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1984
By George Orwell, 1949

Main Characters

Winston Smith - The 39 year old protagonist of the novel whose rebellion against Big Brother and the Party and love for Julia is completely wiped out by O’Brian at the Ministry of Love.

Julia - Member of the Junior Anti-Sex league who becomes Winston’s secret lover and fellow rebel.

O’Brian - Member of the Inner-Party who learns that Winston has rebellious tendencies and sets a trap for him over the course of 7 years and ultimately destroys him.

Big Brother - Mysterious omnipresent figurehead who is the embodiment of all the ideals of the party.

Minor Characters

Emmanuel Goldstein - Leader of the rebels and designated enemy of the citizens.

Mr. Charrington - Secret Member of the thought police who owns and operates an antique store and rents a room to Julia and Winston as a trap for O’Brian.

Settings

Oceania - One of the three totalitarian superpowers that rule the world using censorship and pure terror.

Mr. Charrington’s rented room - Winston and Julia’s secret hideaway  where they come to make love and hide from the telescreens and constant watch of the Party.

Ministry of Love - A rehabilitation center which uses torture and brainwashing technique in order to completely conform its prisoners into the thinking and beliefs of the party only to be later killed, sent to forced labor camps, or even released back into society.

Plot

 In 1984, Winston Smith lives in London which is part of the country Oceania.  The world is divided into three countries that include the entire globe: Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia.  Oceania, and both of the others, is a totalitarian society led by Big Brother, which censors everyone’s behavior, even their thoughts.  Winston is disgusted with his oppressed life and secretly longs to join the fabled Brotherhood, a supposed group of underground rebels intent on overthrowing the government.  Winston meets Julia and they secretly fall in love and have an affair, something which is considered a crime.  One day, while walking home, Winston encounters O’Brian, an inner party member, who gives Winston his address.  Winston had exchanged glances with O’Brian before and had dreams about him giving him the impression that O’Brian was a member of the Brotherhood.  Since Julia hated the party as much as Winston did, they went to O’Brian’s house together where they were introduced into the Brotherhood.  O’Brian is actually a faithful member of the Inner-Party and this is actually a trap for Winston, a trap that O’Brian has been cleverly setting for seven years.  Winston and Julia are sent to the Ministry of Love which is a sort of rehabilitation center for criminals accused of thoughtcrime.  There, Winston was separated from Julia, and tortured until his beliefs coincided with those of the Party.  Winston denounces everything he believed him, even his love for Julia, and was released back into the public where he wastes his days at the Chestnut Tree drinking gin.

Symbols

Scarlet Sash - emblem of the Junior Anti-Sex league which all its members wear.  Actually, it is camouflage for Julia and other members of the party to give them the appearance of celibacy while they are actually promiscuous.

Room 101 - the final stage of the torture and rehab at the ministry of love.  The room symbolizes and consists of the one thing each person hates and fears most.  It symbolizes the fearfulness and helplessness each person experiences when faced with his greatest fear.

Chess pieces - the chess pieces symbolizes the players in the great political game.  The white pieces are the Party and shows the way they never lose.

Style

 Orwell’s prose is very descriptive and informative.  He portrays terrifying images and conveys horrifying truths in a calm voice that contrasts effectively with the true horrors of his message.  Foreshadowing and suspense is used to heighten this exciting novel.

Dominant Philosophy

 In 1984, George Orwell warns of the terrifying dangers that man may create for himself in his quest for a utopian society.  It warns that people might believe that everyone must become slaves to the government in order to have an orderly society, but at the expense of the freedom of the people.

Quotes

“WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH”  The two minutes hate ended with this message which is the slogan of the Party.

“The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth.”  The narrator describes the way the party manipulates history by changing all documents referring to the history.

“Nothing in the world was so bad as physical pain.  In the face of pain there are no heroes, no heroes, he thought over and over as he writhed on the floor, clutching uselessly his disabled left arm.”  Winston winces at the pain of the blow to his elbow, and also at the realization at he his helpless in the face of pain.

“You must love Big Brother.  It is not enough to obey him; you must love him.”  O’Brian tells this to Winston as he begins the final stage of Winston’s rehab into submission of the Party.