Catherine Yin Karl AP English 12 19 Aug. 2013 Literary Cheat Sheet: 1984 Title Significance: The title of the novel was meant to indicate to its readers in 1949, when the book was published, that the story represented a real possibility for for the near future: if totalitarianism were not opposed, the title suggested, some variation of the world described in the novel could become a reality in only thirty-five years. Author: George Orwell What’s important about the author: Orwell‟s work is marked by clarity, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and commitment to democratic socialism. Orwell's work continues to influence popular and political culture, and the term Orwellian — Orwellian — descriptive descriptive of totalitarian or authoritarian social practices — practices — has has entered the language together with several of his neologisms, including Cold War , Big Brother , thought police, police, Room 101, 101, doublethink , and thoughtcrime. thoughtcrime.
Settings: Main and Secondary- The novel takes place in the Oceanian province of Airstrip One (formerly known as Great Britain), a world filled with perpetual wa r, omnipresent government surveillance, and public mind control. Plot:
Winston Smith, a low level government employee of the ruling Party lives in a controlled repressive environment, where is every move and thought is monitored by the Party and propaganda of its leader, Big Brother. Working in the Ministry of Truth where he alters historical records to fit the needs o f the Party, Winston meets a dark haired girl named Julia who he fears will turn him in for his thoughtcrimes. Winston often thinks about Emmanuel Goldstein, the alleged leader o f the Brotherhood who is against the government, and spends his evening wandering through poor neighborhoods where the proles live free of monitoring. Winston and Julia soon begin a love affair after Julia sends him a note that reads “I love you” and eventually, they rent a room in the prole district. Winston predicts that the Party will find out sooner or later and as his affair progresses, his hatred for the Party grows. Winston and Julia are invited by O‟Brien, a suspected member of the Brotherhood working in the government, to his apartment where O‟Brien indoctrinates Winston and Julia into the Brotherhood, giving them the Brotherhood‟s manifesto. Afterwards, Winston and Julia are seized by soldiers when it is revealed that O‟Brien is a Party spy. Furthermore, the owner of the rented room, Mr. Charrington is revealed to be a member of the Thought Police. Winston and Julia are taken to the Ministry of Love and Winston is sent to the dreaded Room 101, where O‟Brien begins to torture him by strapping a cage of rats to Winston‟s face. Winston snaps and gives up Julia, thus submitting to the Party and admitting defeat. His spirit, now broken, has accepted the Party entirely and learned to love Big Brother.
Opening + Closing: “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston S mith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him.”
“He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark mustache. O cruel, needless, misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving beast! Two gin-scented tears trickled d own the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He h ad won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.” Theme/Meaning of the work as a whole: Often times, the oppressive and desolate atmosphere established by a totalitarian government will drive people to the depths of hopelessness, weakening them to submit to authority and admit defeat. Potential opening for an essay on this novel: To be trapped in one‟s life, where every move is constantly monitored and recorded, where one ‟s innermost thoughts are at risk of exposing themselves, where one has lost the utter drive and qualities of individualism would be an absolute nightmare. And yet, the eerie, futuristic world of Ocean ia presents that sort of possibility. Prevailing tone: Hopeless and despairing at times; pessimistic towards the world and the future. Key Characters:
Winston Smith — the protagonist, is a phlegmatic everyman. Julia — Winston's lover, is a covert "rebel from the waist downwards" who publicly espouses Party doctrine as a member of the fanatical Junior Anti-Sex League. Big Brother — the dark-eyed, mustachioed embodiment of the Party who rule Oceania. O'Brien — a member of the Inner Party who poses as a member of The Brotherhood, the counter-revolutionary resistance, in order to deceive, trap, and capture Winston and Julia. Emmanuel Goldstein — a former leader of the Party, the counter-revolutionary author of The Book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, and leader of the Brotherhood. He is the symbolic Enemy of the State — the national nemesis who ideologically unites the people of Oceania with the Party, especially during the Two Minutes Hate, and other fearmongering by the Inner Party. It is unknown whether h e is real or a fabrication of the Party itself for the purpose of propaganda.
Structure Design/ Narrative Techniques: The novel is mostly third-person point of view, creating a detached, omniscient presence overseeing Winston‟s journey. Diction,Style: Language: Orwell‟s descriptions are quite detached, relying on vivid details to illustrate his imagined world. He uses a lot of made-up words to convey the extent of the Party and how different the system is within the novel.
Big Brother: face of the party. Symbolizes the Party in its public manifestation; a reassurance to most citizens for being recognizable but also an open threat. The Glass Paperweight and St. Clement‟s Church: Paperweight symbolizes his attempt to reconnect with the past. Church is another representation of the lost past. The Place Where There Is No Darkness: symbolizes Winston‟s approach to the future ( he believes he is doomed). Telescreens: symbolizes how totalitarian govt. abuses technology for its own ends as opposed to using to educate and improve civilization. The Red-Armed Prole Woman: represents hope for the future; the p ossibility that the proles will eventually rebel against the govt.
Three Important Scenes: Winston‟s experience in Room 101, Winston and Julia getting caught in the room above the Antiques Shop, and Julia telling Winston why she hates the Party. Three Passages: "The proles are not human beings,” he said carelessly. “By 2050— earlier, probably — all real knowledge of Oldspeak will have disappeared. The whole literature of the past will hav e been destroyed. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron —they‟ll exist only in Newspeak versions, not changed into something contradictory of what they used to be. Even the literature of the Party will change. Even the slogans will change. How could you have a slogan like „freedom is slavery‟ when the concept of freedom has been abolished? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking — not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”
“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. His heart sank as he thought of the enormous power arrayed against him, the ease with which any Party intellectual would overthrow him in debate, the subtle arguments which he would not be able to understand, much less answer. And yet he was in the right! They were wrong and he was right. The obvious, the silly, and the true had got to be defended. Truisms are true, hold on to that! The solid world exists, its laws do not change. Stones are hard, water is wet, objects unsupported fall toward the earth‟s center. With the feeling that he was speaking to O‟Brien, and also that he was setting forth an important axiom, he wrote: Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.” “For whom, it suddenly occurred to him to wonder, was he writing this diary? For the future, for the unborn. His mind hovered for a moment round the doubtful date on the page, and then fetched up with a bump against the Newspeak word DOUBLETHINK. For the first time the magnitude of what he had undertaken came home to him. How could you communicate with the future? It was of its nature impossible. Either the future would resemble the present, in which case it would not listen to him: or it would be different from it, and his predicament would be meaningless.” Thinking on Paper about Theme:
1. Language and Communication: The Party‟s power to control communication between citizens illustrates the importance of language and communication in creating a free civilization and society. 2. Power: Abusing power to generate fear and defeat doesn‟t translate to domination or total conquest, but rather generates more conflicts will detrimental consequences. 3. Technology: Using technology for controlling means, to ensure and ascertain control, violates the very fundamental right of privacy, a p rivilege not available in a totalitarian regime.