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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


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.


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


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.


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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Room 101

Orwells description on room 101 is very relavent to todays government. If you think about it, when you commit crimes against the government you are submitted to debriefing which could include a torturous state. Orwell shows us the lengths the Big Brother go to just for Winston to pledge his allegiance to Big Brother. Also the fact that Winston hoped to inflict this torture onto Julia shows the effect of Room 101.

What's Up with Mr. Parson?

Throughout the novel, the Parson children come and go. They are spies that will turn in everybody and anybody who disobeys Big Brother's laws. At the end after Winston was caught, he sees Mr. Parson and asks why he was there. Turns out, his own children reported him for talking in his sleep. Instead of being upset or angry with them he was happy! He was glad they turned him in and try to help him fix his negative thoughts about Big Brother. He is so obedient and oblivious, that he is proud of his own kids for turning him in for something so silly. Does he truly love big brother and his children?

Mental Cleansing Before Execution

When Winston is captured and held in the Ministry of love, O'Brien mentions the concept of erasing the ideas of revolution and hatred of the party before executing them. The concept at first seemed daunting, why spend all of that time to change someone's mind if you're just going to execute them anyway? Well the more you think about it, the more unsettling of an idea it becomes. The party successfully undoes any and all progress a secret brotherhood or uprising had made on someone. Even if someone else gets lucky like Winston and is set free, no one will ever leave the Ministry of Love with the slightest thought of rebelling. The way the party can manipulate the minds of the people like that is frightening, and it's a real eye opener to everyone reading it.


In the novel, Orwell makes a point about our increased speculation of inferiority of other cultures and peoples, or xenophobia. This sort of attitude is encouraged by Big Brother, especially towards the other two super states. This is not only shown today, but has been in all of our history. When the Europeans had their first contacts with the American Natives, we automatically assumed they were inferior to us. Bartolome de Las Casas was one of the very few to question this ethnocentric attitude, he proposed that no culture is inferior to another, as they are all different, so why would we be scared of them? This attitude is even displayed today. Many people are outrageously fearful of foreigners coming into the country, but why? It must be because of our fear of the unknown. We donít know what sort of manners they have. We donít know how they will treat us back. The easy way out of knowing is all in all, to just ignore them, and get fearful when our mixing of cultures comes around.

Winston and Julia's last meeting

Winston and Julia meet up for the final time, without paranoia, in the open. They sit together and talk, but they aren't themselves. Julia's entire shape has changed, along with Winston's face. They both discuss their mutual betrayal in their Room 101 actions, and they no longer have feelings. Is this something true in our lives today? We don't see our friends going to jail, and coming back with plastic surgery changing, but does our government not torture to the point of emotional blankness? Have we not seen this, the emotions of a human being being contorted and molded to what our government feels? Even on the large scale we see things such as Ebola and terrorism driving our entire society into panic! Were Winston's and Julia's actions justifiable? We see riots and extreme precautions taken all around us in fear. Each one of us becomes either Winston or Julia at some point. But it seems as if our world has become Room 101 permanently.

Control Through Paranoia

While the proles don't need to be controlled because of their incompetence, the middle class does however need to be controlled. However the party does this in more ways than just the telescreens. The thought police are always watching for suspicious activities among the middle class. But the thought police does just more than spy on citizens, They strike fear and paranoia into anyone who dares to step out of line. You see, it's impossible to tell who is a spy and who isn't, making it impossible to trust anyone. Winston makes the fatal mistake of trusting Mr. Charrington, who ends up getting him busted for "meeting" with Julia. In theory, the thought police could potentially not need to exist, and instead make up stories of people being captured, like how the party makes up stories of people winning the lottery. The party could easily control the middle class with the fear of being caught by the thought police. It's quite a frightening concept, and can almost guarantee that people will be too scared to rebel.

Mr Charrington is he apart of the thought police?

I don't understand when he was first introduced Mr Charrington seemed to be a friend or ally to Winston but when Winston and Julia were caught he seemed to be apart of the thought police. Was Winston and Julia tricked so easily or was this man who appeared with the thought police a "fake" Charrington to set up the telescreen and set the clock? This thought police Charrington even appeared to be younger than the first time we saw him at the end of part 1. Is Mr Charrington a thought police or was this just merge a fake?

Being whatched

With the telescreens I think George Orwell is ringing the bell big time. In today's society our government is watching us all the time but not everyone knows all the secret places we are being viewed. The same goes on in Oceania. They are being watched and recorded in almost every part of their city, without any knowledge of the secret cameras or telescreens present. We also have secret agents that go undercover to find out important information, and this is exactly played out in the novel with Mr. Charrington. He is actually a thought police disguised as a normal prole. So as you can see George Orwell hit it spot on in predicting the future of our privacy being taken from us.

What is Peace?

Peace isn't as simple as what pageant queens propose; it's complex. But isn't war, in all actuality, peace? With equal opponents at equal levels, both sides achieve a sense of balance which in return gives both opponents a feeling of tranquility, or peace. The 3 super states, Oceania, Eastasia, and Eurasia, are constantly war. One second they're allies with Eastasia and the next they're at war. Orwell purposely keeps us confused about this "war triangle" because do we ever really know? In this case, war is used as a distraction from everything else secretly going on behind the people's backs and at the same time, uniting the people within its boarders by giving a common enemy. But referring to current time, isn't war just about breaking something/someone down to weaken them to achieve your overall goal? For instance, on September 11, al-Qaeda didn't destroy our World Trade Center for the land, they did it to break down our economy; which they did. All in all, I believe (and Orwell would agree) that 100% peace can not be achieved without threats, intimidation, and competitiveness. Peace is a balance in power and in most cases technology, can it be in our future?

Immunity to violence

In this novel, mainly the members of the party, and some of the proles, possess an immunity to violence. When Winston walked through the prole section, there was a bomb explosion, sending a human hand right next to him, he simply kicked it into the gutter. There are also many war scenes being displayed on the televisions, showing a mother sheltering children from a stream of bullets, and this was simply all for public amusement. This is surprisingly true to this day. All the time, you see immensely violent war movies on the television. It is also displayed in video games. From the calls of duties, to your battling in the fields, there is no escaping the violence portrayed in different forms of entertainment. But why would there not be? Our society loves to see the goriest thing we can. But that there is exactly Orwellís point. We have come to enjoy violence as much as anything else. :beatdeadhorse5:

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