George Orwells 1984 Essay

1486 words - 6 pages

Book Summary George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four takes us through Winston Smith's life in the period of a year. Winston lives in a world made up of three main states: Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia. In this visionary novel, Oceania is run by a totalitarian government under the leadership of a dictator named Big Brother. Big Brother is so controlling and his power so great that one may question his very existence.Oceania's government is divided into four ministries: the Ministry of Truth, which concerns itself with news, entertainment, education and the fine arts; the Ministry of Peace, which deals with war; the Ministry of Love, which maintains law and order; and the Ministry of Plenty, which is responsible for economic affairs. (Orwell, p. 6) Winston is an Outer Party member who works in the Records Department in the Ministry of Truth. It was his job to destroy and rewrite the archives of the London Times so that they were consistent with Ingsoc policy. When someone is vaporized, or when Ingsoc changes it's political alliance with either Eastasia or Eurasia, it is Winston's job to change the records; to change the past.The political party of Oceania is INGSOC, which is otherwise known as English Socialism. The government monitors the lives of the citizens through technological means to insure loyalty through surveillance, propaganda and brainwashing. The Party, as the government is known, goes so far as to control the people's thoughts and ideas. They have even replaced English with Newspeak, the language of the party. By removing meaning and suggestion from the vocabulary, they hoped to obliterate anti-social thinking before it even had a chance to enter a person's mind. The act of individual thought is called Thought Crime. No one could be trusted in fear that they might report you to the Thought Police. This held true for families as well. You had to watch your facial expressions at all times, because "the smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself - anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide." (Orwell, p.65) Those who think for themselves are arrested by the Thought Police and sent to the Ministry of Love, where they are re-educated or killed. And sometimes both.This novel serves as a warning against the dangers of a technologically advanced totalitarian government. It is set in London, the chief city of Airstrip One, a province of Oceania. It is possibly 1984, although, with the party's control of all facts, one could never be sure. (Orwell) "To begin with, he did not know with any certainty that this was 1984. It must be round about that date, since he was fairly sure that his age was thirty-nine, and he believed that he had been born in 1944 or 1945; but it was never possible nowadays to pin down any date within a year or two." (Orwell, p.9) Critical Review Information About the Historical Period of the Novel The novel is...

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