Riassunto esame letteratura inglese, Prof. Zuccato, libro consigliato 1984, Orwell
Inside the Whale
1940 — published (March). Moves to London (May). Writes
Time and Tide Tribune.
reviews for and Joins Local Defense Volunteers (Home
1941 — The Lion and the Unicorn published (February).
1941/1943 — Talks Producer, Empire Department, BBC, in charge of broadcasting
to India and Southeast Asia. Death of mother
1943/1946 — Literary Editor of
1944 — Orwell and Eileen adopt a one-month old child, whom they name, Richard
Horatio Blair. The Observer
1945 — War correspondent for in Paris and Cologne (March-May).
Death of Eileen while under anesthetic for operation (March 29). Covers first post-
war election campaign (June-July). published (August).
1946 — published (February). Moves to Barnhill, Isle of Jura (May).
1947 — Enters Hairmyres Hospital, near Glasgow, with tuberculosis of the left lung
(Christmas Eve). Nineteen
1948 — Returns from hospital to Jura (July). Completes revision of
1 9 4 9 — E n t e r s C o t s w o l d s S a n i t o r i u m , C r a n h a m , G l o u c e s t e r s h i re
(January). published (June). Over 400,000 copies sold in first
year. Transferred from Cranham to University College Hospital, London
(September). Marries Sonia Bronwell, an editorial assistant with in hospital
1950 — Dies suddenly in University College Hospital, of a hemorrhaged lung
(January 21). Buried in the churchyard of All Saints, Sutton Courtney, Berkshire.
Summary of Orwell’s Chronology:
Educated in England. He spent some time in Burma and then he came back to
England. He was interested in the life of common people, in the working class. In
1937 he went to Spain and joined the Spanish War against Franco and then came
back to England. At that time he got in touch with many stalinists and developed a
sort of hostility towards Stalin and fascism. He was an active journalist on the BBC
radio in WW2. At the end of the war in 1945 he published his best known work
“Animal Farm”. He went on writing as journalist. Then came out 1948 the book
“1984”. He suﬀered from tuberculosis and died suddenly in 1950. He took an
active part in the political struggle of his time and this can be seen in his works. He
was even socially and politically engaged.
The original title for he book was “The last man in Europe”, we can find this phrase
at the end of the book. It’s a dystopian novel of the 20 century.
The definitive title was decided at the end when the book came out, it was easier
to remember. It’s an inversion of 1948 so that it was not to distant to the years
during which the book was published. There was an evident link with the present
when it was published but distant enough to make a dystopian novel. It was a
good title and made this time of projection into the future more credible.
It describes the world which is divided into 3 super states or empires:
Pagina 2 di 9
- Oceania covers the entire continents of America and Oceania and the British
Isles, the main location for the novel, in which they are referred to as ‘Airstrip
One’ + Southern Africa (all English speaking countries).
- Eurasia covers Europe and (more or less) the entire Soviet Union. It reflected the
political situation after WW2.
- East-Asia covers Japan, Korea, China and northern India.
In this case, Europe had become part of the Soviet empire and the Eurasian block.
There were even some disputed areas like the Middle east and North Africa.
Everything is controlled in each super state.
Big Brother: the main head —> most important figure, there are pictures of it
everywhere but nobody has ever seen him. It’s a kind of divine entity, a sort of god.
He’s watching you because it’s a kind of dystopia, everyone is constantly spied
through screens and cameras.
En-Soc (English socialism): doctrine and parties. The book takes place in London,
England because Orwell didn’t want to make this obvious, while if socialism was
set in Nazi Germany or Russia it would have been obvious.
There are some ministries in the books and the 4 main ministries are:
1) Ministry of truth, deals with news and entertainment;
2) Ministry of peace, it deals with war;
3) Ministry of love, it deals with law;
4) Ministry of plenty, it deals with economic aﬀairs.
The book is organized:
Introduction: tells us how life is in Oceania. We meet: the main character
• Winston Smith works for the Ministry of truth; Big Brother & the elite (the inner
party); Two Minutes Hate (go to the movies and watch this kind of propaganda,
an episode shown in advertising); Winston’s Diary (he is a kind of rebel, it’s
impossible to express any sort of opposition and that’s why he writes a diary);
The Proles (the other social group, the working classes). These people enjoy
more freedom in comparison to others because they are left to themselves, but
they are ignorant and attached to simple, more material stuﬀ. Winston believes
that the Proles are the only hope. These people will be unreliable, they have no
memory. Pagina 3 di 9
Part 2: Julia, main female figure in the book; O’Brian, the other male figure, he’s
• part of the inner party, an influential figure. Winston believes he’s also a secret
rebel. Julia and Winston go see O’Brian one day to create a conspiracy;
Goldstein—> the Book; Julia and Winston join the Brotherhood.
Part 3: they are arrested and is about Winston brainwashing and re-education.
• O’Brian is a loyal member of the party, he tries to convince Winston psychically
and mentally that is wrong; torture and room 101; Winston re-educated; the
Chestnut Tree Cafe, Winston comes here often to be re-educated.
