George Orwell’s “1984” is a novel about a negative utopian society ruled by an oppressive tyrannical ruler known as Big Brother. The novel creates its own world that takes place in Oceania, a province of Airstrip One. The residents of Oceania follow a strict code of laws, and live their lives in fear and hate. The novel takes place roughly in the year 1984. The residents in the city of London, which is in the province of Oceania, are constantly monitored by a “telescreen”. This is a two way screen that could be diminished in sound but never fully turned off. The government uses this device to constantly watch the citizens and scare them into adhering into a didactic way of living. The details of their lives are predetermined, as the government molds its citizens into servants. Winston Smith, the main character of the novel, lives life in apprehension. Winston knows that the government is wrong, and he knows what Big Brother is doing, but he knows if he ever gets caught thinking this way, he will be killed. The novel forms around the actions of Winston Smith as he navigates through a rough society while at time making the wrong choices.
Winston works at the Ministry of Truth, in newspeak (the language spoken in Oceania), Minitrue. He works to rectify what Big Brother predicted to always make him seem correct. Big Brother predicts numbers related to the war and then when he is wrong, Winston changes them to make him right. For example, Big Brother estimated two hundred casualties on the enemy’s side, but when only fifty died, Winston had to change the estimated numbers in the already published newspapers, to match the actual figures.
Winston goes home to write in a journal, but he is afraid to do so. In his journal he writes about how miserable life is in his society. Writing would require thinking, which could get him in trouble from the Thought Police. No one is allowed to think in ways other than the government wants the residents to, if done otherwise, someone can report them. The residents of Oceania are all spies, loyal only to the government, and do not hesitate to tell the government anything. People who are caught in violation of the law get “vaporized”, in other words killed off. The language of Newspeak gets smaller every year, this is to narrow down the thinking of the people so they think in ways only permitted.
Orwell tried to give the readers a clear picture if a free country like London were under a totalitarian rule. In the London in the book, there has never been enough to eat, the food is disgusting, and there isn’t enough food or shoes to go around. The war is going around and no one really understands what it’s about. One is not allowed to have close friends, date, or fall in love. One is supposed to save all of their emotional energy for the party, and the two minute hate videos. It’s really just impossible to have your own thoughts, because the government is always filling up your head with lies.