Orwell - 1984
George Orwell was born in 1903. He was brought to England and was educated at Eton. He has participated to the Spanish Civil War for the Republicans against the Fascists. He wrote a lot of novel, including “1984”. Orwell died in 1950.
1984 – the plot.
The book is divided into three parts. The protagonist is Winston Smith and he lives in a post-revolutionary London, in the super state of Oceania.
Oceania is a totalitarian state ruled by an organization known as The Party. Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia are involved in continuous war. The war is an illusion maintained by the three super states in order to keep their respective peoples in a state of subjection.
Winston is a member of the Outer Party; he is a functionary and like the rest of his caste, he has been brainwashed. Above the Outer Party are the Inner Party members. At the top there’s the Big Brother, a figure that it is nothing more than a face that appears on the screens.
Winston’s job at the ministry of truth is the rewriting of history, he corrects “errors”, modifying the past.
Smith is a modern anti-hero, a powerless individual who tries to rebel against the rules of his society. Winston has a relation with a woman dissenter called Julia. Renting a room which appears to have no telescreen, the couple is inducted by a man called O’Brien into the Brotherhood. There is a hidden telescreen in the room, so the last part of the book recounts the torture of Winston by O’Brien in the Room 101. The novel ends with Winston’s spirit which finally broken.
Features and themes
The novel’s title is an inversion of the year in which it was written, 1948. He set his story in a totalitarian state in the future. Orwell was describing the political scenario of his time: the horror of Nazism and the oppressions of Stalinist in Russia.
The society Orwell describes is a society of control, dominated by mass media. The media in Oceania ha a double function:
- Brainwash the population with the new speak (war is peace, love is hate, freedom is slavery)
- Keeping the people under surveillance, in fact every room has a telescreen.
Everywhere there is an image of Big Brother (Big Brother is watching you).
About language, are abolished words like “freedom” and “equality”.