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Importance of History in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)

The Importance of History in 1984

Time is an amazing element of the universe we are in. It is a driving force – we cannot speed it up or slow it down, it perpetually marches forward at a constant speed. After a moment in time has past, it becomes the past, and we have absolutely no way of going back to it to experience it again in a new way. Once time has past, all that remains is our perception of it. History is nothing more than our collective perceptions of the past. And perception is not like time – it is not constant, it can be altered. In George Orwell’s 1984, the leaders of the Party use written records to alter the peoples’ perception of history, ultimately as a means of control.

Everyone has different perceptions of the same reality. Everything that we experience is altered by our individual perceptions. There is one reality, but each person experiences slightly different versions of that reality. The source or reason for this is the individual experiences of each person. Everything we experience in our lives piles up to form our past. Our memory brings back experiences from this heap of the past. These memories combine with the reality we are experiencing in the present to form our individual perception of reality.

Everything is perceived differently by each person, and different perceptions of reality vary greatly. An potato is a completely different thing to a farmer and a chef. The idea of music is completely different to a musician and a deaf person. Hitler was a completely different person to a Nazi and a Jew. Even though there is really only one real idea of a potato, one definition of music, and one Hitler, many different realities of these exist within people’s perception.

History is convoluted by perception. There are two ways of looking at history: through our own memories and perception, and through that of others. It is impossible to preserve history in its ideal form. If we look at history through our own memories, we will not see the reality of history, we will see our individual version of the reality. The same thing happens when we look at history through the memories and perception of others. Media is sometimes used to preserve history, but even this is only a perceived version of history.

Symbols in Cat and Mouse

Symbols in Cat and Mouse

Symbols are very important in the story “Cat and Mouse” by Lisa Metzgar. Lisa tells the story of a woman dealing with issues from a small mouse in her house, to not wanting to be married. Animals are used throughout the story to symbolize underlying issues. The reason for the story being called what it is instead of just plain ‘mouse’ is because both the cat and the mouse represent Marcy at one point. The mouse is a symbol of her in that it is trying to escape the traps that are out for it. This is the same way that she is trying to avoid being tied down by the people in her life. The cat can also represent Marcy after it has taken the poison, symbolizing what will happen to her if she allows others to determine her happiness.

When the story opens, Marcy seems to have only one problem, and that is the fact that she has a mouse in her house. However, it isn’t until she starts thinking about the mouse that she, “cannot help thinking about all the other things that are wrong with her life” (Metzgar, 67). The first problem for her is that her parents are in the beginning of a divorce and they both seem to want to pull her in their corner. Her father wants her to get to know (and eventually like) his new girlfriend Helen, while her mother wants Marcy to hate her. The other (and definitely the biggest) problem is her relationship with her boyfriend Tom. She didn’t really want a serious relationship when the two first started dating but didn’t want to hurt him either. Now she fears that he is smothering her and worries that he will propose.

The mouse represents Marcy in that like her, it is being hunted. The difference between the two is that she is the one trying to de…

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… main character. The mouse, which is scurrying around Marcy’s house, can represent her free self that does not want to be tied down. The traps that the mouse repeatedly escapes are representations of the traps that Marcy herself escapes when dealing with people throughout the story. The lazy cat that has nerve damage from eating the rat pellets can represent Marcy if she allows herself to be controlled by the people around her. Although, the reader can see the link between the main character and the animals, it isn’t until the end of the story that Marcy realizes that the mouse is really warning her of what will happen if she gives in to the ‘traps’. By physically seeing the mouse being caught by the nose in the trap and seeing the misery on its face, she realized that this is the same way that she will be if she allows her spirit to be controlled by others.

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