Last updated: August 5, 2019
Topic: ArtMovies
Sample donated:

“He pushed the picture out his mind. It was a false memory. He was troubled by false memories occasionally. They did not matter so long as one knew them for what they were. Some things had happened, others had not happened” (1984, Orwell, pg.324). The theme of appearance vs. reality has been apparent throughout the novel of 1984, and can be applied to the daily of life of individuals in the real world as it continues to progress. Appearance can be seen as what people expect of something, while reality is the truth about that specific thing. In George Orwell’s novel, 1984, there are many examples of this theme demonstrated by the actions of the characters. Protagonist Winston Smith is certain that O’Brien is a trustworthy partner that he can side with, but in the end, O’Brien is actually an enemy and punishes Winston for breaking the law and disobeying Big Brother. Winston is in a constant battle with his memory, confused with what is actually reality and/or if it’s just lies told by the state of Oceania. In the modern world, people are often fooled by the appearance of an item or another human being, persuaded that it is something/someone good based on the looks, mistakenly reacting towards what’s true about that specific thing/person without knowledge at a deeper level. In the novel 1984, everyone is being watched by Big Brother through a telescreen. There is no escaping this, as every move is being tracked. Winston is still inclined to do what he believes is right and has thoughts about what actually is real in the state of Oceania. Along the way, Winston meets important characters that impact his life, who include O’Brien and Julia. Winston believes that O’Brien is an ally at first glance because they seem to understand each other. He also meets Julia, who he was unsure about. Julia had the appearance of an innocent woman, but in reality, has slept with many people. Eventually, Winston and Julia falls in love, and finds a secret place to hide their romantic activities. As Winston discovers the history and truth of Oceania, he informs Julia about it, trusting her with this precious information, breaking the law, and causing both to get thrown in the Ministry of Love, alone in a prison-like setting. Surprisingly, O’Brien was an enemy all along and watching Winston’s actions for 7 years. He punishes Winston and forces him to think a certain way, oppressing him. Finally, after all the torturing and pain in Room 101, Winston had “won the victory over himself”(1984, pg.326). Winston continues to remain sane through the strict circumstances of Oceania, while many have given into the lies that Oceania has told. Oceania is trying to convince Winston that there is a different reality than the one that exist in Winston’s mind. Whenever Winston felt like he found a safe place, he was still being watched. O’Brien tried making Winston become sane, but Winston was already sane, as he believes the truths that define reality. On the other hand, O’Brien is possibly insane, desperate to control people, and lives with the lies created by Oceania that is supposed to be reality. The theme of appearance vs. reality is still relevant to modern society as it affects people’s daily lives. Advertisers still use the tactic of making something look better in commercials than in real life. Shown in a youtube video posted by McDonald’s Canada, the video demonstrates how the burgers are made and how they are enhanced to look better for a photoshoot to be put on an ad or commercial. The video starts with a woman, Hope Bagozzi, Director of Marketing, McDonald’s Canada, buying a regular Big Mac at a local McDonald’s. She shows how flat and dull the burger actually looks. Then she shows a question from a customer, Isabel M, asking, “Why does your food look different in the advertising than what it is in store?” Hope goes to the photography studio and takes us viewers through the process of how the burger is created for advertising. The burger is cooked with the same ingredients, but is touched up with sauce, pickles, and cheese at a certain angle to make the burger more appealing. Also, after placing things a certain way on the burger, photoshop is done to enhance colors and fix minor flaws on the bread and patty. This is effective because the photo only shows one side of the burger, the side that is fixed with precision to look appetizing to customers. The finished product is compared to an actual burger and the differences are apparent, as the photoshopped burger is almost twice as big and shows the ingredients in a better way (McDonald’s Canada). Many businesses use this same strategy to convince customers to buy a specific item. Advertisements usually exaggerate the product to make it look and function better. Reality is, the product does not meet those same expectations as previewed in commercials. The Big Mac sounds great and delicious, but the actual burger does not have the same colors and visuals as ones