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Report on Orwell's 1984

Report on Orwell's 1984

This book starts in London on April fourth, 1984. The book is written partly in third person, and partly in first person seen through the main character's eyes. The book is divided into three distinct parts. The first part is showing you the main character and his conflict with how the world he lives in works. The country he lives in called Oceania is run under a government called INGSOC(English Socialism). The controllers are called "The Party." The Party is divided into two sections, The Inner Party, and The Outer Party. The "Rich" and the "middle-class." There is a third group of people called "The Proles," or "The Proletariat" which are the poor, and considered to be animals by the party. The main leader of this government is Big Brother. The main character, Winston Smith, is starting a diary. In any other time this would have been considered normal, however in his time it is not. All events in this time are alterable. The party controls the past, present, and future. If Big Brother had estimated that the production of shoes would be 100 million in the next year, and it turned out to be 20 million, the Ministry of Truth (Minitrue, Set up to make sure that all such predictions find their way to being true) will change the original prediction to say 15 million. This would allow The Party to say that it made more shoes than it had previously thought it would, overfilling the quota. This of course was incorrect, there were probably none produced at all. However after Minitrue is done there is no way of ever proving that the statement of 100 million had ever been made.

Whatever one does is monitored day and night by Telescreens that can simultaneously send and receive video and voice. To write in his diary, Winston has to evade the view of the Telescreen. When the book begins Winston is thinking about where he works(in Minitrue), and he is trying to understand why it is the way it is. In this time any thoughts against The Party are considered Thought Crime and is watched closely by the Thought Police. The Thought Police can watch you through the Telescreens or from Choppers that occasionally hover around the buildings peeping into the windows.

Winston ends up at the end of the first part to have fallen in love. He fell in love with Julia, a woman that he had previously thought to be a member of the Thought Police. They meet up in several places where there are no Telescreens and probably no microphones to listen to them. They then find a place to call their own, so to speak, in the Proletariat section of town, in an antique shop. They rent the room for four dollars a week and engage in many anti-Party acts such as sex, love and other Thought Crime. A man whom you meet very early in the book, O'Brien suddenly becomes very important. Winston thinks him to be a member of a secret society against The Party called The Brotherhood, which is run by a man named Goldstein. You first hear about Goldstein in a session called "The Two Minutes Hate." This is a two minute period when all of the members of the Inner and Outer party sit in front of a nearby Telescreen. They engage in hate toward anti-Party people. They shout, and fling things at the screen. Then the screen turns into a propaganda film and ends with patriotic slogans. It then returns to the face of Big Brother. At this point all of them rise and start shouting "B-B...B-B" until it is over. O'Brien turns out to be a true member of The Inner Party. Winston and Julia are captured in the room they rented and hauled off to the Ministry of Love (Minilove in Newspeak).

The third part is the incarceration and rehabilitation of Winston. Minilove from the inside is a place without darkness. Lights are perpetually on. After a few incidents O'Brien finally enters and takes Winston off to several interrogations and sessions. O'Brien constantly tells Winston that Winston is crazy, and that he is trying to help him. During these sessions he reveals the true purposes of INGSOC.

The party's goals can be summed up in their mottos. WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

War Is Peace is the belief that when two countries are perpetually at war they are perpetually at peace. Both countries are gaining a few cities at a time, and then losing them. The war never endangers any of The Party's inhabited land. When this happens both sides citizens are at peace. Not threatened by war. The only reason, then, for war is to be used as a destruction of produce. Overprotection of goods can cause equal distribution of them. This is bad because with equal distribution of goods comes true socialism. The Party was never interested in this idea. The Party sees that throughout all of recorded history there has been three distinct classes of citizens. The High, The Middle, and The Low. The High always wishes to stay high. The middle is never contempt with being the middle, and eventually displaces the high. The middle then breaks off into the high and middle again and the process is started over again. The Low usually wants to destroy all such classifications and create true socialism. INGSOC knows what it wants. It is the high, it wishes to stay high. The way it does it is by keeping it's middle and low in constant drudgery. They falsify info to make it seem as if it is always getting better, and through twists in double speak, it is.

Freedom Is Slavery means that as an individual you will die off. As a group you are immortal. You are part of a collective culture that will live on forever.

Ignorance Is Strength is the idea that by keeping the people ignorant, they will not realize what is really going on. The Party keeps The Outer Party ignorant by constantly changing The Truth, and destroying all data that could prove the situation otherwise. The Party keeps The Proles ignorant by keeping them content. They are allowed certain liberties like love, having a family, and sexual relations, frankly because they are considered stupid animals. They are of no menace to The Party because they are incapable of intelligent thought.

