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__________________________1984 by George Orwell

 


STUDYWORLD STUDYNOTES

1984

Quick/Fast Review

The world is divided into the three super-powers Oceania, Eastasia and Eurasia. Oceania is alternating between being at war with one power and allied with the other. The population of Oceania consists of three castes: the Inner Party (1%), the Outer Party (14%) and the Proles (85%).

The Inner Party is the ruling caste and its sole desire is to gain power, have power, and keep the power - forever. The Inner Party uses a system of totalitarianism to stay in power, which means the total control over the people's actions and thoughts. The official face of the party is "Big Brother", an oversized face on posters hanging on walls everywhere and staring from every telescreen, seeming to follow everybody with his eyes. Telescreens are installed in every room, every hallway, elevator, lift, every street, square, every possible place. They send nonstop party-programs; blare reports from the war-zone and the newest numbers about industrial production achievements. The telescreen can only be turned down but not shut off, one is constantly exposed to it. They are not only sending propaganda, but they are also capable of observing every movement and record every sound. One never knows if the Thought-Police is following closely every step made. The enormous tasks of the party are done by four divisions: the Ministry of Truth (news, education, entertainment, fine arts), the Ministry of Love (law and order), the Ministry of Plenty (economic affairs) and the Ministry of Peace (war efforts). The sex-instinct is oppressed in order to change this "energy" into war-hysteria. No love-marriages are allowed.

Winston Smith works in the Ministry of Truth. He lives alone in an apartment. He used to be married - not very happily - and his wife disappeared some time ago. Winston doesn't get along very well in this world; in his heart he hates Big Brother. What he wishes the most is being able to think and do what he wants, and not what he is supposed to. He is dreaming of freedom.

One day he buys a diary on the black market and starts formulating his thoughts about the Party. He knows that he is practically dead, because sooner or later, the Thought-Police will detect him. He knows that his misdeeds didn't just start with the opening of the diary but much earlier, with the beginning of his rebellious thoughts - called thought-crime. Winston feels totally alone with his thoughts; everybody else seems to believe everything the Party says. He can't even be totally sure of his own mind, because their exist no kind of documentation or reference about a single fact of the past that hasn't been altered several times by the Ministry of Truth.

Everything changes when Julia, a young woman whom Winston had held for an exemplary party-memeber, gives him a message. The two start to secretly meet each other and fall in love. Both of them know that the Party will have no mercy for them when discovered, but continue anyway.

After some weeks they decide to take the next step and try to make contact with the Brotherhood, a mysterious conspiracy against Big Brother, of which nobody knows for sure if it actually exists. Winston knows somebody called O'Brien, a member of the Inner Party, of whom he feels certain that he shares rebellious thoughts. One day, Winston and Julia risk everything and go straight to O'Brien's house and ask him about this underground movement. He doesn't disappoint them; they learn that he actually belongs to the Brotherhood. Both Winston and Julia swear now to give up everything for the Brotherhood, to do everything that is in their might in the effort of making the world a better place for their posterity. O'Brien gives Winston "The Book", which contains the truth about Big Brother, the Party and the whole system. For some time nothing changes, Winston and Julia are both waiting for orders form O'Brien.

Suddenly there is an evil awakening for Winston and Julia when one morning the police arrests them both in their secret place. They find out that their every step had been closely watched by the Thought-Police for a long time. O'Brien turns out to be one of the most truly believers in Big Brother and that he had fooled them badly. Deep inside they aren't really surprised to be finally caught. The Party doesn't just want to kill them now, but rather they want to change their way of thinking and bring their thoughts back on the right track by every means possible.

After being imprisoned for many horrible months in the dungeons of the Ministry of Love, Winston is released again, being only a hollow body with no individual thoughts. He lost the battle against the system. Winston had been thinking about this possibility and even accepted it; he had known that he was going to be tortured. What he didn't know was that the Party was actually able to wash his brain so absolutely clean that there wouldn't be any rebellious thought left but merely love for Big Brother.

 

 

  • Biography of George Orwell

  • Quick/Fast Review

  • Character List

  • About the Novel

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Part One, Chapters 1-4

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Part One, Chapters 5-8

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Part Two, Chapters 1-5

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Part Two, Chapters 6-10

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Part Three, All

  • Comprehensive Summary and Review of Appendix

  • Studyworld Essay Search on 1984




     

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