Nineteen Eighty-Four, published as 1984, is a dystopian novel by English writer George Orwell (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950) published in June 1949. The Novel states the theme of totalitarian government in the three imaginary super states that are Oceania, Eastasia, and Eurasia.
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1984 Nineteen Eighty-Four Summary
The super-states are locked in an endless war, with their equivalent powers in which even a decisive victory of any of them is impossible. The reason for being in the state of war is also to keep their economies productive without providing wealth to their citizens, to emerge a state of poverty and fear.
The novel is set in Oceania, which is grouped up by all the English-speaking Nations ( combining North America, South America, Southern Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom ), governed by a party called INGSOC that claims to have the most superior system among all the three super-states.
The states are divided into three categories, The Inner Party members up to 2% specially privileged, The Outer Party Members up to 13% unquestioningly following the party and The Proles 85%, an ignored category termed as incapable for the organized revolts.
The party for the sake of its powers doesn’t allow its citizens to have a private life, nor even their thoughts are private. A telescreen is compulsorily allotted to every citizen, to be kept under continuous surveillance by the thought police, inspecting even their thoughts and arresting and “vaporizing”, if any individual shows any sign of discontent or disobeys the government or even if the police doubt them to have a thought of such.
The head of the government is known to as “Big Brother” who’s moustachioed face with huge staring eyes are displayed on posters almost everywhere, on posters and coins and every citizen has to feel love and allegiance towards him.
Whereas nobody knows if he exists. The patriotism id showed by organizing ‘Hate Rallies’ and public executions of prisoners of war, which also keeps the heat up in the citizens for the war.
Oceania has four ministries that work for the sake of their power with an official language called Newspeak. Ministry of Love, in Newspeak (miniluv) the most horrible among these which maintains Laws and Orders, Ministry of Truth (minitrue) which controls the Media and Power and tells no true , Ministry of Peace (minipax) which conducts wars, absolutely no peace and Ministry of Plenty (miniplenty) which manages the Economic affairs of the nation where almost maximum are poor.
The novel has shown a perfect Irony in the name of the Ministries. The motive of the government is to maintain a good level of fear among the citizens, which is half done by the Ministries.
George has used certain terms like Big Brother, Doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, Room 101, telescreen, 2+2=5, memory hole with certain new concepts which are described throughout the novel. Each of the concepts that species the rude behaviour of the government towards the nations.A nation where patriotism is been forced to be followed.
1984 Nineteen Eighty-Four Characters
Winston Smith, the protagonist of the novel, a 39 years old, a ranked and well-skilled outer party member, who secretly hates the totalitarian form of government, and wants to rebel against Big Brother.
The story is surrounded around the life of Winston Smith who works in the Ministry of Truth and his life, in which he attempts mistakes(as per the government) and unfortunately faces its consequences.
Being the lead, he even is unable to change what he wanted to, falling into being one of those whom he hated the most once. The novel describes that misbelievers are a form of terror, which were spread amongst the people by the government, who can either change you according to them or else order you to vaporise without leaving a hint of your existence.
Not just people but also the history related to them have been vaporised. Winston writes a diary, which is forbidden. According to Smith, un-following the party shows his betrayal. He un-follows the party again by falling in Love with a girl named Julia. He is both aroused by Julia’s beauty and disgusted by her fervour.
He mistakes to assume Julia as one of the thought police. Though he is scared of the consequences he accepts that he has to die at the end.
Julia, a dark-haired beautiful girl, and Winston’s Lover. Who works in the Fiction department at The Ministry of Truth. She is a practical, opportunistic girl with not much interest in Politics. Her grandfather was vaporised when she was eight years old, and therefore she does not have any idea of history much.
She believes in secret disobedience against the party is the only form of revolt, as the party is unconquerable and much powerful.
She is cunning and courageous, she breaks certain rules, including purchasing unavailable ration from the black market, being in a relationship and having sex with more than 5-6 people from the ministry, while being a member of an Anti-sex League.
