1984


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(pub. 1949)

Webmaster's Note, 5/10/2007 - We have been informed by the rights holder that this work is still copyrighted in our territory. So we have removed it. You may still read our original summary though to the left.

Also commonly titled as Nineteen Eighty-Four

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1984 is possibly the definitive dystopian novel, set in a world beyond our imagining. A world where totalitarianism really is total, all power split into three roughly equal groups--Eastasia, Eurasia, and Oceania. 1984 is set in Oceania, which includes the United Kingdom, where the story is set, known as Airstrip One.

Winston Smith is a middle-aged, unhealthy character, based loosely on Orwell's own frail body, an underling of the ruling oligarchy, The Party. The Party has taken early 20th century totalitarianism to new depths, with each person subjected to 24 hour surveillance, where people's very thoughts are controlled to ensure purity of the oligarchical system in place. Figurehead of the system is the omnipresent and omnipotent Big Brother.

But Winston believes there is another way.

1984 joins Winston as he sets about another day, where his job is to change history by changing old newspaper records to match with the new truth as decided by the Party.

"He who controls the past, controls the future" is a Party slogan to live by and it gives Winston his job, but Winston cannot see it like that. Barely old enough to recall a time when things were different, he sets out to expose the Party for the cynically fraudulent organisation that it is. He is joined by Julia, a beautiful young woman much in contrast with Winston physically, but equally sickened by the excesses of her rulers.

You will meet many recognisable characters, themes, and words which have become part of our everyday life as you read 1984. Where did Big Brother first appear? Certainly not on Australian TV! Written in Orwell's inimitable journalistic style, 1984 is a tribute to a man who saw the true dangers of historian Lord Acton's (1834-1902) statement: "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely." -- Submitted by The Atheist.

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As Winston said, even if you are a minority of one it does not make you wrong.--Submitted by Anonymous.

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Winston Smith lives in a world very unlike the world of his forefathers. There have been atomic wars just thirty years in the past and some of his memories seem clouded as Winston is filled with doubt, almost as if the events did not happen at all. Winston feels he must put these thoughts down on paper or they will be forgotten forever. However,such a task is forbidden by the state controlled government. Winston decides to write his journal anyway. What transpires next in the novel is at the heart of what makes men able to exist with some degree of hope for the future. Winston's world is a very hopeless, unfriendly place.--Submitted by Tom Hickman.



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Orwell provides compelling reasons for the people of the 21st century to, much as we did in the 60's, question authority. Winston holds these thoughts dear but because of how society has been allowed to evolve he must be careful with even his own thoughts. You'll go with him as he meets Julia and as, against all odds, develops a relationship. Surprises abound in this unique and, at the time it was written, futuristic look at a world that has allowed itself to be taken over by an entity that we know even today as Big Brother. You'll find yourself asking how this man who wrote the novel in 1948 could possibly have such foresight into what would evolve into the world as we know it today. Similarities between life as we know it and life as Orwell foresaw abound. The book will cause you to look around yourself and question the policies of our government and the policies of global governments and how they impact our daily life. Definitely a compelling read !--Submitted by Anonymous.

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Recent Forum Posts on 1984

1984 is an eye opener

In my opinion, 19184 should definitely be read in highschools everywhere, because its when we stop reading it that we start taking footsteps towards the dark future portrayed by George Orwell. One aspect of this book that I liked was the idea of the telescreens. I liked it because I realized how close we are as a society to that. Unless your in the woods, everywhere you go you are being watched by cameras, whether you know it or not. More importantly, whether you like it or not. 1984 is an eye opener.


The book 1984

Lets giv a round of a plause to George Orwells book, 1984. Over all, the book 1984 was really well written. It is a well made prediction about what our future might really hold. In the book ,a boy and a girl meet and want to be together. They decide to play it cool and meet at differnt places. They then decide to join a group known as the brotherhood to bring down their government, Big Brother. they were then caught and brought in because the brotherhood was a fake. They were tortured and had to confess that they loved Big Brother. 1984 is a really great book and is most likely not in your room 101.:thumbsup:


Well done, George

The book 1984 was a brilliantly written book. I think the best part of the book is the wide use of symbolism in the novel. The use of the paperweight, the room in the prole section, and the diary to symbolize, in my opinion, freedom of the party and tyranny is simply brilliant on the part of George Orwell. It was a good read and I would definitely suggest it to anyone in search of a good read.


Naughty Mr Orwell

This article says that George Orwell pinched the plot, characters and ending of a previous book, We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin for 1984. According to the writer of the article, 1984 is a better book, but still it seems unethical, akin to plagiarism possibly. Should Orwell have credited Zamyatin? It is not the only time that Orwell seems not to have been entirely straight about the sources of his stories. There is no record of Orwell having shot an elephant in Burma while he was serving in the colonial police there. Possibly it never happened or it happened to someone else, but the story was presented as an essay, not a piece of fiction. Others have questioned whether Orwell could have stayed in the French hospital as long as he implied in his essay, How The Poor Die, or whether the punishments he received at school described in his essay, Such, Such Were the Joys were in fact inflicted on someone else.


