1984 Book One Summary
Winston goes to his job in the Records section of the Ministry of Fact, where he deals with a “speakwrite” (a maker that types as he dictates into it) and damages obsolete documents. He updates Huge Brother’s orders and Party records so that they match new advancements– Big Bro can never be wrong. Even when the people of Airstrip One are forced to cope with less food, they are told that they are being offered more than ever and, by and large, they believe it. This day, Winston must alter the record of a speech made in December 1983, which described Comrade Withers, one of Big Brother’s former authorities who has because been vaporized. Because Pal Withers was executed as an opponent of the Celebration, it is inappropriate to have a file on file praising him as a devoted Party member.
Winston invents an individual named Associate Ogilvy and substitutes him for Associate Withers in the records. Comrade Ogilvy, though a product of Winston’s creativity, is a perfect Party man, opposed to sex and suspicious of everybody. Comrade Withers has become an “unperson:” he has disappeared. Viewing a guy called Pal Tillotson in the cubicle across the way, Winston reflects on the activity in the Ministry of Fact, where countless workers remedy the circulation of history to make it match celebration ideology, and churn out unlimited drivel– even pornography– to pacify the completely destitute proletariat.
Summary: Chapter V
Winston has lunch with a guy called Syme, an intelligent Celebration member who deals with a revised dictionary of Newspeak, the main language of Oceania. Syme tells Winston that Newspeak aims to narrow the series of thought to render thoughtcrime impossible. If there are no words in a language that can revealing independent, defiant ideas, nobody will ever be able to rebel, and even to conceive of the concept of disobedience. Winston believes that Syme’s intelligence will get him vaporized one day. Parsons, a pudgy and impassioned Celebration official and the hubby of the woman whose pipes Winston fixed in Chapter II, enters into the canteen and generates a contribution from Winston for area Hate Week. He apologizes to Winston for his children’s harassment the day previously, however is openly pleased with their spirit.
Unexpectedly, an abundant message from the Ministry of Plenty announces boosts in production over the speakers. Winston shows that the alleged boost in the chocolate provision to twenty grams was in fact a reduction from the day previously, but those around him appear to accept the statement joyfully and without suspicion. Winston feels that he is being seen; he searches for and sees the dark-haired woman staring at him. He worries once again that she is a Celebration agent.
Summary: Chapter VI
That evening, Winston records in his journal his memory of his last sexual encounter, which was with a prole prostitute. He thinks of the Party’s hatred of sex, and decides that their goal is to get rid of pleasure from the sexual act, so that it ends up being simply a task to the Celebration, a way of producing new Party members. Winston’s former other half Katherine hated sex, and as quickly as they understood they would never have kids, they separated.
Winston frantically wants to have an enjoyable sexual affair, which he sees as the ultimate act of rebellion. In his diary, he writes that the prole woman of the street was old and unsightly, however that he went through with the sex act anyhow. He recognizes that recording the act in his journal hasn’t eased his anger, anxiety, or rebellion. He still longs to yell obscenities at the top of his voice.
Winston’s life at work in the sprawling Ministry of Reality highlights the world of the Party in operation– calculated propaganda, transformed records, modified history– and demonstrates the effects of such negative mechanisms on Winston’s mind. The concept of doublethink– explained in Chapter III as the ability to believe and disbelieve all at once in the exact same idea, or to think in two inconsistent ideas all at once– provides the mental key to the Celebration’s control of the past. Doublethink allows the citizens under Celebration control to accept slogans like “War is peace” and “Flexibility is slavery,” and allows the workers at the Ministry of Fact to believe in the incorrect variations of the records that they themselves have changed. With the belief of the employees, the records end up being functionally real. Winston struggles under the weight of this oppressive machinery, and yearns to be able to trust his own memory.
Accompanying the mental element of the Party’s injustice is the physical aspect. Winston understands that his own nerve system has become his archenemy. The condition of being constantly monitored and needing to repress every feeling and instinct forces Winston to preserve self-discipline at all expenses; even a facial twitch suggesting struggle could lead to apprehend, demonstrating the thoroughness of the Party’s control. This theme of control through physical tracking culminates with Winston’s awareness towards completion of the book that nothing in human experience is worse than the sensation of physical discomfort.
Winston’s quelched sexuality– among his essential reasons for despising the Party and wanting to rebel– becomes his overt issue in Chapter VI, when he remembers his last encounter with a prole prostitute. The run down, nasty memory makes Winston desperate to have an enjoyable, genuine erotic experience. He believes that the Party’s “genuine, undeclared function was to eliminate all enjoyment from the sexual act.” Sex can be seen as the ultimate act of individualism, as a representation of ultimate psychological and physical enjoyment, and for its roots in the individual’s desire to continue himself or herself through reproduction. By transforming sex into a task, the Party strikes another mental blow against individualism: under Huge Sibling’s regime, the objective of sex is not to recreate one’s private genes, but merely to produce brand-new members of the Celebration
Winston writes in his journal that any wish for revolution versus the Party should originate from the proles. He thinks that the Celebration can not be destroyed from within, which even the Brotherhood, a famous advanced group, lacks the wherewithal to defeat the magnificent Thought Authorities. The proles, on the other hand make up eighty-five percent of the population of Oceania, and might quickly summon the strength and manpower to get rid of the Police. However, the proles lead brutish, oblivious, animalistic lives, and do not have both the energy and interest to revolt; most of them do not even comprehend that the Party is oppressing them.
