1984 Summary

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Commonly hailed as a timeless dystopian book, 1984 is the nightmarish tale of a society under the yoke of an overbearing, police state, and one man’s peaceful, desperate struggle against political repression. It begins with a low-level bureaucrat named Winston Smith returning to his small apartment in London, in the nation of Oceania. Every element of life in Oceania is controlled by the Celebration and its leader and token, the seemingly all-seeing Big Brother. They maintain this control in part through the use of “telescreens”– devices installed throughout the nation that not only display images but likewise record, allowing them to keep an eye on residents at all times, looking for signs of unorthodoxy and sedition. Nevertheless, Winston thinks there is a small location of his house that his telescreen can not see, and he means to utilize this as an area to complete a journal, a criminal activity punishable by death in Oceania.

As he tries to choose to what to compose and for whom he is even writing, Winston recalls two significant minutes shared with other residents. The first was a sense of both attraction and repulsion he experienced when seeing a young, dark-haired female he thought might be following him. The second was a brief glimpse exchanged with a member of the Inner Celebration named O’Brien, whom Winston suspects may become part of a secret rebel group referred to as the Brotherhood. Having actually jotted down his objections to life under Big Brother, Winston chooses that he is composing his journal for the “Idea Police,” a repressive government force that he believes will inevitably capture and eliminate him.

For now, nevertheless, his life continues as normal: day after day, he works his job in the Ministry of Fact, falsifying historical info to fit the Party’s ideologies. In his time off, he walks through London’s poorest areas hypothesizing that the life of the “proles” who live there is far more totally free and crucial than his own and fantasizing that they will someday rise up and overthrow the Celebration. On one of these strolls, he visits the antique shop where he purchased his journal and the storekeeper shows him a room upstairs that, incredibly, does not contain a telescreen and seems beyond Big Brother’s scrutiny. Leaving the store, he sees the dark-haired female again. He is frightened that she works for the Thought Cops and is monitoring his illegal activities and ideas. Nevertheless, when he next sees her, she slips him a note stating that she likes him.

Although intimacy, love, and sex for satisfaction are forbidden in Oceania, Winston and the female, Julia, eventually handle to talk and after that hold hands in the middle of a congested square. They start to satisfy more often in hideaways out in the countryside. Although Julia is a member of the Junior Anti-Sex league, she exposes she has had affairs with Celebration members, and the two start their own sexual relationship. In spite of the reality that there are rats there that terrify Winston, they lease the space above the antique shop and utilize it as a place to have sex and to discuss both their hatred for, and worry of, Big Sibling.

At work, O’Brien welcomes Winston to come to his house to borrow a copy of a dictionary of “Newspeak,” the damaged, greatly pruned language used by the Party to manage and restrict totally free thought. Winston believes this is an invite to join the Brotherhood; he goes to with Julia, and they are both initiated into the underground resistance group. O’Brien promises Winston a copy of a prohibited book composed by the leader of the Brotherhood, which is later anonymously provided to him. Winston and Julia satisfy up in their leased room to check out the book and continue their affair. Waking there one day, they state that the inevitability of their capture suggests that they “are the dead.” To their horror, a disembodied voice concurs with them, and they discover a telescreen has actually been concealed behind an old picture; they have been kept an eye on the entire time.

Winston is tortured for days in a windowless cell in the Ministry of Love. Frequently his torturer is O’Brien, who is not a rebel at all, however an undercover personnel tasked with reintegrating him back into society. Along with withstanding physical discomfort, Winston discovers the Brotherhood’s book is a fabrication written by Party loyalists which Julia has actually betrayed him under questioning. In spite of his own suffering, he has not betrayed her. However, his torture is not yet over. After waking from a dream calling Julia’s name, Winston is sent out to “Room 101” for the final stage of his reintegration. Here O’Brien reveals Winston’s personal worst headache: a mask attached to a cage of starving rats. As O’Brien places the mask over Winston’s face, Winston begs him to do it to Julia rather of him. At that point, he understands that O’Brien and the Celebration have truly broken him. In the last scenes, Winston beings in a café and recalls bumping into Julia after they had both been released. They had confessed to betraying one another, and he had seen how she had actually altered and become a faithful member of the Celebration. As the telescreens reveal a triumph for Oceania’s army, Winston sobs tears of pleasure and understands that he too has transformed and now genuinely loves Big Sibling.

Composed in 1949, just after the Second World War, 1984 is saturated in Orwell’s hatred for totalitarian programs and the ways they oppress and destroy regular people. The figure of Huge Brother, the ideologies of Oceania, and the methods the Party employs to preserve power and control all draw heavily on the realities of Hitler’s Nazi Germany, Franco’s Fascist Spain, and Stalin’s Soviet Union. However, lots of argue that the cautions the novel includes stay relevant to this day, and certainly, phrases and ideas consisting of “Huge Sibling,” “Room 101,” “1984,” and even the adjective “Orwellian” remain widely utilized as shorthand expressions for political repression.

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