Winston eventually does come to realize this as the truth. As true as it possibly can be, that is. The only thing he cannot do is love Big Brother. He loves Julia. O'Brien tells him that it is not enough to follow the principles of INGSOC. You must believe in the principles. You must love Big Brother.

O'Brien takes him into Room 101. In Room 101 is different for everyone. It is THE worst imaginable thing for the person that goes into it. For Winston, it is rats. O'Brien fastens a cage with two rats onto Winston's face. He releases one cage. The rats will bore through Winston's face. He readies the release of the second cage, and Winston finally betrays his love. "Do it to Julia!" he shouts. Winston has betrayed Julia. He can never love her in the same way again. Winston is released and is given a nothing job. He makes good money for doing something, exactly what that is, he has no idea. When the book ends he is sitting in The Chestnut Tree Cafe, He is awaiting news of a major battle. Oceania's borders are now being threatened. Winston has a plan in his head of how Big Brother could outflank the enemy. When the news finally comes in, he finds that Big Brother did exactly what he was thinking. The enemy is outflanked. Oceania is saved. Finally, Winston truly loves Big Brother.

Winston is a middle-aged man. He is slow in his ways as are most Oceanians. He was a very Dynamic character. At first he was opposed to The Party, in the end, he loved it.

Julia is a woman of 36. Very beautiful, or as beautiful as an INGSOC member can be. Her main goal in life was to do as much as she could against The Party and still stay alive. She was a major member in many Community service type organizations.

O'Brien is a very intelligent man. During the book he always maintained a Parent/Teacher way. When he saw that Winston was suffering, he put his hand on his shoulder to help him through it.

The book is written in partly third person, and partly first. The change occurs quickly, and is not hard to follow. It helps for you to know more then the character sometimes to understand it better.

There are many literary terms in such a great piece of literature.

Foreshadowing is prevalent in the first few chapters. Within the first few chapters O'Brien is introduced and makes a simple glance toward Winston. This makes Winston think that O'Brien is a member of the Brotherhood. Winston catches Julia glancing at him. He thinks that she is a member of the Thought Police. There is a major piece of Symbolism when Winston buys a paper weight. The paper weight is rounded at the top, and flat at the bottom. Inside it is a piece of coral. This symbolizes to Winston a feeling of safety, and it is to him like the little room he and Julia rent. This could also be considered a simile when he makes the comparison.

The basic theme of this novel is that if we don't watch out 1984 will find us. We need to realize when we are being intruded upon by the government just a little too much. If the government proposes a new chip to be placed into all telecommunications devices so that it can tap into them. We have to stop it. (This is not hypothetical, the government proposed "The Clipper Chip" which would be used to listen to our encoded conversations, and to see our data communications. We would be safe from our neighbors, but not from our government.) The author's predictions of the future are really advice, "Don't let the government control every aspect of your private lives." If we allow this we will be turned into robots of the system. Perhaps it is also a look at what is already. In many ways we are controlled, we are robots. In kindergarten we are taught how to be that way. "Stand in a line, don't talk, hands out of pockets, fire drill, bells ringing." We are truly controlled by words and bells.

Nine-teen-eighty-four has come and gone, however that doesn't mean we are safe. The author's view of the future is no longer even close to accurate. It will NEVER happen that way. No, today we have far BETTER ways of this happening. With computers containing almost all data, which can be quickly erased in large numbers at the touch of a button, information is much easier to "rectify." With new technology we could hide microphones in the fabric of clothing. Video cameras are smaller today. They could be worn about people. Maybe in the future be implanted in them. Orwell's future is dead. The reality is that it could be even worse. Orwell should NOT be discredited, he should be listened to and praised. There are measures going through congress now that will inhibit our rights in the future. Our own congress makes measures to give themselves raises. They won't vote yes on such bills as term limits. It is not inconceivable that a bill could pass to law saying that the president and congress shall stay in power forever. They could even convince us to allow it to happen. Hitler did it when he became Fuhrer. This is the future Orwell predicted, he just didn't have it exact. Perhaps it is being closer than we think only being shaded by conspirators.

I loved this novel. It ranks far up there on my list of the best, if not the best. Not only did it keep me reading until the end, it told very much about where we are headed by not actually saying it. It also told you things by saying it. The entire principles of INGSOC may seem absurd, and to the intelligent person impossible. However, they do have a certain air of universality. You can draw parallels to today. The way our congress and president act seems to be heading toward this type of government. It won't be exactly as Orwell put it, and it will be shaded even more. Perhaps if it does happen, it will be done right, and never end. This is what Orwell portrayed in the novel. He left the world in the exact same way we found it, minus a few people. Actually, they never existed. The sad thing is with today's technology, I see this coming closer and closer. All someone, or someone, have to do is piece it together.

Copyright (C) 1994 Jason Caminiti / / rs232@ccs.neu.edu