur it is because you have begun smelling gas. Even the shallow river that runs through the town is usually bright yellow with some chemical or other.

In the sober kind of writing used by Orwell, the ugliness of these towns testifies to an extreme lack of harmony. A belching chimney or a stinking slum is repulsive chiefly because it implies warped lives and ailing children […] The beauty or ugliness of industrialism hardly matters. Its real evil lies far deeper and is quite ineradicable. Between tradition and modernity the cities are full of different meanings, have a strong expressive power, have been the subject of a very wide series of essays, novels, poems, and works of art.

The novels of Orwell are generally constructed on many levels of narration and meaning; they are characterized by a complex process of reciprocity, reflecting, and overturning.

The topic of the city is well suited this framework, and the urban imagery which results from his writings combines with the dynamics of those characters.

  1. But they do more because they translate in architectural terms not only the supremacy, but the infallibility of the Party and, in some way, they represent the collective immortality of those who identify with them.
  2. In the opening pages, we find a colourful description of Barcelona that is experiencing the exceptional conditions of a revolutionary city in the hands of the workers; in the end he returns to England and recounts his arrival in London. Under the eye of Orwell its most evident aspects are filth and ugliness.
  3. North-Holland, 1974, 83, and Daemmrich. To new groups of intellectuals and architects, reason and geometric forms seem to be a remedy for the illness plaguing the metropolis.
  4. D'Elia, "La ville selon les artistes.

The reduction of Paris and London to the wandering of beggars and the homeless is a subtle provocative way to describe poverty, to write a chapter of his autobiography and to speak about the great problem of social justice. In Homage to Catalonia, London is evoked and reduced to the representation of a blind and unchanged reality. In The Road to Wigan Pier we have symbolism in terms of outward appearance essay sights of the exterior, the passage from the city of stone to the one of men, the connection of description and interpretation.

The industrial towns, between visible and hidden, spread the images of what is not so well known and elaborate these images in the frame of a larger social reflection. A complex and balanced work where the cities play different roles on many levels. We can note, generally, an increasing reference to the city of stone and a recurring presence of aesthetic observations.

In Down and Out in Paris and London, there were ironic observations about the aesthetics of English architecture. In The Road to Wigan Pier, the ugliness of the industrial towns was put in a even too strong evidence. In the 1940s, the aesthetic judgements on architecture lose their social and socialist side. Rehousing and town planning, for instance, are normally discussed without even a mention of beauty and or ugliness.

That seems to be a fixed rule in London: In a piece dedicated to the methods of drawing tourists to England after the war, Orwell sees rural England as particularly attractive: Here, the controversy becomes strong and takes on clearly anti-capitalistic colours: Aside from other considerations, his conclusion to this article is particularly interesting and precursory: The structure of the work is very complex: London and the city in general plays a role of a certain interest.

The city of men symbolism in terms of outward appearance essay still largely present, but the city of stone, repeatedly represented, has taken on importance even in some overall views. The first view of London is found on the third page of the novel and after a series of very significant details, it supplies, in visual terms, an overall picture of the reality of the regime the protagonist moves in.

In fact, London is at war and the houses in the working-class neighbourhoods are regularly struck by bombs. Starting from the desolation of these images, the urban imagery of the novel has to be examined at three different levels. At the first, which is the most simple and direct, the city of stones represents the social outline of the regime, with the clear and strong division between the proles inferior beings, similar to animals and subject to the application of few elementary rules and party members: But they do more because they translate in architectural terms not only the supremacy, but the infallibility of the Party and, in some way, they represent the collective immortality of those who identify with them.

The ruins and destruction that spread over the rest of the city translate not the sad sense of the frailty of human things as could be done from a religious point of viewbut reaffirm the centrality and infallibility of the Party itself, the sole source of truth: The city takes part in it. The outer face of the city is used by the regime for enveloping the population with its messages. In any case, the city is not only a representation of the totalitarian regime of Nineteen Eighty-four: And the city is an organic part of this problem.

With this we reach the second level. The urban dynamics are connected with the research of Winston. Cities are ordinarily taken from the dynamics of conservation and renewal and the renewal often passes through destruction. Even in times of peace. With the arrival of aerial warfare, the destruction of cities becomes a terrible widespread reality. The preservation of the historical and cultural heritage, which the monuments, squares, buildings of a city are imbued with, is then seriously threatened.

But he understood equally well the internal logic of a self-referential power that is reaffirmed in its absoluteness and can take advantage of mass communication methods for destroying all external objectivity.

Therefore, for Winston the city of stone initially appears as a reference point that can oppose the continuous revisions of the regime: But the conclusion is disappointing: Even the outer presence in the city of stone is no longer sufficient when the powerful apparatus of symbolic production combines with the pounding propaganda and the material destruction.

  • The first few scenes of the movie remind the viewer of how much emphasis we tend to put on what is perceptible to our eyes;
  • Aside from other considerations, his conclusion to this article is particularly interesting and precursory;
  • Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier, 46;
  • And he concludes these assessments with rather heavy sarcasm, exclaiming;
  • Every shop and cafe had an inscription saying that it had been collectivised; even the bootblacks had been collectivised and their boxes painted red and black.

At this point the last stronghold is nature. We are on the third level. The theoretical horizon is broadened and London is divided: In this second guise, the one that we are following now, London witnesses the most tragic of abysses.

If in the face of nature the city is imaginable as the human artefact par excellence, the London of Nineteen Eighty-four, crumbling, bombarded, in ruins, dominated by the four buildings of power, represents the most complete set-back of civilization, the final check of the history of humanity, which, in other times, was optimistically considered as marching towards indefinite improvement.

In the background is possible to sense the other term of the pair: The contrast between city and nature has a weak spot particularly in the second term: Nature, strictly speaking, is no longer able to be a theoretically strong term of comparison to contrast the artificial construction of the city and, on a more historical point of view, the intervention of man on the nature is clearer and clearer.

On the other hand, in the last few decades of the nineteenth century, recourse to nature on the level of political thought is widely used by conservatives in an anti-modern key, and in this use also the modern city is radically attacked.

Thus, we can see a vein of conservatism in Orwell, too. Perhaps, more than conservatism, his reflections are populated by a desire to regress to simpler and more genuine forms of life, if modernity, technological equipment, mass means of communications, metropolises are destined to reach the apocalyptical scenarios of Nineteen Eighty-four.