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1984 by George Orwell

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Essay title: 1984 by George Orwell

1984 by George Orwell


The book is set in a fictive future in the year 1984. The world is split into three totalitarian super-states: Oceania (North and South-America, Britain and Ireland, Australia and South-Africa), Eurasia (Europe and Russia) and Eastasia (China).These three super-states are constantly at war with each other, regularly forming different alliances. Each one of the super-states is too powerful and strong to be defeated by an alliance of the two other super-states and therefore it seems to be an endless war. Throughout the book, it becomes more and more clear that the war is an illusion, supported by the governments of the three states, because it is a way to keep their people brainwashed and under control. By the use of manipulated media and propaganda, the people of the super-states are convinced that there is a war going on and that they have to work hard, otherwise the war would be lost. Thus, the economy of the super-states is kept stable and the governments remain in power.

The story of the book takes place in London, Oceania. Oceania is controlled by a political organization called the “Party”. The society of Oceania is split into different classes: The proletariat (also called “proles”), the Outer Party and the Inner Party. The proles, which make up the majority of the population, are the working class of the society. The proles are mostly uneducated and live in slums. The Outer Party makes up most of the members of the Party. The members of the Outer Party also mostly live in poverty, but unlike the proles, they are constantly brainwashed and monitored by so-called “telescreens” (devices used to keep everyone under surveillance) and the Thought Police. They have to work for the Party to keep the government of Oceania running. The third class of Oceania is the Inner Party, which consists of only a few people of the society. In contrast to the rest of the Party, the members of the Inner Party are powerful and privileged. At the top of the society in Oceania there stands Big Brother, the leader and icon of the Party. Except for the Inner Party, the standards of living are disastrous in Oceania and nearly everybody is living in poverty. Furthermore love, friendship and individuality are abolished in Oceania and are considered as a “thought-crime” against the Party.

The protagonist of the book is Winston Smith, a member of the Outer Party who works in the “Ministry of Truth”, where media and history are constantly re-written and manipulated to make sure that the Party appears to be inerrable and almighty to the rest of the population. Winston’s job is to correct articles of old newspapers and books so that in the end the predictions of the Party always seem to have been right. Winston is a very depressed person. He doesn’t appreciate the government and he always wonders if things in the past were better than they were now. Unfortunately due to the permanent alteration of the past by the Party, he is unable to remember these things. Furthermore he has to live in fear of the Thought Police, because the smallest sign of discontent with the government could make you to a so-called “thought-criminal”. Winston thinks that “the only hope lies in the proles”, because if they would realize that the Party could never win against their vast majority, Oceania could be a better place some day. Winston, who wants to find out more about the past, walks into an antique shop in a prole area. There, he meets the proprietor of the shop, Mr. Charrington. After a short conversation, Mr. Charrington shows Winston a small room upstairs, which is for rent. For a short moment, Winston thinks about renting the room, using it as a hide-out, because there are no telescreens in the room, but he realizes how dangerous it would be at the same time. On his way back home he meets a girl, which also works in the Ministry of Truth. Knowing that it is very suspicious for a Party member to walk around in prole areas, he thinks that she’s a spy and that the Thought-Police would finally get him, but he manages to run home. A few days later he meets the girl again in the Ministry. She secretly gives him a small note, through which Winston finds out that she is in love with him. Winston is very confused because he doesn’t know if it is a trap of the Thought Police or if the girl really loves him and if she hates the Party too. Finally they both manage to meet at a secret meeting place. Winston learns that her name is Julia and that she hates the Party as much as he does. They enjoy their time together and also

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