1984


1. Biography


George Orwell is the pen name of Eric Arthur Blair, a British
writer with political conscience. He was born in India but
educated in England at Eton College. He served the Indian
Imperial Police in Burma from 1922 to 1927. In sick health, he
returned to Europe to live in poverty as a struggling writer.
Orwell joined the Republican forces in the Spanish civil war, and
wrote a chilling account of this experience. He went on to write
many books, mostly autobiographical, and achieved successes as a
brilliant writer.



2. Synopsis

The novel takes place in a theoretical and fictional dystopian
totalitarian society. The story begins in London on April 4, 1984
after an atomic world war divides the world into three states.
London is the capital of Oceania which is run by INGSOC(English
Socialism). The controllers are called "The Party." The Party is
divided into two sections, The Inner Party, and The Outer Party
which are the "Rich" and the "middle-class." There is a third
group of people called "The Proles," or "The Proletariat" which
are the poor, and considered to be animals by the party. The main
leader of this government is Big Brother. The novel is told in
third person and partly first person, and is also divided into
three parts. In the first part the main character and his
conflicts with the world he lives in are revealed. Winston Smith
is a bureaucrat who works for the government by altering history
at the Ministry of Truth. He begins to ponder the reason things
are so bad and commits a terrible crime. In the second part, he
falls in love with Julia, and is taken in by a man named O\'Brien,
a member of the anti-party society called the Brotherhood. O\'Brien
turns out to be a true member of The Inner Party. Winston and
Julia are captured and hauled off to the Ministry of Love
(Minilove in Newspeak). Here, during the final part of the story,
Winston is incarcerated and rehabilitated by The Party. O\'Brien
constantly tells Winston that Winston is crazy, and that he is
trying to help him. During these sessions he reveals the true
purposes of INGSOC. The party\'s goals can be summed up in their
mottoes. "WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS
STRENGTH(Orwell, 7)."



3. Theme

Under the rule of INGSOC, members of The Party are engrossed in
their work. It is essential that the government keeps its people
happy in order to avoid rebellions and "thought crimes."
Winston\'s greatest downfall springs from his only pleasure, his
work. He found it easy to become lost in the intricacies of his
duties guided only by the principles of INGSOC and his best
estimate of what the Party wanted him to say. A typical task
might include correcting an article in the Times, written entirely
in Newspeak. In one instance he reviews an article which
read:times 3.12.83 reporting bb dayorder doubleplusungood refs
unpersons rewrite fullwise upsub antefiling(Dr. Tom Costa., 1).
In Oldspeak (or standard English) this might be rendered:
The reporting of Big Brother\'s Order for the Day in the Times of
December 3rd 1983 is extremely unsatisfactory and makes references
to nonexistent persons. Rewrite it in full and submit your draft
to higher authority before filing(Dr. Tom Costa., 1).
The ability of Winston to do this job can be accredited to the
control of his government. Through the use of various techniques
such as propaganda and the "Thought Police," Big Brother is able
to not only brainwash his people, but also to reprogram them to
love and serve him.



4. Structural Feature

How does Orwell use distortion and irony to reveal the true motive
of the IGNSOC government? By distorting the motive of a government
into three elusively ironic statements, "WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS
SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH(Orwell, 7)." Orwell is able to
convey the reality of IGNSOC\'s goals. "IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH" is
the basic idea that ignorant people are content people. The Outer
Party is kept ignorant because the truth is adjustable, and the
Proles are kept content with ineffectual liberties such as love,
sex, and families. "FREEDOM IS SLAVERY" breathes insecurity into
the individualist. It implies that as an individual you will
sink, as a group you are immortal. "WAR IS PEACE" leads people to
believe that war is a good thing when in reality it is only good
for the government that they should believe this. Ironically, it
is almost true, at lest in 1984. Because the states are at war,
they are locked in perpetual deadlock. The war never endangers
any of the state\'s important land and it prevents the equal
distribution of goods by consuming them. Overproduction and equal
distribution of goods would