Mark R. Myers

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Michael Skau


Despite his reputation as a political writer, George Orwell exhibited an earnest appreciation for the aesthetic aspect of his craft while explicitly advocating creative independence for artists living in a hyper-politicized world. This paper explores Orwell's literary credo insofar as it matters amid an increasingly urgent flight of artists and critics into the nest of political orthodoxy. Sacrificing objective and query to “orthodoxy-sniffing” critics of his time dismissed writers and works of art whose politics clash with their own. Creative writers, too, sacrificed their artistic vision to the constrictive demands of party ideology. In this atmosphere, or well fashioned a credo which reconciled creative independence with the necessity of political involvement.

In addition, close textual analysis of Nineteen Eighty-Four reveals literary techniques which Orwell used to represent the critical peril of reducing the value of a work or art to its consonance with orthodoxy. Employing strategies of focalization and unreliable narration, Orwell induces the reader to interpret the text under the rubric of conflicting political ideologies. Ultimately, these ideologies do not provide an adequate appreciation of the text. Thus, the novel itself defies the kind of categorization which it invites readers to make, illustrating thereby the shortcomings of political criticism as well as Orwell's own technical variety.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of English and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 2006 Mark R. Myers.

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