Hey readers welcome to the page! Today we’re all set to give you a full detailed information about the modern dystopian novel ‘1984’. 1984 book is written by English author George Orwell. It was published on 8 June 1949. 1984 was George Orwell’s ninth and last novel and probably his most famous one.
1984 proved to the most successful political thriller but was equally criticized and challenged. As it was based on consequences of mass totalitarianism and authoritarianism. In 1981 the novel was challenged in Florida as it was deemed ‘pro communist’.
Well, I guess this much information is enough to provoke you to give ‘1984’ a shot! Let’s get straight to 1984 book summary.
PS: If you believe in far right politics, these pages are enough to change your perspective!
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1984 Book: Summary
It’s 1984, the time when totalitarianism and authoritarianism are at it’s peak in the province of Oceania. There are three authoratrian super states rule the world and Oceania is one of them. Oceania is under the control of the ‘Party’. The fundamental ideology of Oceania and the Party is “Ingsoc” which basically means Extreme Socialism. The Party is led by a rather mysterious leader called the ‘Big Brother’.
Almost every person in Oceania is under the surveillance of the Party. The Party and the Big Brother keeps a watch at everyone with the help of Telescreens, microphones and hidden cameras. And the one who doesn’t follow the code of the party is arrested by the Thought Police and are mysteriously vanished. All the evidences of him or her being a person is destroyed and he/she becomes an “unperson” who didn’t existed. A new language called Newspeak is the language of Oceania. Newspeak includes word Doublethink which means believing in contradictory ideas simultaneously. The Party’s slogan reflects Doublethink, “War is Peace”, “Freedom is Slavery”, “Ignorance is Strength.”
“Big Brother is Watching You”
The protagonist Winston Smith is a low ranking member of the ruling party working in the Ministry of Truth. Winston’s job is to rewrite history to make sure it’s in the favor of ruling party. However, Winston is opposed to Party’s radical policies and dreams of a rebellion against the party. He believes that he is a thoughtcriminal and would be caught by the thought police one day.
Winston purchases a diary in which he writes about his thought about the party, which mainly includes criticism. But Winston becomes very afraid as writing a diary, or criticizing the Party is illegal.
Winston becomes obsessed with O’ Brien, a member of inner party, whom he perceives as a member of the Brotherhood, which is a secret syndicate whose objective is to overthrow the Party. Brotherhood was formed by Big Brother’s political rival Emmanuel Goldstein. Winston also observes a young woman named Julia, he believes that she is a spy of thought police. He develops insane hatred towards her and even wants to kill her. But soon Winston receives a note from Julia which reads “I love you”. They soon develop relationship. Winston finds out that Julia is actually like minded and in the support of rebellion.
Winston spends his free time roaming around the Proles (proletarians). He believes that Proles were the only hope for rebellion as they’re free of Party monitoring. But he soon realizes that they have no power and are politically unconscious. During his relationship with Julia, Winston remembers his family and his former wife. His family had been disappeared during the civil war of 1950 and his wife left him due to their tense relationship.
The Secret Rebellion
Winston finally gets the message he awaited for so long, a note from O’ Brien. O’ Brien calls Winston and Julia to his apartment. Winston’s prediction turns out to be true, O’ Brien hates the party and is a secret member of the Brotherhood. In O’Brien’s flat, he gives Winston a copy of Brotherhood’s manifesto titling ‘The theory and practice of Oligarchical Collectivism’, written by Goldstein. Winston and Julia take the oath to do anything to overthrow the party.
Winston and Julia reads the book which asserts that the Party could be overthrown if Proles will become politically conscious and rise up against the party. The book also explains the dark truth about how it maintains power. It explains the meaning of Party’s propagandistic slogans. It also asserts that the party uses war as a propaganda to develop fake nationalism among the people and control them ideologically. And explains that this war is ‘perpetual’.
Winston and Julia books a room for them in Mr. Charrington’s property. Winston always believes that he and Julia would be caught somehow due to their secret relationship (keeping relationship in Oceania is illegal). And eventually Winston and Julia are caught by thought police and Mr. Charrington turns out to be a agent of thought police.
Winston is separated from Julia and imprisoned in the Ministry of Love. Winston is devastated when he meets O’ Brien in the prison. O’ Brien turns out to be a secret spy of Thought Police! During his time in prison, Winston is tortured with insane cruelty, beaten like hell and starved to death. Winston is constrained to change him ideologically and make him ‘love’ Big Brother and the Party. He is tortured to root out his want of independence, kill his humanity and destroy his dignity.
When Winston is tortured to the extent of humanity, O’ Brien asks him that wether there’s any humiliation which he hasn’t been made to suffer yet. Winston answers that they haven’t managed to make him betray Julia.
Winston is finally taken to room 101, which is considered to be the ‘final destination’ of the prisoners, where their worst nightmare comes true. He had continuous nightmares about rats throughout the course of time. So Winston’s worst nightmare comes true when a cage full of rats is attached to his head. Being insanely devastated by this torture, Winston shrieks helplessly, “Do it to Julia!”
By shrieking, “Do it to Julia.” He ultimately betrays Julia. Winston is released after this and is back to his normal life. When he meets Julia, they both confess that they’ve betrayed each other during the torture. They also confess that the don’t have any feelings left for each other. And thus, THE PARTY CONSTRAINS WINSTON IDEOLOGICALLY AND HE LOVES BIG BROTHER.
1984 Book: Review
The novel is undoubtedly one of the finest piece of dystopian literature ever. The novel is filled with propagandistic and extremist political ideologies, so you should have a bit of political knowledge to completely understand the novel. Unlike some other political novels, this one never gets slow or boring. Although it doesn’t have a lot of twists and turns, but when the twist comes, it’ll surely give you goosebumps.
The novel is highly relatable to Indian Politics, as it’s like a warning against growing far right politics and threat of fake nationalism. You would have a completely different perspective of war after reading this one. The novel also draws attention to the consequences of extreme communism and socialism. The best part of the novel is that it explains us about the propagandas used by ruling parties or other political organizations to approach people ideologically, which is indeed false.
PROTECT YOUR IDEOLOGY IF YOU CAN!
1984 Book: Movie
1984 movie was released in December 1984 in United States. The movie proved to be a blockbuster and an instant success. 1984 qualified for Academy Awards of 1984. The movie got positive reviews and was critically acclaimed. Vincent Canby of New York Times acclaimed the movie by asserting that it’s, “bleakly beautiful and admirable.” Robert Egbert said,” the movie penetrates much deeply into the novel’s heart of darkness.”
Cast: Winston Smith- John Hurt, O’ Brien- Richard Burton, Julia- Suzanna Hamilton, Mr. Charrington- Cyril Cusack, Big Brother- Bob Flag (Just the still image of Big Brother)
1984 movie is considered to be one of the most masterful adaptations of a novel.
Love reading political novels? You won’t regret giving em’ a shot!
You might find some of em even better than 1984 book itself!
1) The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
2) A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
3) Red Clocks by Leni Zumas
4) Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
5) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
6) Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
7) The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon
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