Perspectives (point of view):
• Part 1: the events through Winston’s eyes
• Part 2: perspective of Goldstein and the Brotherhood, diﬀerent form of socialism
and communism, diﬀerent form the party doctrines.
• Part 3: Party orthodoxy and O’Brian explanations.
The 3 parts:
• Part 1: realistic descriptions of a poor, totalitarian post-war London. Even if
England won war.
• Part 2: a pastoral romance in the country. The atmosphere is happier, there is
Part 3: a (return) that ends in horror. This is a pessimistic book, a
• Specific sources: Jack London’s the Iron Heel (1907) deals with rigid regimes.
• A Huxley’s Brave New World another diﬀerent type of dystopia.
• Other novels (ex: Karin Boye and David Karp)
• A. Koestler’s darkness at Noon (1940). Important background for part 3 of the
• F. Dostoevsky, the Brothers Karamazov (1880).
• L. Trotsky, the revolution Betrayed (1937)
• James Burnham, the managerial revolution (1941) & the Machiavellians (1943).
The reaction to the book was interesting: an immediate success, it was not
appreciated in Russia, 1984 was a repellent book according to Russian.
In 1950 it came out in Italy —> comments from Benedetto Croce who read it as
anti-communism satire. Palmiro Togliatti also gave his feedback: una buﬀonata
informe e noiosa. Moravia: general criticism of totalitarianism. He and other
European writers were surprised.
In 1954 there was a tv version in England that the BBC made and it made the book
a general success. Many people complaint that the vision of the book was too
gloomy. In 1984 there was a lot of celebration. A boom in book sales: 50’000
copies in the US. Sales go up whenever there are signs of totalitarian people are
coming back, like when Trump was elected.
This totalitarian ideas were accepted by some intellectuals. The novel was to show
what happened when these principals are brought to the extreme.
Big Brother is the head of the party, we consider him as the eldest brother (Grande
Fratello in Italy, but that’s not the correct translation). Abstract entity.
Pagina 4 di 9
The main character is Winston Smith, the last of Orwell’s many anti-heroes. In the
novel we have a kind of main figure and some other important characters as in his
fellow books. There is also a context of social and political criticism and
perspective. In “animal farm” we don’t have a dominant character. Many critics
described Winston as a flat character, but it’s not quite true, the narrator sees
things trough Winston’s eyes. The figure of the intellectual that was socially placed
between the ruling class and the working class. Inner party: top class VS the
Proles. Winston is in the middle.
He’s an artist, he’s a writer. He has this need to write. Winston is a positive figure,
empty hero because he embodied a type of intellectual that Orwell had criticized
quite sharply before. An opposition intellectual that was secret in love with power
(not sincere with himself). Orwell had met this kind of people in Spain. These
people were ready to falsify reality in order to adapt reality to their ideas, principals,
ideology. These people were convinced that the common people could not take
part in the political struggle consciously. They could only be ruled by a sort of
intellectual oligarchy. They were considered intellectually underdeveloped and
could not decide for themselves. Politics was just a struggle between diﬀerent
Winston represents the intellectual who is convinced that the political struggle was
a struggle between suﬃciently educated oligarchies at the political level and that
ordinary people could not participate actively in political life but should be
governed by an oligarchy. Winston has an ambiguous position. Sometimes he says
that hope lies only in the proletariat, while other times he says they can’t do it
because they are too ignorant and have no awareness. Orwell does not always
coincide with Winston's ideas; in part it is an intellectual that Orwell has criticized
Winston developed his idea of opposition to the regime intellectually; the other
main character Julia, she’s also against the regime, but her opposition derives from
her instinct. She is a rebel but has no general vision of society and politics, she just
follows her own instinct. He has no idea of how society as a whole can change or
rebel against the regime —> two very diﬀerent kind of people with two diﬀerent
visions. part 2
When they join the brotherhood in when he takes an oath we can see this
diﬀerence, he believes in what he is doing, while she takes an oath just because he
is doing so.
For Winston sex is always a repellent element in himself unlike Julia. The regime is
a kind of sexual repressive regime. There is something disgusting in sex for
Winston. When he first saw Julia in he wanted to rape and kill her because
he was attracted from her and it was disturbing, it could become dangerous. When
she uses a violent perfume, it reminds him of a prostitute. He associates her with
an old prostitute. He likes the fact the she had been with quite a few men. Sex is
something corrupting for him and will corrupt all the inner party members. She has
just a positive idea of sex. The scene when they joined the brotherhood is a sort of
parody of religion, O’Brian is a sort of evil in the scene. O’Brian is a forger of the
Goldstein Book. There is no privacy in the society described in 1984.
In 1984 privacy was suppressed or forbidden.
Pagina 5 di 9
+1 anno fa
I contenuti di questa pagina costituiscono rielaborazioni personali del Publisher giorgiaaka1997 di informazioni apprese con la frequenza delle lezioni di Letteratura inglese e studio autonomo di eventuali libri di riferimento in preparazione dell'esame finale o della tesi. Non devono intendersi come materiale ufficiale dell'università Libera Università di Lingue e Comunicazione - Iulm o del prof Zuccato Edoardo.
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