She accepts these facts, which invites Winston more and more to be fallen for her. As Winston says ” The more men you’ve had sex with, the more I love you…I hate purity, I hate goodness. I want everyone to be corrupt to the bones.” rather than feeling bad Winston feels proud as she has corrupted many amongst them, and the fact also shows that many among ministries also hate the government.
O’Brien, the antagonist of the novel. He was an example of dehumanisation. He was a corrupt bureaucrat, and an inner party member, provided by specialised privileged conditions, like turning off the Telescreen. Having many servants and availability of everything that people are dying for, he never felt the need for a change.
Winston misunderstood him as a member of the brotherhood, called to be the group of people who are against the Big Brother. Even after O’Brien reveals himself, Winston couldn’t understand, and takes him as a saviour, whereas he is the instrument of terror. Winston still admires him.
Emmanuel Goldstein, a former leading figure in the Party who is symbolic as the enemy of the state. Two minutes of hate are subjected for him to be viewed on the broadcast. He is supposed to be the leader of the brotherhood.
Aaronson, Jones and Rutherford, former members of the Inner Party, accused of being traitors. Winston remembers as among the original leaders of the Revolution, long before he had heard of Big Brother. Winston observes them at the chestnut café, while they were drinking Gin, after being tortured by the thought police.
Big Brother, his existence is unknown but known to be the leader of the Totalitarian Government.his face with staring eyes and a moustache appears on coins and posters, with an INGSOC has written aside, saying “Big Brother is watching you”.Every person is supposed to have Love and Affection towards him.
Ampleforth, he is a colleague of Winston, works in the record department, whose work is to edit poems, according to the party’s ideology. He is arrested for using the word “God” in a poem, because of not getting any other rhyme.
Parsons, Winston’s neighbour, and co-worker, mostly hated because of his sweaty body. His children are much of the spies. His daughter reports against him to the thought police, as he criticises the government saying “Down with Big Brother” while unconsciously asleep. Even though he is proud of his daughter saying he has done a good upbringing.
Mrs Parson, wife of Mr.Parson,sickly-looking, Ill-fated woman who intimidates her children, and certainly notices Winston’d forbidden Diary.
Mr Charrington, a secret member of thought police, who acts as a sympathetic poorly old fellow, who deals antiques among the proles. Winston buys his Diary from him, and later on buys a paperweight and eventually rents his room to meet Julia and spent time together, secretly. Charrington makes sure that the lovers should be arrested.
Syme, Winston’s colleague at the Ministry of Truth, an orthodox Linguist whose job is to edit the eleventh edition of the newspeak dictionary. Eventually, Syme’s intelligence leads him to be vaporised by the government.
Katherine Smith, Winston’s Ex-Wife, a real patriot towards the nation and a follower of its rules, who thinks the bearing a child to the nation is their duty. Winston wants to get rid of her, that he even thinks to murder her, but she is alive. They apart as they are unable to bear a child.
Winston’s mother, a poor woman, who is left alone to take care of her children, after her husband disappears. Winston often dreams about her, holding his little sister, gifting him his life while sacrificing her and her daughter’s. Winston feels guilty of his selfish behaviour in his childhood.
1984 Nineteen Eighty-Four Novel Plot
The plot has been divided into three parts, the first part provides the information regarding the form of government that has been set up in Oceania, as the civilisation has been damaged by the war, civil conflict and revolution in 1984.
All the three superstates are equally powerful and are among an unending indecisive war, which has no results. Oceania is being ruled by a head figured, named a BigBrother.
The nation runs under the ideology of INGSOC. The party doesn’t allow the citizens even to think on their own, a telescreen is allotted everywhere, even in their private cells, through which the thought police is invigilating everyone.
Winston Smith is the protagonist of the novel, Who lives in Victory Mansion, where many of his co-workers live as his neighbours. Winston is an outer party member, who works in the Ministry of Truth where he recreates the nation’s history by re-writing them according to the nation’s law.
If anyone runs out of favour for the nation, he disappears along with all his history with no hint of existence. He revises all the history. He secretly hates the party and disobeys certain rules including Writing a Diary. He realizes that he already is a thought criminal and will be punished someday and vaporized.
