Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceHomework Help · 1 decade ago

In the book 1984 what does the opening sentence suggest?

The opening sentence is: It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

8 Answers

  • Favorite Answer

    a twenty four hour clock is used by the military, so it suggest that there was war or a military government.

    April is spring, so change is about to come but despite that, the feeling is of insecurity, harshness, dullness (cold) rather than what spring typically is known for... security, rebirth,life, rejoicing (warmth).

  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    "...the clocks were striking thirteen" suggests that everything was under Admiralty law or the law of the sea, which is international war time law. Maritime or Admiralty law uses a 24-hour clock. It is a time of constant war as said that 'war is peace'. This implies preemptive war. Thus everything is under martial law. The State rules everything. Treason, the constant watching by Big Brother (the State) is in effect. This is a story about the evils of Socialism, Communism or Collectivism. The loss of private property, even to the point of not being able to keep a diary, and above all the Ministry of Truth or minitru was the propaganda of media and simply a cold, cold lie. England has become Oceania (a place of totalitarian control), even in April.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago


    April is full of hope as spring is in the air with a crisp cold under a promising blue sky but...


    13 is not a lucky number is it. It shows the irony that in an atmosphere of hope and youth (spring), there is a major problem: the time is past the deadline so anything that is hoped for can no longer be achieved.

  • 7 years ago

    Ordinarily the clocks would strike either 12 or then 1'o'clock in the afternoon but this is no ordinary society and if people are told that it there are more hours than the 12 hour am/pm format they comply. I think that perhaps there is 13 hours in each half of the day and perhaps instead of being 24 hours they are then being told there is 13 and 13 (26 hours) because the state says so.

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  • ?
    Lv 4
    5 years ago

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    It symbolises the absolute control that the ruling party has over the population, to the extent that they do not even question the number of times a clock can chime. It also seems to mind-play on the belief that 13 is unlucky for some, namely the majority! @Ball 5 - You should try reading a 'buck', you might then not be so ignorant of what is going on around you.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    wow. not many of you understood the book, judging by some answers. Here's the meaning: The thirteenth stroke here DOES NOT refer to military time. References to a thirteenth stroke of the clocks indicate that some event or discovery calls into question everything previously believed. Put another way, the thirteenth stroke of the clock calls into question not only the credibility of itself but of the previous twelve.

    But notice in this opening line that it isn't just one clock malfunctioning, but the clocks. Presumably all of them. In this world, the clocks striking thirteen is not an aberration, but a normal way of life.

    In this way, Orwell subtly alerts the reader that statements of truth in this fictional society should be called into question.

    Remember, the Party can make you believe whatever they want.

  • 5 years ago

    Orwell is telling us that reality (and truth) have been replaced by the absurd. This isn t the only use of numbers in the novel to illustrate this point (2 + 2 =5).

    Furthermore, it is clocks plural -- ALL the clocks are striking 13, suggesting that it is society itself and not the individual that is absurd.

  • 1 decade ago

    [Going out on a limb]

    The book 1984 was Orwell's view of the future - clocks striking 13 suggest that society is overdue for something (i.e. society is headed towards totalitarianism if we don't stop it.)

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