Surviving twentieth-century modernity

Birdsong and emotions in Britain 1

Authored by: Michael Guida

The Routledge Companion to Animal–Human History

Print publication date:  September  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138193260
eBook ISBN: 9780429468933
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780429468933-16

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Abstract

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is a good place to start. The rats of Room 101 stay vivid in the mind, but there are other creatures that Orwell places carefully within the story. The possibility of a release from the oppression of ‘the Party’ comes when Julia and Winston Smith celebrate their defiance with a trip to the countryside. Julia had discovered a clearing in the woods on a community hike where she could safely meet men like Winston. When they arrive at the sunny clearing, Winston cannot relax though. He wonders if there are microphones hidden among the trees. He despises his false teeth and varicose veins and the ‘sooty dust of London in the pores of his skin’. 2 Yet the awkwardness of their encounter among the saplings evaporates in the presence of a thrush that alights on a bough close to them and begins to pour forth a torrent of song.

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