advertised. Similarly in the novel 1984, the Victory Mansions is given a name that is the complete opposite of what it actually sounds like. It might sound like a luxurious home, but in reality, Victory Mansions is a place that smells pungent, decorated with old furnishings, and filled with dust. The name of the building does not represent what’s truly on the inside. This creates irony in the sense because one should expect Victory Mansions to be big and clean. The theme of appearance vs. reality is often seen in works of literature. In Shakespeare’s literary work, “Romeo and Juliet”, love is portrayed to an extent of dying for a loved one. In the tragic love story, Romeo falls in love with a girl named Juliet, a Capulet daughter, who is the enemy of Romeo’s family. The two go on to love each other and plan to get married despite all the disapproval coming from both sides of the families. Facing a tragic end, Juliet drinks a potion that puts her to sleep for a few moment. Romeo assumes Juliet is dead and kills himself without knowledge of Julia still being alive. Julia wakes up to a dead Romeo and takes her own life (Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare). Comparing it to the novel 1984 by George Orwell, 1984 portrays love with a realistic approach as Winston fears to meet his demise, betraying Julia and bringing the pain upon her. In the text, Winston tells O’Brien, “Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don’t care what you do to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the bones. Not me”(1984, pg.313). Winston values his life more than others, leading him to demonstrate a selfish act that would save him. Orwell tries to convey the message that one would not likely risk their life to save another loved one. In reality, humans value their own lives more than another. Although the love between Winston and Julia appears to be as strong as the love between Romeo and Juliet, Winston and Julia had limits to their love. People fear too much to sacrifice their own life. It may appear as the right thing to do but instincts kicks in and causes the person to do whatever it takes to avoid the pain. Love is not always great and has its consequences. Love is often seen as the feeling of happiness generated through a passionate relationship between an individual and his/her companion. However, love is much more complex, as it also creates moments of sadness and not just happiness. It can be hard to love someone when you have no sort of feeling for that person. Couples will look happy together in public, but in a secluded area, there might be some arguing and disagreements that others will not see except those two in that relationship. Media has such a powerful influence towards its audience through entertainment, whether it’s books, movies, shows, or social media apps, the audience is often engaged with media. According to actor Brenock O’Connor, him and his family has received death threats due to his role in Game of Thrones. He portrays the character Olly, who murders the fan-favorite character Jon Snow in the fifth season of the show. As this is a serious issue, he believes people are just outraged because of the show’s finale. Brenock states, “It’s laughable how people think the show is realistic enough for them to send messages like this to someone who is not the character. I find it quite funny”(The Argus, Katy Rice). This example demonstrates how the appearance of someone can cause people to become infuriated. Actors and actresses are not the same people they are on the big screen. However, the audience cling onto a specific character so much that when a favorite character is killed off, the audience reacts in a negative way. For Brenock, he may not be a bad human being in person, yet he is treated by Game of Thrones fans in a negative way due to the character he portrays. Brenock is humble as he appreciates the hate instead of getting angry with the fans. This goes to show that movie and/or show characters do not portray the actual behavior and traits of the person playing that character. Appearance vs. reality is still a recurring issue in the world today, as it is used in advertisements and causes people to act a certain way towards something based off of looks. Appearance is the flower and reality is the roots holding that flower up. Reaching the point of reality may take some time, since it often gives a in-depth analysis of someone or something. Appearance only takes a glance and can fool people. Appearances can be deceiving because it’s often planned and scripted to look and create a certain reaction out of its viewers. The novel 1984 represents a world that is supposed to be advanced and equal, but in reality, it is only made up of lies that manipulate the truth and conquer the weaker people of Oceania to think, believe, and stay under the control of the people in power. It is easy to rely on appearance to become attracted to something, but a reality check is necessary to understand what’s beyond those appearances.