1984 Novel: Summary, Characters, Main Ideas
Since this work is a novel written in the dystopian genre, it caused misunderstanding among some given the genre’s novelty, someone strongly criticized it, but many, nevertheless, admired it. Given this background of creating the work, it will be especially interesting to analyze the novel “1984” by George Orwell.
The dystopian genre itself was born as a reaction to society’s disillusionment after the First World War. Some writers in different countries very skillfully used this genre to convey society’s mood and their vision of the problem.
Starting the analysis of the novel “1984,” an important point should be noted. If earlier thinkers and philosophers vied with each other to offer their recipes for building an ideal socio-political system, where everyone would be happy, then the harsh reality made its adjustments to the world’s vision.
George Orwell is writing 1984, which is set in the future. This piece of fiction, describing the horrors of totalitarianism, is still shocking. And the first thing that makes you shudder is the recognition of what Orwell describes.
Double standards, newspeak, thought police, a ministry of love that hurts, drives despair, and destroys dissidents, a ministry of peace that kindles wars. These robotic writers produce pornographic literature to distract the masses. Orwell is the only person who has described the actions of the totalitarian regime so truthfully. Many students read the book with great misunderstanding and apprehension, as it is hard for them to realize what the hell George Orwell was describing.
Is it a prophetic novel? Maybe. A novel that discourages, excites, makes you admit its truthfulness and reflect? Without a doubt, yes. Consider the details of the novel in more detail.
Summary – First part
The 1984 year. “London, the main city of Runway I, Oceania’s third most populous province.” In the city, posters with the image of a black-mustached man and the inscription “Big Brother is looking at you” are hung everywhere. Every step residents were taken under control, and even in their apartment, no one could relax because of the built-in cameras.
Winston Smith worked for the Ministry of Truth, where he edited and tampered with information from the past to change history in people’s minds. Tired of the Party’s total control, Winston decided to keep a diary, which grossly violated the law.
Winston’s work was interrupted by the arrival of a neighbor who asked him to remove a blockage in the kitchen sink. There were children in the house playing punishers – “It was a little scary, like the fuss of tiger cubs that will soon grow into cannibals. “
Winston saw his mother and younger sister in his dream, whose lives were “sacrificed for his life.” He also remembered the cleansing operations of the 1950s when his father mysteriously disappeared.
Winston was engaged in rewriting documents at work, adjusting data from old issues of magazines and newspapers to the Party’s needs. Other employees of the Ministry did everything so that no one would find out about the people who disappeared without a trace, printed information that was supposed to influence citizens’ opinions, and took away those newspapers in which someone condemned the actions of the party. The work was carried out in “Newspeak” – a modern language with no adjectives and all words abbreviated.
Over lunch, Winston met with a colleague, Syme, who was busy eliminating unnecessary words in the latest Newspeak Dictionary edition. Winston thought that Syme would soon be “cleaned up.”
The party tried in every possible way “to prevent the formation of bonds between men and women, which are not always amenable to its influence.” Therefore, marriage life was bleak, and women went to bed with their husbands to give birth to a child for the Party. Winston’s family life with Catherine, with whom he parted ten years ago, was no exception.
Winston concluded that the only chance for humanity’s salvation was the uprising of the Proles, a particular caste of people who had been driven into an animal state by the Party.
Summary – Second part
A few days later, a man appeared in the Ministry, in whose hands was a letter of declaration of love, and then handed this package to Winston. For a week, his thoughts were occupied with “how to contact her and arrange a meeting.” When this succeeded, the girl made a new appointment outside London.
In the woods, Julia and Winston became close. The girl admitted that she had many lovers from the Party, but this did not alienate Winston from her. The lovers often met, but “in May they only managed to be together once. ” They grew closer and closer, telling each other without hiding about their past.
Winston managed to rent “a neglected little room above Mr. Charrington’s shop” for dates. He understood that he was committing a reckless act, for which he could seriously pay, but he could not help himself. Julia brought in real food: jam, white bread, sugar, coffee, and tea, which were stolen by the waiters from the Party members.
London was preparing for Hate Week. It was a happy time for Winston. His state of health noticeably improved: the cough that had tormented him for a long time disappeared, the varicose ulcer on his leg healed, he noticeably recovered. The official O’Brien met with Winston and offered him to work on the publication of the Dictionary. A colleague of Winston Syme worked on it until he went missing.
Winston and Julia came to O’Brien’s house. It was quite disturbing – “it was very rare for a person to see from the inside the dwellings of members of the Inner Party and even wander into their quarters.” They were amazed that the party members turned on the monitor for thirty minutes and left it unattended or monitored. Winston and Julia were accepted into the Brotherhood. The lovers took this step only so as not to part.
Suddenly the police rushed into the room. They beat Julia badly, so that “she writhed on the floor and could not breathe.” Then she was carried out of the room like a sack. Mr. Charrington entered the room; his appearance visibly changed. Winston caught himself thinking that he was communicating with a policeman who thinks so well and speaks with confidence for the first time.
Summary – Third part
Winston Smith became prisoner number 6079. Together with other innocent people, he sat in a high cell. The inmates were afraid to get into 101 rooms. O’Brien soon showed up and betrayed him. The warden struck Winston’s left elbow with all his might – “unthinkable, unthinkable that one blow could cause such pain.”
Winston’s interrogations turned out to be an endless series of beatings and humiliations. Using all kinds of torture, they demanded from him. O’Brien explained to Winston that this is just a way to correct personality, and before his death, his mind will be filled with thoughts of the Party.
