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The novel 1984 opens with Winston Smith, a lowly-ranked member of the ruling Party of London. This Party, led by the mysterious figure known only as Big Brother, commands a powerful empire called Oceania. In addition to controlling a vast majority of the land on Earth, the Party oppresses everyone who lives in Oceania. In this futuristic world, even thoughts that are rebellious against the Party are punishable by death. Open disagreement with the party, or merely disliking Big Brother, results in the Thought Police finding and vaporizing the offender. It is as if he never existed, for the Party also has power over historic records, and over the information that reaches the masses. This is what Winston’s job entails: “updating” history to be convenient with the present. However, Winston becomes dissatisfied with living conditions under the Party’s rule. He attempts to rebel, performing many acts that are considered crime

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