1984 by George Orwell 2
1984 by George Orwell Summary: The book is set in a fictive future in the year 1984. The world is divided into 3 totalitarian super-states: Oceania (North and South-America, Britain and Ireland, Australia and South-Africa), Eurasia (Europe and Russia) and Eastasia (China). These 3 super-states are constantly at war with each other, regularly forming various alliances. Every one of the super-states is too effective and strong to be defeated by an alliance of the two other super-states and for that reason it seems to be an unlimited war.
Throughout the book, it ends up being more and more clear that the war is an impression, supported by the federal governments of the three states, because it is a way to keep their individuals persuaded and under control. By the use of manipulated media and propaganda, the people of the super-states are persuaded that there is a war going on and that they have to strive, otherwise the war would be lost. Therefore, the economy of the super-states is kept steady and the federal governments stay in power. The story of the book takes place in London, Oceania. Oceania is controlled by a political organization called the “Celebration”.
The society of Oceania is divided into different classes: The proletariat (likewise called “proles”), the Outer Celebration and the Inner Celebration. The proles, that make up most of the population, are the working class of the society. The proles are primarily uneducated and reside in slums. The Outer Party makes up most of the members of the Party. The members of the Outer Celebration likewise primarily live in hardship, however unlike the proles, they are continuously persuaded and kept an eye on by so-called “telescreens” (gadgets utilized to keep everybody under surveillance) and the Idea Police.
They need to work for the Celebration to keep the government of Oceania running. The third class of Oceania is the Inner Party, which consists of only a few individuals of the society. In contrast to the rest of the Celebration, the members of the Inner Party are powerful and privileged. At the top of the society in Oceania there stands Huge Brother, the leader and icon of the Party. Other than for the Inner Party, the standards of living are disastrous in Oceania and almost everyone is living in poverty. Moreover love, relationship and uniqueness are abolished in Oceania and are considered as a “thought-crime” versus the Celebration.
The protagonist of the book is Winston Smith, a member of the Outer Party who operates in the “Ministry of Fact”, where media and history are constantly re-written and manipulated to make certain that the Party seems inerrable and almighty to the rest of the population. Winston’s task is to correct short articles of old papers and books so that in the end the forecasts of the Celebration always appear to have been right. Winston is an extremely depressed individual. He does not value the government and he constantly questions if things in the past were better than they were now.
Unfortunately due to the irreversible alteration of the past by the Party, he is unable to remember these things. In addition he needs to reside in worry of the Thought Police, since the smallest sign of discontent with the government might make you to a so-called “thought-criminal”. Winston thinks that “the only hope lies in the proles”, since if they would realize that the Celebration could never ever win versus their large bulk, Oceania could be a much better place some day. Winston, who wishes to discover more about the past, strolls into an antique shop in a prole location. There, he satisfies the owner of the shop, Mr.
Charrington. After a short conversation, Mr. Charrington reveals Winston a small space upstairs, which is for lease. For a short minute, Winston thinks of renting the room, utilizing it as a hide-out, because there are no telescreens in the room, but he recognizes how harmful it would be at the same time. On his method back home he fulfills a girl, which also works in the Ministry of Truth. Understanding that it is extremely suspicious for a Party member to walk in prole locations, he thinks that she’s a spy which the Thought-Police would lastly get him, however he handles to run home.
A couple of days later on he fulfills the lady again in the Ministry. She secretly offers him a small note, through which Winston discovers that she is in love with him. Winston is very confused because he does not understand if it is a trap of the Idea Police or if the lady actually enjoys him and if she dislikes the Celebration too. Finally they both manage to fulfill at a secret conference location. Winston finds out that her name is Julia and that she dislikes the Celebration as much as he does. They enjoy their time together and also make love. Then they begin to fulfill regularly at a month-to-month basis. After a long time they rent Mr.
Charrington’s room and use it as their secret meeting place and they both dream about getting away together from the Party. Then Winston and Julia fulfill O’Brian, an Inner Party member who introduces them into the Brotherhood, a secret organization who wants to ruin the Celebration and Big Brother. O’Brian provides the book of Emmanuel Goldstein, the creator of the Brotherhood and Winston and Julia learn how to work privately against the Celebration. They both begin to believe that some day the Party will be destroyed which it is just a question of time. Unfortunately, one day, while both were at their secret meeting place in Mr.
Charrington’s space, the place is raided. Both Winston and Julia are captured by the Thought-Police and taken to the Ministry of Love, where they are put in jail and cruelly tortured for a seemingly endless time. One day Winston sits in his cell when all of a sudden the door opens and O’Brian goes into. At first Winston believes that O’Brian has actually been captured too, however it ends up that O’Brian was never a member of the Brotherhood and even that there was never ever an organization like the Brotherhood. Winston understands that everything had been a trap and he had fallen into it.
The torturing of Winston continues now under the lead of O’Brian who wants to turn Winston into a brainwashed member of the Celebration again. Winston almost goes crazy while he is interrogated and tortured for weeks and even months. The only thing that keeps Winston from going ridiculous is his love for Julia, of which O’Brian knows too. In the end Winston is taken to the “Space 101”, where he is nearly consumed alive by rats. Lastly, O’Brian breaks Winston’s will by making him yell that they he must torture Julia instead of him. In the end Winston has actually lost his fight versus O’Brian and he begins to become a new person, a member of the Celebration.
Months later on Winston meets Julia once again and they both understand that they are not able to enjoy each other anymore after the occasions in Space 101. At the end of the book Winston has ended up being a lifeless member of the Celebration and it ends with a scene in which it ends up being clear that Winston has started to enjoy Big Bro. Commentary: I think that the book is incredibly remarkable and disturbing at the same time. The vision of a world were every step you make is monitored seems to be very impractical in the beginning, however if you truly think of it (especially while checking out the book), you recognize this awful circumstance is not that unlikely.
Despite the fact that it was composed back in 1948, the book is incredibly visionary and far from being out-dated. Regrettably I wasn’t able to describe the entire story of the book in information. The most interesting things like how precisely the political system of the Celebration works and how the Celebration members are manipulated are too big and too complex to explain in such a little discussion. I ‘d suggest this book to everybody, because it is actually a book everyone should read at some point.