There were three stages in restoring prisoners’ identity: “learning, understanding, and acceptance,” and now O’Brien has started the second stage. He explained to Winston that the Party’s goal is power for power’s sake. Any person in itself does not represent any value, and only within the system did he acquire immortality. O’Brien invited Winston to look at himself in the mirror, and he realized with horror that he had turned into “something bent, gray, skeletal.” He wept bitterly, and only the thought of Julia warmed him.
Winston was transferred to a comfortable cell, where he received full medical care, comfort, and nutrition. In the dream, he called for Julia, and O’Brien realized that emotionally Winston remained the same.
Winston was transferred to Room 101, in which a person’s deepest fears came to life. The torment here was so ingenious that no man could bear it. The worst nightmare for Winston was the rats, and they were the ones he saw here. Realizing what awaits him, he abandoned Julia.
Winston sat at a table in a pleasant cafe called Chestnut. “Since he releases, he has grown fat, and his former blush has returned,” and his thoughts scatter. He occasionally remembered Julia, but she did not bother him. Winston realized that he completely cure himself.
The Main Characters of the Novel “1984”
Winston Smith is the most iconic character in the book. The man is already very adult, he is 39 years old, and he is living in the center of London. He works for the Ministry of Truth. His responsibilities include working with documents. But he is looking for facts that contradict the actions of the party. He skillfully hides his hatred of the party, even though it is hard for him, and with all his heart wants to bring them to clean water.
Julia is in love with Winston, and he is crazy about her. She is still young and is only 26 years old. She combines beautiful, long, lush hair of a dark color and with brown eyes. Very thin, her waist caused admiration in the protagonist. Therefore, Julia often adorned her waist with a belt. She works in the same place where the main character is and knows literature.
O’Brien is an essential member of the pariah. His description suggests that he is a middle-aged man with a corpulent physique and rough features. However, his appearance does not in any way affect manners. This contrasting juxtaposition makes the reader interested in the character.
Mr. Charrington is a man who sells antiques, but we later find out that he is a secret police agent. Mr. Charrington rented out a room for lovers and arrested them while reading a private book.
Syme is the smartest of all Winston’s colleagues. The author described him as one of the best characters of any kind. This character is a philologist and writes dictionaries.
Parsons is the protagonist’s neighbor and colleague. A 35-year-old man with a fat build who smells unpleasant. Yet at the same time, he is the best employee of the party, as he approaches work energetically and industriously. He admires everything that the leader of the party tells him and performs his duties perfectly.
Ampleforth is a friend and colleague of Winston’s in the Ministry of Truth. The author did not describe it in a very good light, such as hairy ears and awkward gait. He is a poet and is considered the best because he always managed to pick the perfect rhyme.
Martin is O’Brien’s servant; the author does not emphasize it and describes him as a thin man, Mongoloid race, and dressed in a flight suit.
Big Brother is the only one who has done many good deeds for the party and is considered its leader. Outwardly, the author describes him as a man of 40-50 years old with a large, black mustache.
Emmanuel Goldstein is considered the main enemy of the entire state. Before that, he was deemed noble, and he was one of the leaders who supported the revolution. Then we learn that he betrayed society and fled to another country.
Catherine is the only woman to be officially married to Winston’s, but we learn that they are divorced. Also, we learn all information about her only from Winston’s thoughts. He describes her as a thin woman with blond hair and a noble bearing. Yet, at the same time, he considers her stupid because of her appearance.
Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford are all former members of the Inner Party. They first came out in favor of raising the revolution, but they were recognized as traitors and arrested for crime after a while.
The Meaning of the Novel “1984”
J. Orwell depicted a senseless and merciless duel between the personality and the system, where the former is doomed. The authoritarian state denies the human right to individuality, which means that everything dear to us will be trampled if its power over society is absolute. The writer warned us against the collectivism of thought and against the dictatorship’s permissiveness under whatever slogans, which certainly cannot be trusted.
The meaning of the work “1984” represents the world, dialectically evolved according to today’s laws to a state of tyranny, and to show its squalor, its total inconsistency with our values and ideas. The author took the radical ideas of contemporary politicians to the extreme and received not fantasy, but a real forecast for the future, to which we are approaching in the present. Any dystopia exaggerates the colors to make humanity think about what will happen next if we allow today’s arbitrariness.
The Meaning of the Phrase – 2 + 2 = 5
Orwell’s dystopian world’s most terrible feature is the methodical distortion of language and the deprivation of its meaning. The totalitarian regime seeks to eradicate words, as well as the ideas and feelings that they embody. The real enemy of tyranny is reality. And tyrants struggle to undermine the very foundations of understanding reality, replacing them with phantoms and lies.
Winston Smith’s first daring act of disobedience was an attempt to hide from the camera’s all-seeing eye and keep a diary to realize himself and describe his inner world. He knows that for this, he can be executed. And broken down by the torture, he still admits that “two plus two equals five.”
Smith realized that they “killed something in my chest, burned it, drowned it out.” The terror that suits the authorities in 1984 aims to destroy the individual and destroy people’s ability to realize reality. There is no ounce of relativism in Orwell’s work – he perfectly understands how difficult it is to correct the current situation. His book shows with ruthless detail the whole horror of a world where people have fewer and fewer words, and their thinking is crippled, distorted by ideology.
George Orwell’s work describes a straightforward society by exterminating all the best human qualities. The main character tries to resist the system, but it absorbs him too. George Orwell not only changed the way we view the world by showing us how tyranny comes about. The novel “1984” has become a kind of reference for those living in difficult times. The book may not seem interesting at first glance, but it will surely become a lesson for you because life tests us over and over again.
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