1984





1984 by George Orwell

Winston Smith works in London at the Ministry of Truth. London is a city in Airstrip One,
a Province of Oceania. The Party with Big Brother as its leader rules Oceania, a
totalitarian state and one of the great powers of the world. Winston is secretly
dissatisfied with his life under the inflexible and paternalistic government and decides to
keep a diary of his thoughts. This is considered a crime in Oceania and Winston knows that
he will be eventually discovered by the Thought Police. To bind the party members,
frequent two minute Hate Sessions are held to accuse the enemies of the party such as
Emmanuel Goldstein who questioned party doctrines. Winston dreams of an idyllic Golden
Country which represents freedom from the drabness of London, and from the always
pervading presence of the Party, the Thought Police and Big Brother. A Golden country in
which any form of expression is considered natural. The party discourages sexual fulfilment
and makes any love affair with a party member impossible. Winston notices two people,
O\'Brien a party leader, and a young girl by the name of Julia. Winston hates Julia for
what she represents and yet he lusts for her. She appears to be a faithful party member
devoted to purity and Winston suspects that she may also be a member of the Thought Police.
Winston shares his doubts about the Party with O\'Brien even though he realized that this
may be very dangerous. The Parsons\' are neighbours of Winston. Their apartment smells
badly. The Parson children are members of the Spies, a party organization and Mr.Parson a
fellow employee is a dedicated party member who stupidly and blindly follows the party\'s
doctrine. Winston works at the Ministry of Truth. His assignment is the rewriting and
falsification of history and statistical data in order that they reflect the party\'s
philosophy. Winston encounters Julia at work. She stumbles and when Winston tries to help
her she slips him a paper with "I love you" written on it. They have several encounters
and finally manage to meet in privacy. Julia turns out to be a corrupt girl and they make
love. They rent a room and live together. Winston and Julia visit O\'Brien and join the
secret rebel Brotherhood. Except for the requirement to never see each other, they accept
all terms of membership. The inevitable happens, the Thought Police arrives at their place
and separates them violently. Winston is being held prisoner at the Ministry of Love. He
discovers that O\'Brien has deceived him. Winston is physically and mentally tortured by
O\'Brien in the infamous room 101 until he confesses to many crimes he never committed. He
is being brain-washed so that he conforms to the party doctrine. The ultimate torture is
the use of rats that are caged and strapped over his face to be released at any time.
Winston had often dreams of his mother and sister who were eaten by rats. The only person
he confessed to about his recurring nightmares is Julia, that\'s when the reader suspects
that Julia had betrayed him to the Thought Police.


Once the Party is convinced that Winston is totally rehabilitated, he is set free. He
drinks heavily. Towards the end it is not quite clear whether Winston has been
rehabilitated or not. Is he just pretending to have been completely "cured" by the Party
or is he afraid of his thoughts of freedom? I believe George Orwell leaves the
interpretation up to the reader. "1984" is a frightening novel. It gives the reader an
insight into an ugly society where personal values of love and family loyalty are destroyed
and replaced by emotional loyalty to Big Brother, who alone has the power to create and to
destroy. It is a society which cannot allow Freedom of thought and expression, it cannot
allow peace, it teaches nothing else but hatred, it must keep its members ignorant so that
they cannot question the validity of its decisions. The leaders of this type of society
falsify history, documents, data. They brain-wash their citizens. They invade the
individual\'s thought process all this for the sake of power. The basic human rights are
violated. The individual is trapped, frightened and is nothing else but a machine