George Orwell

by Reto Hohener


Contents
Introduction The Author The Book Conclusion Links
  • Pictures
  • Biography
  • Pictures
  • Characters
  • Summary

  • Introduction

    This web-page should give a small insight into Geore Orwell's most famous book besides Animal Farm: Nineteen Eighty-four (1984). This book is one of the most-read works especially by high-school and college students; over 500,000 copies are sold throughout the world every year (and that is only the English version). Many people believe that 1984 was a sort of prophecy and that a lot of it has become true by now. Others say the contrary, but anyway, in my opinion 1984 is a book absolutely worth reading. It is a "negative utopia" (a bad future vision), and shows a world ruled by totalitarianism.
    Also included in this page are some pictures and a short biography of George Orwell. The information about Orwell's life comes from the Internet and thus I do not guarantee its authenthicy.

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    The Author: George Orwell

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    Biography

    George Orwell (1903-1950)

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    The Book: 1984

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    Characters

    Winston Smith -

    A member of the Outer Party, living in London, Oceania. Winston works in the Ministry of Truth, where he changes the past everyday by manipulating newspaper articles according to the wishes of the party. He doesn't like his life and wonders how life had been before the revolution, before Big Brother respectively the Party had come into power. He doesn't believe in Gig Brother and doubts every single word coming from the Party, which is a so called thought-crime. If the Thought-Police ever discovers his thoughts, he will cease to exist. Every reference to his person, to his existence is going to be erased from history by the Party.

    Julia -

    Also a member of the Outer Party, living in the same city and working at he same place as Winston Smith. Julia also belongs to the Anti-Sex-League and appears to be an exemplary party-member. Behind her excellent masquerade thought, she cheats Big Brother and the whole Party by not believing in them, having several affairs with men, and trying to enjoy her life as good and as long as possible.Julia has been born after the revolution and thus views the whole system as normal and simply undergoes it in her clever, stealthy way.

    O'Brien -

    A member of the Inner Party and therefore one the few people in Oceania who enjoy all the luxuries available and, most important, hold power - ultimate power. He appears to be a secret member of the Brotherhood, a conspiracy against Big Brother. But finally he become Winson and Julia's doom. O'Brien is the most difficult character because the story deceives the reader so effectively about his true face in the first two thirds of the book.

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    Summary

    The world is divided into the three super-powers Oceania, Eastasia and Eurasia. Oceania is alternating at war with one power and allied with the other. The population of Oceania consists of three castes: the Inner Party (1%), the Outer Party (14%) and the Proles (85%). The Inner Party is the ruling caste and its sole desire is to gain power, have power, and keep the power - forever. The Inner Party uses a system of totalitarianism to stay in power, which means the total control over the people's actions and thoughts. The official face of the party is "Big Brother", an oversized face on posters hanging on walls everywhere and staring from every telescreen, seeming to follow everybody with his eyes. Telescreens are installed in every room, every hallway, elevator, lift, every street, square, every possible place. They send nonstop party-programs; blare reports from the war-zone and the newest numbers about industrial production achievements. The telescreen can only be turned down but not shut off, one is constantly exposed to it. They are not only sending machines, but also capable of observing every movement and record every sound. One never knows if the Thought-Police is following closely every step made. The enormous tasks of the party are done by four divisions: the Ministry of Truth (news, education, entertainment, fine arts), the Ministry of Love (law and order), the Ministry of Plenty (economic affairs) and the Ministry of Peace (war efforts). The sex-instinct is oppressed in order to change this "energy" into war-hysteria. No love-marriages are allowed.
    Winston Smith works in the Ministry of Truth. He lives alone in an apartment. He used to be married - not very happy - but his wife disappeared some time ago. Winston doesn't get along very well in this world; in his heart he hates Big Brother. What he wishes the most is being able to think and do what he wants, and not what he is supposed to. He is dreaming of freedom.
    One day he buys a diary on the black market and starts formulating his thoughts about the Party. He knows that he is practically dead, because sooner or later, the Thought-Police will detect him. His misdeeds haven't even started with the opening of the diary but much sooner, with the beginning of his rebellious thoughts - called thought-crime. Winston feels totally alone with his thoughts; everybody else seems to believe everything the Party says. He can't even be totally sure of his own mind, because their exist no kind of documentation or reference about a single fact of the past that hasn't been altered several times by the Ministry of Truth.
    Everything changes when Julia, a young woman whom Winston had held for an exemplary party-memeber, gives him a message. The two start to secretly meet each other and fall in love. Both of them know that the Party will have no mercy for them when discovered, but continue anyway.
    After some weeks they decide to take the next step and try to make contact with the Brotherhood, a mysterious conspiracy agianst Big Brother, of which nobody knows for sure if it actually exists. Winston knows somebody called O'Brien, a member of the Inner Party, of whom he feels certain that he shares rebellious thoughts. Some day, Winston and Julia risk everything and go straight to O'Brien's house and ask him. He doesn't disappoint them; they learn that he actually belongs to the Brotherhood. Both Winston and Julia swear now to give up everything for the Brotherhood, to do everything that is in their might in the effort of making the world a better place for their posterity. O'Brien gives Winston "The Book", which contains the truth about Big Brother, the Party and the whole system. For some time nothing changes, Winston and Julia are both waiting for orders form O'Brien.
    Suddenly there is an evil awakening for Winston and Julia when one morning the police arrests them both in their secret place. They find out that their every step had been closely watched by the Tought-Police for a long time. O'Brien turns out to be one of the most truly believers in Big Brother and that he had fooled them badly. Deep inside they aren't really surprised to be finally caught, but the Party doesn't just want to kill them now, oh no! The Party wants to change them first, to brake them in every way, and to bring their thoughts back on the right track by every means. Winston had been thinking about this and even accepted it; he had known that he was going to be tortured. What he din't know was that the Party was actually able to wash his brain so absolutely clean that there would be not one rebellious thought left but merely love for Big Brother. After horrible months spent in the dungeons of the Ministry of Love, Winston is released again, being only a hollow body with no individual thoughts. He lost the battle against the system...

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    Conclusion

    Personnally I really enjoyed reading 1984. I had no problems to identify/put myself in place of the main character, Winston Smith. Of course, the bad ending isn't very pleasant, but in this case, there is no happy-end possible, or else the story would not be consistent. In some points one really has to ask himself if they not actually have become true in some way. In a world full of TV, Phones, Computer and Internet, there is a real threat to one's privacy. Nowadays we are daily exposed to an immense amount of information, commercials and news. This book certainly causes some serious thinking in the reader's mind. I can only recommend this book to others, I think it is made quite brilliant.

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    Links

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    Business Graphics, Hour 5 Reto Hohener Last modified: April 9, 1999
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