In his ministries, he notices a girl named Julia, for whom he feels love and hatred at the same time. She is a member of the Anti-sex league. Winston imagines to rape and murder her suspecting that she is a member of thought police and she is following him.
In his proletarian neighbourhood he meets Mr Charrington, who is an old man and owner of an antique shop, from where Winston buys a paperweight, and from where he has bought the diary once, secretly.Mr.charrington shows him his secret room where he feels good and thinks that it can be rented to someone.
The second part starts after four days when Julia secretly slides a note to Winston stating in it that she loves him. Unbelievable for him, he gets scared as well as happy. As it is against law he feels it a way to be a rebel against the government.
The couple stays together promising each other and never to leave each other and to be in love always, in any consequences. Winston gets the rented room from Mr Charrington, to meet Julia and to spend time together, as the room doesn’t have a telescreen.
Both of them follow their Love beyond than following the nation and its rules. Julia brings certain food items that are not easily available from the black market and tells Winston that she had sex with many others from the ministry. Winston feels intense love after this as he understands that the people in the ministries are corrupted as well.
Winston meets O’Brien, suspecting that he is a member of Brotherhood and is against the party. O’Brien promises to give him the book The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism by Emmanuel Goldstein and asked them to read it.
They meet at the rented apartment of Mr Charrington where Winston starts to read it. Mr.Charrington was revealed to be an agent from though police and he makes sure to arrest both of them.
The third part has shown many brutal faces of the ministries and its followers including O’Brien, who supports the totalitarian government and reveals that he is the writer of the book The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism and not Goldstein.
He tortures Winston erasing all his old thoughts and revising to be loyal to the Government even if it says 2+2=5 he has to believe.
Winston tells him that they can do anything but can never erase his love for Julia which results in the final stage of the re-education torture in room 101, which is filled with the most horrible experiences of the criminals, and Rats for Winston.
As a wire cage holding hungry rats is fitted onto his face, Winston shouts “Do it to Julia!”, thus betraying her. Winston is given good care after that and is released after years of torture. Winston and Julia meet and accept that they betrayed each other and realizes that they don’t feel anything for each other now.
Winston realises that he is happy for the victory of Oceania over the Eurasian army in Africa and that he loves Big Brother, he is successfully brainwashed.
1984 Nineteen Eighty-Four Novel Themes
Theme of Totalitarian form of Government
1984, a prediction by George Orwell, is much of a warning for the world against what he thought and feared about humanity after it took control over in Germany and the Soviet Union. Orwell witnessed the Soviet Union’s brutal experiences during the Spanish Civil War.
After being retired he tirelessly took the efforts to spread the awareness of the effects and evils of totalitarian government amongst the citizens and promoted what he called “Democratic Socialism”.
Orwell set the book to aware people that this form of government will take place anywhere if not fought against. The party’s regime is to control not just the sex life of people but also their social life, their feelings, emotions, Love and even thoughts.
The government erased every proof and history and moulded even the poetries according to their form, deducting all the religion and political aspects of others. Most importantly the existence of people is been vaporized.
Even the existence of Big brother the head figure of the government is doubtful, yet everyone should feel love towards him, he might be a fake character. The lines quoted by the government, War is Peace, Freedom Is Slavery Ignorance Is Strength.
The theme of Reality Control
The party controls not just the thoughts and feelings and emotions but also assures to control the Reality by erasing or creating subversions of the books and articles. The citizens will be termed as criminals if they are found to create any history by writing or by learning about it from old books.
Winston works in the Record Department, which re-writes the articles and poems and changes the history according to them. The Ministry of Truth which controls many of such instances makes sure of the people to not be reached by the truth, by not even telling them the real facts about the wars.
The people live in complete fear and terror of the party, as anytime anywhere anyone can report them to the thought police, and they will be vaporized, without leaving a hint of their existence, so that they can not find out that they have ever existed.
Love and Loyalty Theme
It was majorly shown by the life of Winston, Who loves collecting the antiques, which are forbidden. Who falls in love with Julia and both promises each other not to get apart and never betray, but their loyalty is being shot by the party by torturing them.
Though they loved and were loyal but in the end, the Party wins, and both betrays each other. The party erases everything from their mind at such a level that they start loving Big Brother at the end, accepting the Party and their fate.