Thoughts/Aftermath on 1984

George Orwell's 1984 was a brilliantly written novel. Although hard to grasp for first time readers and high-school students, it tells about what the future might look in 1984. So difficult in fact, you might have to re-read a sentence, paragraph or even a page. Its interesting to read such a productive novel about the future- that has already passed and the compare it to the year 1984. Orwell was certainly right about being under surveillance all of the time, but we don't have room 101 or hate week...not yet anyway. The government basically controlled its people. What to say, what to read and even think. Shortening the dictionary and doublethink would be considered absurd, but if you really think about it, it all makes sense. Shortening the dictionary to keep it's peoples intelligence and word choice to a minimum. The government wanted you to think that you have the best that you could get. After reading this novel, I began to question and compare our government to this book. Certainly, this novel changed my aspect of what we know as 'privacy'. Worth the read if you're up for a challenge.


1984 Conclusion

Overall, I thought 1984 was a good book, but very complex for the politically naive high school student. I feel it would be benificial to read again in later years, in which Orwell's messages may become more clear. One of the more obvious warnings that I agree with, is Orwell's ideas of survalence. He predicted this and it has evidently become more true today than ever. I feel he warned the reader about a society being supervised at all times, via the telescreen, but is quite accurate for the present. There are cameras monitoring almost everything, everywhere you go. Around school, on the bus, traffic lights, banks, ATMs, and front facing cameras on phones or computers are all supervising and catching your every move, just like Orwell suggested in the novel. And what happens to all the footage collected? Is there someone who manages it to see any potential threats? Or is only some footage of suspects revised and used? This is identical to what Orwell reveals in the novel about a supervised city with no clue why they are constantly monitored, which we have become as a society today. In conclusion, I agree with Orwell's ideas of survalence and I congratulate him on what is now a spot on prediction.


My opinion on 1984

1984 was an excellent novel, and I would have to say it was definitely worth the read. Orwell uses foreshadowing and irony very well throughout the book. The foreshadowing is shown with Winston's dream about meeting O'Brien. Orwell uses irony in the sense that it is ironic that Winston's beleied O'Brien to be on his side, when in fact he had always been working against him. When Winston and Julia are captured and arrested it is O'Brien who is ochestrsting their torture.


my opinion on 1984

With all that is going on today with new technologies and things that came out just recently already being outdated you would not expect a book written in 1948 to still hold significance in todays world. But that is exactly what has happened to 1984, it still holds truth in it's lessons in this modern day society. One of these lessons that is still true today is the constant surveillance by different groups and people no matter where you are. Whether you are just walking in the park or you are sitting in your school you are constantly being observed by one group or another. This surveillance which was shown in extremes in the novel 1984 is often justified as being used to keep people "safe" or for the common good of society. With all of the surveillance of everyday activities going on today many people often experience the need for privacy which is getting even harder with all of the social networks popping up all over which, by the way, are being monitored by governments to prevent terrorism. With all of these places being watched and monitored by governments, the question of "Where can I find privacy?" is for all too many people an unanswerable question.


1984 is worth while because...

Over the past month or so, I have read 1984 and come to the conclusion that the book is useful in some ways, and in others is not. From researching and studying the book I and many others realized that Orwell wrote this to warn us of the future. In some ways this was true, and in others (room 101, hate week, no emotion) it was not true.. yet. I think that the book was worthwhile to read because I personally learned a lot about today's government, and what the government is capable of in the future. Orwell taught me how to analyze how others behave, as well as what the government is capable of doing. All in all, I learned a lot from 1984, i thought it was a well written book with a lot of insight to what may happen to our world.


!984- opinion article

George Orwell's 1984 is a book for people who don't quite care too much about the government that they are governed by. The book exemplifies the events of people getting too much control. I believe a very important aspect of this book to be focused on is the proletariat class of people, or proles, as they were called. They showed no care towards the fact they had nothing, because of the fact they had never seen anybody with more. There was not a prole who questioned authority or unfairness. The government had absolute control over everybody, and the most any of the proles cared about was the lottery, which was in reality was not winnable, or other small things that made no difference. They did not even care about how little privacy they had. The proles represent many U.S. citizens nowadays, uncaring. Though there are many people who care, there's not enough. If enough care is not taken, our government could take more control than anyone actually wants, and there would be no end to it after that. That is what 1984 was written for, to warn about totalitarian governments and how they come to be. Not knowing or caring about the most important things like government is the most important part of this book in my opinion. Whether you knew this from the start, or didn't care before, 1984 represents lots of great lessons for life, most importantly this one.


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