Winston checks out a kids’s history book to get a sensation for what has really happened in the world. The Celebration declares to have actually built perfect cities, but London, where Winston lives, is a wreck: the electricity hardly ever works, structures decay, and people reside in poverty and worry. Lacking a trustworthy official record, Winston does not understand what to think about the past. The Celebration’s claims that it has actually increased the literacy rate, reduced the baby mortality rate, and provided everybody much better food and shelter might all be fantasy. Winston suspects that these claims are false, but he has no chance to understand for sure, given that history has actually been written completely by the Celebration.
In the end the Celebration would announce that two and 2 made five, and you would have to think it.
(See Crucial Quotations Discussed)
Winston remembers an event when he caught the Celebration in a lie. In the mid-1960s, a cultural backlash triggered the initial leaders of the Revolution to be jailed. One day, Winston saw a few of these deposed leaders sitting at the Chestnut Tree Café, a gathering place for out-of-favor Party members. A tune played–“Under the dispersing chestnut tree/ I sold you and you sold me”– and one of the Party members, Rutherford, began to weep. Winston never forgot the event, and one day came upon a picture that showed that the Celebration members had been in New york city at the time that they were allegedly dedicating treason in Eurasia. Horrified, Winston destroyed the picture, however it stays embedded in his memory as a concrete example of Celebration dishonesty.
Winston thinks about his writing in his journal as a type of letter to O’Brien. Though Winston knows almost nothing about O’Brien beyond his name, he is sure that he spots a strain of independence and rebellion in him, an awareness of oppression comparable to Winston’s own. Considering the Party’s control of every record of the fact, Winston realizes that the Party needs its members to deny the proof of their eyes and ears. He thinks that real liberty lies in the ability to translate truth as one perceives it, to be able to state “2 + 2 = 4.”
Summary: Chapter VIII
When memory failed and composed records were falsified …
(See Crucial Quotes Discussed)
Winston opts for a walk through the prole district, and covets the simple lives of the typical people. He goes into a bar where he sees an old man– a possible link to the past. He talks to the old guy and attempts to establish whether, in the days prior to the Celebration, individuals were truly exploited by bloated capitalists, as the Celebration records claim. The old male’s memory is too vague to offer a response. Winston laments that the past has been left to the proles, who will undoubtedly forget it.
Winston strolls to the secondhand store in which he purchased the journal and buys a clear glass paperweight with a pink coral center from Mr. Charrington, the owner. Mr. Charrington takes him upstairs to a personal space without any telescreen, where a print of St. Clement’s Church looks down from the wall, evoking the old rhyme: “Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St. Clement’s/ You owe me three farthings, say the bells of St. Martin’s.”
On the way home, Winston sees a figure in blue Celebration overalls– the dark-haired lady, apparently following him. Terrified, he thinks of hitting her with a cobblestone or with the paperweight in his pocket. He hurries house and chooses that the very best thing to do is to commit suicide before the Party captures him. He understands that if the Thought Cops capture him, they will abuse him before they kill him. He attempts to relax himself by thinking of O’Brien and about the place where there is no darkness that O’Brien mentioned in Winston’s dreams. Distressed, he takes a coin from his pocket and checks out the face of Big Bro. He can not help but remember the Celebration slogans: “WAR IS PEACE,” “LIBERTY IS SLAVERY,” “LACK OF KNOWLEDGE IS STRENGTH.”
Analysis: Chapters VI-VII
After a trio of chapters committed mainly to the work life of small Celebration members, Orwell shifts the focus to the world of the extremely poor. The most crucial plot advancement in this section features Winston’s visit to Mr. Charrington’s antiques shop, which stands as a genuine museum of the past in relation to the rest of Winston’s history-deprived world. The style of the value of having knowledge about the past in order to comprehend today is greatly stressed here. Orwell shows how the Party, by managing history, forces its members into lives of unpredictability, lack of knowledge, and total dependence upon the Celebration for all of the info needed to work in the world.
Winston’s trip to the prole district illustrates the relationship between social class and awareness of one’s situation. Life in the prole district is animalistic, filthy, and impoverished. The proles have greater freedom than small Party members such as Winston, but do not have the awareness to utilize or value that freedom. Winston’s desire to attain a unilateral, abstract understanding of the Party’s techniques and evils in order to think about and decline them epitomizes his speculative, uneasy nature. He consumes about history in particular, attempting to understand how the Party’s control of info about the past enhances its power in today. On the other hand, the old man in the bar whom Winston addresses is too worried about his bladder and feet to bear in mind the past, and has no sense of the Party’s effect on his life. Winston understands that the Party does not “reeducate” the proles due to the fact that it believes the proles to be too unintelligent to pose a hazard to the government. Nevertheless, Winston thinks that the proles hold the secret to the past and, thus, to the future.
Like Winston’s dream expression “the place where there is no darkness,” which comes back in Chapter VIII, the photo of St. Clement’s Church hanging in Mr. Charrington’s upstairs room functions as a motif connected to Winston’s useless hope. Like the paperweight, an essential sign of Winston’s imagine freedom, the picture represents Winston’s desire to make a connection with a past that the Celebration has actually suppressed. However, his attempt to appropriate the past as a way of exposing the Celebration, like his effort to suitable the room as a safe harbor for his disloyalty, is eventually warded off by the Celebration’s mechanisms. The expression connected with the photo ends on an ominous note–“Here comes a chopper to slice off your head.” This rhyme foreshadows the connection in between the picture (behind which a telescreen is concealed) and the termination of Winston’s private disobedience.