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"1984" By George Orwell: Summary Of Text

1511 words - 6 pages

Pages 1-48In these opening chapters of the book Orwell sets the backdrop of the novel. The novel takes place in Airstrip One, formally known as England, which is a part of the superpower Oceania. The first few pages give the reader a feeling of a broken down, very unhappy city. The reader is then introduced to Winston, the main character of the novel. The reader then learns of the totalitarian government or "Party" which is ruling Oceania. We are also introduced to Big Brother, when Orwell describes the posters "BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU" on every floor of Winston's apartment building. Orwell also shows the reader how the party cares more about watching its citizens than for their health, "It was no use trying the lift. Even at the best of times it was seldom working." The lift doesn't work and yet the telescrenes in every single apartment always work and are always on.Winston is shown to be a member of the ruling Party, although not a high ranking official. Winston's constant fear of the Party demonstrates his lower class. However we are shown how Winston is different when he starts a diary. When Winston writes, "Down with BIG BROTHER" and shows his fear of being caught this foreshadows his eventual demise. This is extremely evident when he says, "Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever . . . Sooner or later they were bound to get you." In the beginning chapters of the novel Orwell introduces some of the themes of the book.The main theme introduced is the danger of totalitarian governments and the extent that they go to in order to retain control of the population. Some of these measures are the two minutes of hate (in order for the people to release their frustrations in a safe way and keep the anger from being directed at the party), the telescrenes are another method of control, as are the Thoughtpolice and limitation of sexual acts. The main method of control however is the party's control over history and their ability to change it to suit their needs.Pages 48 - 81These chapters center on Wilson's time at work. Orwell uses Wilson's job to farther show the reader the lengths that the party goes to so that it can retain control. When Wilson works Orwell shows the reader how the party changes the records of previous speeches so that it seems that the country has surpassed its quota instead of missing it. Wilson makes sure that Big Brother is always right, and that he was always right. To believe anything else was thoughtcrime.In these chapters the reader is introduce to the idea of Doublethink, this is believing in two contradictory ideas at one time. An example of Doublethink can be found in the party slogan, "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength" Doublethink allows the citizens to believe in all of these ideas at once. This allows Wilson and the other members of the Ministry of Truth to believe in the records that they had altered.The reader also learns of the party's wish to make Newspeak a language...

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