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1984

By: George Orwell

5 - 1 review
Remarks: Really Favorable

It is set in a future society where the government, led by the Party and its enigmatic leader Big Brother, controls every aspect of people's lives and manipulates the truth to maintain power. 1984 is a dystopian novel written by George Orwell in 1949. The story follows the life of Winston Smith, a low-ranking member of the Party who begins to secretly rebel against the oppressive government. As he becomes more involved in the rebellion, Winston must confront the harsh realities of the society in which he lives and the ultimate cost of freedom. The novel is a warning about the dangers of totalitarianism and the need for individual freedom and autonomy. The tyranny is epitomised by Big Brother, the Party leader who enjoys an intense cult of personality but who may not even exist. The Party “seeks power entirely for its own sake. It is not interested in the good of others; it is interested solely in power.” The protagonist of the novel, Winston Smith, is a member of the Outer Party, who works for the Ministry of Truth (or Minitrue in Newspeak), which is responsible for propaganda and historical revisionism. His job is to rewrite past newspaper articles, so that the historical record always supports the party line. The instructions that the workers receive specify the corrections as fixing misquotations and never as what they really are: forgeries and falsifications. A large part of the ministry also actively destroys all documents that have been edited and do not contain the revisions; in this way, no proof exists that the government is lying. Smith is a diligent and skillful worker but secretly hates the Party and dreams of rebellion against Big Brother. Orwell based the character of the heroine of the novel, Julia, on his second wife Sonia Orwell.

In London, Winston Smith is a member of the Outer Party, working at the Ministry of Truth, where he rewrites historical records to conform to the state's ever-changing version of history. Winston revises past editions of The Times, while the original documents are destroyed after being dropped into ducts leading to the memory hole. He secretly opposes the Party's rule and dreams of rebellion, despite knowing that he is already a "thoughtcriminal" and likely to be caught one day.

 

While in a proletariat (prole) neighborhood, he meets Mr. Charrington, the owner of an antiques shop, and buys a diary where he writes thoughts criticizing the Party and Big Brother, and also writes that "if there is hope, it lies in the proles". To his dismay, when he visits a prole quarter he discovers they have no political consciousness. An old man he talks to there has no significant memory of life before the Revolution. As he works in the Ministry of Truth, he observes Julia, a young woman maintaining the novel-writing machines at the ministry, whom Winston suspects of being a spy against him, and develops an intense hatred of her. He vaguely suspects that his superior, an Inner Party official O'Brien, is part of an enigmatic underground resistance movement known as the Brotherhood, formed by Big Brother's reviled political rival Emmanuel Goldstein. In a lunch conversation with his co-worker Syme, who is assisting in developing a revised version of Newspeak (a controlled language of limited vocabulary), Syme bluntly reveals the true purpose of Newspeak: to reduce the capacity of human thought. Winston reflects that Syme will disappear as he is "too intelligent" and therefore dangerous to the Party. Winston also discusses preparations for Hate Week with his neighbour and colleague Parsons.

Book Details

Language

English

Original Language

English

Published In

1949

Author

Orwell's work remains influential in popular culture and in political culture, and the adjective "Orwellian"—describing totalitarian and authoritarian social practices—is part of the Engli...

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Community Reviews for 1984

ALL REVIEWS: Really Favorable (1)

Umer T.

Posted: 1 year ago

Recommended

Crazy Ending

"You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I'm offering is the truth."