Class and Struggle Theme
The party has divided the people into three classes, Inner Party Members, Outer Party members and, The Proles. The Inner Party members are rich and high-class people who have 30-35 servants under them and specially privileged who can even turn off their telescreens.
George has shown one as O’Brien. The Outer Party members are those who work for the party but are under continuous surveillance of thought police, no privileges at all. They can’t think or feel or do anything until ordered, Winston was one of them.
The proles were poor class people, who were termed as not capable of any duty for the government. Winston states the Proles are the only people who might stand against the form of government and wishes for them to realize and stand against them, to stand in a revolution.
The theme of Psychological Manipulation
The party manages to manipulate the citizens in the term of psychological attributes by the huge telescreens everywhere including their private cell. The thought police which continuously inspects the crown an individual doesn’t even allow them to change their expressions.
The citizens are under constant fear of even thinking with freedom. The posters of Big Brother with Two eyes staring and Lines written at the end saying “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU” create terror amongst the citizens who can’t help themselves.
The most uncontrollable thing is thinking, yet the government has put control over it. Those who go beyond thinking and fighting or with a though of a rebel like Winston, is at last put to an end, believing and loving Big Brother.
1984 Nineteen Eighty-Four Novel Summary
In the future. The world will be divided into three superstates, Oceania, Eastasia, and Eurasia. All the three superstates which are equally powerful have a continuous state of endless war, which is indecisive of its result to declare one of them as a winner.
The reason behind this is to keep their economies productive without providing anything to the citizen who lives in a state of fear and poverty. Oceania is ruled by the Party whose head figure is known as Big Brother.
Nobody has ever seen him, his photo with a mustachio face and staring eyes on posters are everywhere stating that “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU” to make people aware of his presence and to motivate them to not even think of any crime.
Part 1 summary of Nineteen Eighty-Four
Winston Smith, a 39-year-old, frail, fair-haired, outer party member, who lived in a one-room flat in an apartment called Victory Mansions. He works in the Ministry of Truth in the Record Department, where his work is to revise the old articles and re-write them according to the party’s Ideology, into NEWSPEAK, the official language of Oceania.
Winston, left his job early today to write a secret Diary, at his flat that contains a large Telescreen, that can both transmit and receive sounds, fitted almost everywhere to put the citizens under constant surveillance.
Though writing his Diary is not illegal, as they have no laws, but is a punishable offence, resulting to be death. The clock which has 24 hours, strikes thirteen, which is taken to be unlucky because the power that runs the elevator has been turned off to prepare a hate week.
Due to the varicose Ulcer in his right ankle, its painful and time taking for him to climb seven floors. On each ending of the stairs hangs a photo of Big brother as if staring him with huge eyes and mustachio face, with the letters written as “Big Brother Is Watching You”.
While writing his diary he realizes an unconscious mind of him has written “DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER” repeatedly, when a knock on the door made him skip his beats, the ink was wet and so he didn’t ruin it, while he opened the door, Mrs Parson, a comrade they should call, his sweaty neighbours with irritating children, wanted his help to clean the sink.
The children wanted to be the secret spies influenced by the thought police.Mrs.Parson noticed the diary, yet ignored.
His colleague, O’Brien a rich bureaucrat and an inner party member, whom he misunderstood to be a member of Brotherhood, an underground counterrevolutionary organization. He thinks that the diary someday will be read by O’Brien, as under the practice is known as Doublethink, which is to deny the reality, all the relatable things that may prove his existence will be destroyed.
Winston knows no one else who can understand him for now. Another of his colleagues, a dark-haired girl named Julia, a member of the Anti-sex League who works in the Fiction Department, Winston Misunderstood her as a member of thought police and wanted to rape her.
Once when he went to the proletarian shop from where he bought the diary, he noticed her follow him and he wanted to kill her there itself. Syme is his good friend who is editing the eleventh edition of the Newspeak dictionary, and Winston knows that Syme will be vaporized due to his intelligence, one day.
