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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

Room 101

The introduction of room 101 in the novel is a great window into the mind of the author George Orwell. The fabrication of the idea of a ultimate torture room that is created based upon the victims biggest fears adds a great touch to the novel.creating suspense and use of imagination for the reader, allowing for many to imagine a room 101 of their own. truly a great touch

Winston And Julia's Rebellion

After a while of sneaking around together, Winston and Julia finally decide to just keep meeting at Mr. Charrington's apartment. They keep meeting there for a while too. However, it is later revealed that a telescreen is hidden behind the painting. Also, Winston and Julia meet with O'Brien, who is later revealed to be working for Big Brother. With all these thing to give them away, why weren't they taken to the Ministry of Love sooner? Why would the Thought police wait so long to apprehend them?

Why does the Party kill Winston?

In the end of the book, after Winston has been tortured and "cured" he still ends up getting shot. Why didn't the Party just keep using him? Why don't they just "cure" everybody at a certain age so that they know no one will rebel?

Room 101

In the book 1984 by George Orwell the characterWinston is locked up in Miniluv or (the ministry of love, in newspeak), where he is tortured Physically, Mentally, and Phsycologically. They try to make him "Sane" and think they succed, then Winston calls out for Julia. This was one of the things they thought they fixed. Now Winston is brought to room 101, this is the worst room to go to. In it the people are tortured by their worst fear. For Winston this is rats. He is locked up in a chair and a cage of rats is placed in front of him. As you would think he gets scared. O'Brien (one of the people trying to "fix" Winston), then starts bringing the rats closer to his face telling him different facts about the rats. They get so close to his face he eventually tells O'Brien to do anything they want to Julia, just don't do it to him. And all of a sudden O'Brien moves the rats away from him and let him go.

Party mind control

In this section of the novel Winton is tortured by O’Brien. Winston is beaten until he agrees with things that he knows are untrue. This is called “doublethink” in the book. Winston is released with no further thoughts of rebellion and no real change in his country. This shows that Big Brother has mastered how to keep control of citizens. He uses propaganda and altering history to stop most rebellious thoughts and gets people to believe things that are known to be untrue. This would probably mean that a rebellion will never happen and the party will stay in control.

Brainwashed Proles?

Why is it that Winston never tries to group together proles to have a larger group of people against the government? Everybody knows the proles either don't care or don't realize how corrupt and destroying the Big Brother government is. Why is this? Are they just too ignorant to care or is it possible that the older generations that were alive before Big Brother might have actually been brainwashed by a machine? Looking back, when Winston asked proles about life before Big Brother, no one actually answered his questions. So could this lead to show the prole section is actually supervised but isn't show off because Big Brother wants people to think they're safe to talk there? And if this is possible, than could room 101 be a room where memories could be lost and identities changed?

Room 101

My question is if Room 101 is the worst stage in the stages of torture? Also, is Room 101 really as bad as it’s said to be? Why is it called Room 101? Is there another room that’s worse and is called Room 201 or something? If Room 101 is really that bad then why didn’t Orwell choose to use a more intimidating name that would put fear into you? You would think a more intimidating name would help present how awful Room 101 is.

Hope

In the book 1984 by George Orwell Winston makes a lot haste decisions based on hope. Wether it's if Winston knows that there is something off or wrong about the situation he still believes that it can go right. An example is when Winston goes to see O'Brien Winston knows he shouldn't go but regardless he shows up and just as he thought Winston is caught. What is driving Winston for this false hope?

Orweel ringing the bell

I think Orwell really nailed the fact that we are being watched by the government at all times, in the book with the telescreens and Though Police, and in modern times with smartphones and laptops and everything and everywhere that has cameras, we are always under surveillance and being watched with what we view online.

Room 101

While reading 1984, I began to wonder if room 101 actually exists, or if it is simply a fear tactic used to psychologically break the inmates of the Ministry of Love. So my question would be, is room 101 real?

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