Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree Examples

Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree

The line "under the spreading chestnut tree" appears in Orwell's 1984. The line in the novel is an allusion to a song sung by Glenn Miller. These are the lyrics from the song:

Examples of Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree:

Underneath the spreading chestnut tree
I loved him and he loved me
There I used to sit up on his knee
'Neath the spreading chestnut tree
There beneath the boughs we used to meet
All his kisses were so sweet
All the little birdies went "tweet-tweet"
'Neath the spreading chestnut tree
I said "I love you", and there ain't no if's or but's
He said "I love you", and the blacksmith shouted "Chestnut!"
Underneath the spreading chestnut tree
There he said he'd marry me
Now you oughta see our family
'Neath the spreading chestnut tree!
There beneath the boughs we used to meet
All his kisses were so sweet
All the little birdies went "tweet-tweet"
'Neath the spreading chestnut tree
Underneath the spreading chestnut tree
There he said he'd marry me
Now you oughta see our family
'Neath the spreading chestnut tree!


The song by Glenn Miller is a love song-a couple fell in love beneath the chestnut tree, became engaged under the chestnut tree, and now their family gathers under the same tree.


In 1984, Orwell has changed the line to read, "under the spreading chestnut tree, I sold you and you sold me." 1984 is a novel about the power of government in our lives, and love between members of the Party is not allowed-they are supposed to be devoted to Big Brother first and foremost. In the novel Winston and Julia are two lovers, but Winston betrays Julia after being tortured by the Party. Thus, instead of "I loved him and he loved me," Orwell has changed the line to "I sold you and you sold me" to show that the lovers betrayed love for the government.

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