Everything Explained about George Orwell’s Novel 1984

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Overview of George Orwell’s Novel

George Orwell dystopian book 1984 was released in 1949. As a dystopian novel, it depicts Oceania’s unjust and wretched society, which is replete with authoritarian methods and continual monitoring. After seeing what happened to the people in Nazi Germany, Orwell wrote the novel as a cautionary tale about what may occur if people gave their governments too much authority. The book also reveals governments’ power to modify reality and twist facts to suit their narrative.

The story of the novel takes place in Oceania, which is a fictitious super state comprised of the Americas, southern Africa, the British Isles, Australia, and a tiny piece of Asia. The novel’s primary events occur in London, although England is referred to as Airstrip One. To match the title of the book, 1984 serves as the setting.

Historical Context

After World War II, George Orwell published 1984 as a warning against dictatorship. “Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic Socialism, as I understand it.” Orwell was vehemently opposed to the Stalin government and communism in general, and he identified as a “democratic socialist.”

The novel was mostly based on the Soviet Union under Stalin’s dictatorship. Big Brother was modelled after Joseph Stalin. The “Two Minutes Hate” (the video that all Party members are obliged to view daily on the telescreen depicting the Party’s foes so that they might express their hatred for their enemies and for democracy) is comparable to the propaganda films produced by both sides during World War II. The “Two Minutes Hate” also serves the quasi-religious purpose of deifying Big Brother. This is comparable to strategies employed by historical politicians, notably Stalin.

Similarly, the supposed head of the Brotherhood, Emmanuel Goldstein, is modelled on the exiled Soviet Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky.

Trotsky was a prominent politician from the inception of the Soviet Union, but following a power struggle with Stalin, he was ousted from the Communist Party. This parallels the character Goldstein in 1984, since Goldstein is alleged to have been one of the organization’s founders (along with Big Brother) before leaving and establishing The Brotherhood. Goldstein was formerly a member of the inner circle of the Party, but his membership with The Brotherhood transformed him into a major opponent of the state. The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism by Goldstein is comparable to Trotsky’s 1937 article The Revolution Betrayed: What Is the Soviet Union and Where Is It Going?

Winston Smith works in the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth, where his mission is to rewrite history. They must alter anything that makes The Party or Big Brother appear bad, such as when Big Brother makes an incorrect forecast, or erase any reference of “unpersons,” etc. This is comparable to the Soviet Union’s past practise of revising history textbooks to eliminate images and information about politicians no longer favoured by the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union rewrote history to make Stalin and his rule appear more favourable. This was the Ministry of Truth’s function in 1984.

The concept of “thoughtcrimes” plays a significant part in the novel 1984 and is founded on historical precedent. Thoughts that the Party deems unlawful are “thoughtcrimes.” The punishment for “thoughtcrimes” is comparable to the Soviet Union’s use of psychiatry to commit political dissidents to psychiatric hospitals after they were diagnosed with schizophrenia, where they were “treated” with psychoactive drugs, presumably to keep them out of the public eye and discredit them. With the psychoactive medications, it was probably simpler to exert mental control over them. In any case, the Soviet Union endeavoured to strictly regulate the thinking of its citizens and to label any dissenting opinions as mental disease. People may be tortured for thoughtcrimes until they were compelled to embrace Big Brother and the Party, similar to 1984.

A short summary of the novel

1984 has a narrative that is so intricate that it permits Orwell to explain several complicated topics and concepts. This section will provide a summary of the novel.

The story opens with an introduction to Winston Smith, the narrative’s protagonist and primary character. Winston works in the Ministry of Truth, where he is tasked to rewrite historical events to fit the Party’s narrative, which is always evolving. There is a telescreen in his flat in the Victory Mansions, which provides messages and monitors everyone’s actions. Winston begins writing in a notebook to convey his disgust for the existing leadership, despite the illegality of his ideas. At work, he begins to suspect that his coworker and government employee, O’Brien, is a member of the Brotherhood, a rumoured secret group attempting to destroy the government.

Winston also begins to visit regions where the poorest citizens of Oceania, the proles, reside and function nearly entirely beyond the government’s view. He is envious of their lifestyle, yet bewildered by their inability to realise what is occurring around them. In addition, he develops a friendship with Mr. Charrington, the proprietor of the shop where he purchased his diary, and attempts to learn as much as he can about how the world used to be.

Winston has a conversation with a female with dark hair whom he has been observing more frequently around the office. She stumbles as she approaches him and then covertly puts a letter into his hand. Winston is stunned by the message “I love you,” written on the note. Later, he meets her and discovers that her name is Julia; the two then establish a relationship. Julia, like Winston, is opposed to the Party, but she has no interest in overturning the government.

They begin hiding away at the apartment above Mr. Charrington’sshop in order to spend more time together. As time passes, Winston’s loathing for the Party and his determination to do something about it intensify. Then, O’Brien suddenly asks Winston to his flat, and Winston views this as a significant advance. Julia and Winston pay a visit to O’Brien, who informs them about the Brotherhood and inquires about their desire to join. They concur. Shortly thereafter, Winston gets a briefcase, which, upon opening, contains a copy of Emmanuel Goldstein’s The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism. This book is regarded to be the Brotherhood’s manifesto.