Part 2 summary of 1984 Nineteen Eighty-Four
Later on, after four days, he receives a note from the Dark haired girl, in a miserable condition, stating “I Love You” which freezes him, he disposes it to the memory hole, and a week goes without any word between them.
They start meeting each other, at crowded streets, country-side and then in a rented apartment of Mr Charrington. Mr Charrington is a prole who has an antique shop, and he sells the old diary and a paper-weight to Winston, and he had a room in his apartment with no telescreen.
Winston and Julia start meeting there and have their quality time. Winston realizes that Julia is different from other girls and is courageous enough. He expresses many of his secrets including the dreams and sacrifices of his mother.
He tells Julia, how his Father was vaporized and his mother left alone with him and his younger sister. He still feels guilty of his un-controlling behaviour and told her the story when the party distributed chocolate ration for three of them and he ate it all alone, snatch it from his little sister.
He remembered her face with huge eyes staring at him, in his mother’s arms. He dreams his Mother with his sister getting vaporized and him standing and watching them. They promised each other of never betraying each other and will love always.
One Day both are invited by O’Brien at his place where Winston tells O’Brien about his views against the Party and about his rented place where he meets Julia, he says that the party can never stop them from loving each other, assuming him to be a counterrevolutionary.
O’Brien promises him to give him the book supposed to be written by Goldstein whom Winston thinks to be the head of the brotherhood, and who was the co-founder of the Party but exiled as a traitor.
The book was supplied to Winston and he starts reading it while waiting for Julia at Mr Charrington’s rented room. Mr Charrington looks to be a trustworthy fellow, as he respects the past and histories, which were removed and vaporized by the party, to not let the people know about it.
Whereas they both fall in a trap and were arrested dramatically, the telescreen was behind the huge poster in the room, and they were getting recorded. Both the love birds shattered into pieces with the terror of after issues of the party.
Mr.Charrington is revealed to be a member of the thought police and was different from whom he used to look. Julia was beaten and took away, whereas Winston was too arrested and put in jail.
Part 3 of 1984 Nineteen Eighty-Four summary
Winston is put in the jail in the Ministry of Love where he noticed both the common people who were fighting and the political prisoners who were silent accepting their fate. He meets an old Lady named Smith, she was pushed over his thigh and she adjusted herself afterwards, asking him his name and assuming that she might be his mother.
Winston gives it a though as he was not sure if his mother is dead, he thinks that she might be a part of the Forced Labor Camp.
Later on, he met Ampleforth his once colleague in the record department, who was punished because he used the word “GOD” in a poetry.Mr.Parson, who was arrested because he uttered disrespecting words for Big Brother, saying “DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER” while he was asleep, which was a thought crime, his own daughter complained against him.
He was proud of her upbringing though. Winston saw another skull-faced man who would die out of hunger soon, he was caught eating a piece of bread and then ordered to be shifted to room101 which was a torturous room, he begged not to be shifted.
Winston notices O’Brien’s entry and asks “They Caught you too?” where O’Brien replied with a sarcastic answer “They caught me a long time ago”.
Winston had a hope of O’Brien helping him to get out of this thing or at least shoot him without much pain.O’Brien has planned everything, from the beginning, how to arrest him, how to torture him, how much to torture him and everything. Winston was given electric shots to accept all that he hasn’t done and he accepted.
The level of torture beating him day night sometimes with steel rods, and bars.he was tortured until his mind was re-educated according to the Party. Until he finally accepted the party but he refused to betray Julia even when O’Brien tells him that Julia already betrayed him.
The last and the most horrible stage, when he was ordered to be sent to room 101, and his face have been caged with two hungry rats. Rats are his fear when he finally shouts this should be done to Julia and not him.
He was relieved after approximately seven years of torture, he was given food twice and he achieved his health back, and was relieved then. His body was alive with a dead soul and dead heart. He can never forgive himself for betraying Julia.
He was no more a rebellious person, he was more of an obedient and submissive to the Party. He met Julia afterwards but have no feelings now, neither of them had any. Eventually, Winston realizes that he is all dead now and it took 40 years to him, to realize the smile beneath mustachio face, he realized that now, “He Loves BIG BROTHER!”.