Throughout Chapter 1 of 1984, the reader Is exposed to the many kinds of manipulation that the government uses to control the people of Oceania. The Party uses numerous examples of verbal and dramatic Irony as part of Its campaign to exercise Its dominance over the people and control their dally actions. Verbal irony, an incongruity that has a deeper significance than the surface meaning, is displayed throughout the society of 1984 in Chapter 1 . The primary theme of this chapter deals with Winston desire to write down his deeply felt thoughts about the
Party. Winston is scared to open his diary because he is scared of being “punished by death, or at least by twenty-five years in a forced-labor camp” (9). This happens to be ironic because the Party has said that nothing is illegal, “there were no longer any laws” (9). Everyone in Oceania, where Winston lives, is scared of breaking many laws, none of which exist. Many people are frightened of what Is not familiar to them. The Party, not saying a word, controls the citizens of Oceania, causing them to live their lives In constant fear.
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Verbal Irony, which the Party forces on the people, Is found throughout the society of 1 984 In Chapter 1 and In later chapters throughout the novel. Along with verbal irony, dramatic irony, which occurs when the characters are not aware of what the audience understands, is also found throughout Chapter 1 . For example, the name of Winston home, Victory Mansions, is very ironic because its name implies that it is exactly the opposite of what really exists there. Its name makes it seem very nice and beautiful, yet the use of the pleasant name is used as another means to manipulate the minds of the people. The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats” (5), “[the lift] was seldom working” (5), and a lot of dust swirled Inside as Winston hustled into the building. The name, Victory Mansions, has no resemblance to the shape that It Is In and most of the characters, except Winston, seem completely comfortable with this Incongruity. Another Instance of this kind of irony is presented with the names of the ministries. The Ministry of Peace, Minivan, is not involved with peace, but instead, with war, the exact opposite.
Similarly, the Ministry of Truth, Miniature, is involved with the news, which, as depicted in later chapters, tells nothing but lies. The audience realizes that these names do not make sense, but the people of Oceania do not realize it. In fact, the Newsweek names of these two ministries both begin with mint, meaning small or little. It is a further example of the irony used throughout that the ministry, Minivan, which is supposed to be concerned with peace, actually has very little concern for peace. Likewise, Milliner has very little concern with truth.