In George Orwell’s 1984, the glass paperweight does not serve any one purpose – it serves as a “swish army knife” of symbols, providing a tangible means by which the reader can connect with multiple elements of Orwell’s foreboding novel. Winston Smith discovers the paperweight in Mr. Charington’s shop, as his disillusionment with the party is coming to a head, and he begins to identify his desire and hope for freedom, as well as representing the memories of the past which Winston struggled to retain. It is shattered as the thought police converge on Winston and Julia, destroying the world of privacy and autonomy that Winston saw inside. Between these two events, the paperweight is seldom mentioned, however it represents the fragility of the world which Winston and Julia have created for themselves in the room above Mr. Charington’s, the world that is a facsimile of the ideal world which Winston wishes to create. The paperweight ties these ideas together, serving as a physical, tangible symbol of Winston’s state of mind; specifically his memories of the past and desire for freedom, the annihilation of Winston’s hope for a better world, and the fragility of the world in which he exists for the better part of the novel.
* Focus on Winston’s state of mind, his desire for privacy and autonomy, his hope to improve the world in which he resides, the memories of the past which he alone seems to have, and (obviously) how the paperweight relates to these
* Memories of the past
* “It’s a little chunk of history that they’ve forgotten to alter. It’s a message from a hundred years ago, if one knew how to read it” * Winston reflects on how the paperweight represen’t something historical that was not altered by big brother * As mentioned before, it was discovered as Winston grew disillusioned with the party * It was “Beautiful” but “Useless” Winston lives in a world without art or beauty of any kind, all
things exist for a purpose, such as love being for the purpose of reproduction. From this perspective, the paperweight is the antithesis of Big Brother’s doctrine * Winston believed he could “get inside it” he hoped that one day he would be part of the world which he saw within the paperweight