Comprehensive Summary and Review of
Part I Chapters 1-4
As Winston Smith entered his apartment building, he passed
a familiar poster. "It was one of those pictures which are so contrived
that the eyes follow you about when you move. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU,
the caption beneath it ran." Then Winston opened the door to his flat
to be greeted by a voice on his "telescreen" - a device he could
dim, but never shut off completely. Telescreens broadcasted government propaganda
and served as the eyes and ears of the Thought Police, who scrutinized everyone
for any possible deviation from acceptable thought or action.
In the flat was a tiny alcove just out of sight from the telescreen's vision.
Winston sat down to write in his diary, an act that was not officially illegal
"but if detected it was reasonably certain that it would be punished
by death . .
1984 starts with a first person narration that is used effectively to show
the universal fear of the Thought Police and Winston's fear of everything
connected to Ingsoc, or English socialism. The Party, as it is simply called,
is the Governing body of the superstate Oceana. The figurehead leader of
The Party is a person known only as Big Brother, a brother that is always
The ever vigilant eyes of Big Brother are the Thought Police, who monitor
everyone, everywhere through the use of telescreens. Designed to broadcast
party propaganda, telescreens also have a video camera which transmits the
activities of all those within sight of the screen to the Thought Police.
The party controls not only the lives of people through the use of telescreens,
but reality itself. They do this by altering the past, a fact easily concealed
by The Party's principles of doublethink. The best explanation of doublethink
are examples provided by The Party's slogans. These are: WAR IS PEACE; SLAVERY
IS FREEDOM; and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.