Winston begins to read aloud this book to Julia at their apartment. When a horde of troops storms their apartment and arrests them, they quickly realise that they were being surreptitiously observed. In addition, they discover that Mr. Charrington worked for the thought police the entire time and that this was a setup.

Winston and Julia are escorted to the Ministry of Love after being separated. Winston observes convicts brought in for a variety of reasons entering and exiting his cell. He loses track of time until O’Brien appears and explains that he was a Party member the entire time. O’Brien seeks to torment Winston in the hopes that he would reconsider his stance on the Party and Big Brother. He further confesses that Julia quickly deceived him. When Winston defies all means of torture and indoctrination, O’Brien is forced to transport him to Room 101.

Room 101 is the location where one’s greatest nightmares are realised. O’Brien has prepared a cage full of rats that will be placed over Winston’s head and allowed to nibble off his face. Winston gives in and says, “Do it to Julia!” O’Brien is happy with his ability to break Winston’s spirit and resolve.

Winston is ultimately no longer opposed to the government. Winston begins to actually adores Big Brother.

Characters in the novel

1) Winston Smith

Winston Smith is the protagonist and primary character of the story. He is an employee of the Ministry of Truth who rewrites history, while being fiercely opposed to the Party and Big Brother. He begins an unlawful connection with Julia and is apprehended while attempting to overthrow the government. He is then subjected to torture and brainwashing.

2) Julia

Julia is Winston’s romantic interest and is similarly opposed to the regime, although she has little inclination to take action. After being apprehended, Julia promptly betrays Winston in the Ministry of Love.

3) Mr. Charrington

Mr. Charrington owns the store where Winston purchases his journal. Winston and Julia rent an apartment above his business so they may spend time together in secret, but he turns out to be a member of the Thought Police and reports them

4) Big Brother

Big Brother represents the Party and is depicted on posters and television screens throughout Oceania. There is no proof that Big Brother is a real person, but it is probable that his power is transmitted to each new Party leader in order to ensure that their authority never wanes.

5)O’Brien

O’Brien is a Party member who disguises himself as a Brotherhood member to deceive Winston into disclosing his objectives. Winston is tortured by him at the Ministry of Love.

How does mind control works in 1984?

In 1984, the Party controls Oceania’s culture, economics, and political system, but it cannot implement totalitarian rule until it obtains control over the brains of the inhabitants. The majority of the Party’s efforts are consequently devoted to seizing and retaining control over the ideas and emotions of the populace. The extensive use of monitoring by the Party prohibits civilians from planning an overthrow. Winston is constantly reminded by posters throughout the story that “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU.” The inoperable telescreen in his house has the ability to watch his movements and deliver commands to modify his conduct. Frequently, cameras and recording devices are installed in public spaces.

This form of social control is derived from the teachings of eighteenth-century English philosopher Jeremy Bentham, who constructed new prison constructions that would allow guards to see inmates without the prisoners being able to see the guards. Bentham felt that over time, convicts would absorb the guards’ supervision and cease participating in illegal activity upon release.

Winston Smith has mentally absorbed the Party’s surveillance and consequently monitors his own acts and thoughts. Bentham’s ideology is criticised by the author’s inability to refrain from subversive ideation, even when he knows he is being observed. When Paul and Julia meet in the countryside, they first resist from conversing for fear that microphones or recording devices have been concealed in the bushes, but they gradually give in to their need to be open and honest.

In addition to internalising the Party’s power, Winston has also absorbed its anxieties and wants. When he changes a news item for the Ministry of Truth, he simply needs to alter a mention to a “unperson.” Instead, he creates Comrade Ogilvy, who is the perfect embodiment of everything the Party considers valuable: healthy, selfless, patriotic, and chaste – everything Winston is not. Other characters have also internalised the Party, such as Winston’s neighbour Parsons, who praises his daughter for reporting him in as a thought-criminal.

The Party also maintains control over the populace by destroying personal allegiances to everything outside itself. Religion is prohibited because it symbolises allegiance to a higher authority than the government. Children are taught to spy on their parents and report any anti-Party conduct or attitudes. This disrupts the family unit. Suppression of sexual activity outside of marriage stops individuals from creating connections outside of those sanctioned by the Party.

Winston’s work for the Ministry of Truth tries to make the Party’s rule appear timeless and unassailable by removing any traces of failures, bad judgments, and possibilities for criticism of the Party’s activities. His job at the Ministry of Truth has the effect of confusing folks and making them question their own perspectives. When Winston tells O’Brien that he discovered a photograph of Jones, Rutherford, and Aaronson, O’Brien maintains that the photograph never existed since he cannot recall ever seeing it. The fact that “Winston’s heart sank” upon hearing this indicates that he has begun to cede control of his own senses to O’Brien. Utilizing both the threat and actual use of force, the Party exploits personal and social anxieties to preserve Party allegiance and quell rebellion. As an example, O’Brien threatens Winston with a cage of rats after tapping the hidden chamber and knowing that Winston has an acute fear of rats. Winston is also badly assaulted in the process of confessing, violence he expects because “nobody spoke of such things, yet everyone knew of them.” Citizens are aware that the danger of violence is real and unavoidable if they commit thoughtcrimes, but they do not completely comprehend how they are aware of this.


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