1984 by George Orwell1984 by George Orwell


byGeorge Orwell

Paperback | July 1, 1950

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Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, his dystopian vision of a government that will do anything to control the narrative is timelier than ever...

The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.

Winston Smith toes the Party line, rewriting history to satisfy the demands of the Ministry of Truth. With each lie he writes, Winston grows to hate the Party that seeks power for its own sake and persecutes those who dare to commit thoughtcrimes. But as he starts to think for himself, Winston can’t escape the fact that Big Brother is always watching...

A startling and haunting vision of the world, 1984 is so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the influence of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions—a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time.
George Orwell (pseudonym for Eric Blair [1903-50]) was born in Bengal and educated at Eton; after service with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, he returned to Europe to earn his living penning novels and essays. He was essentially a political writer who focused his attention on his own times, a man of intense feelings and intense h...
Title:1984Format:PaperbackDimensions:268 pages, 7.6 × 4.23 × 0.89 inPublished:July 1, 1950Publisher:Signet BookLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0451524934

ISBN - 13:9780451524935

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from twas great loved every second of and with it
Date published: 2018-01-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Big Brother is Watching In true dystopic fashion, this book looks at the notion of privacy and what happens when citizens lose all right to it. The ending was absolutely devastating but the book kept me engaged all the way through.
Date published: 2017-12-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting Ending I liked the book even though many don't enjoy the ending.
Date published: 2017-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing book Eerily true to life prediction of what life would be like today...amazing read
Date published: 2017-10-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 1984 If you are looking for a feel good book, then this is not the book for you. What an amazing insight George Orwell had. It scared me, it intrigued me. It is a must read.
Date published: 2017-10-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay I had to read this for senior English and it was alright. The ending was not what I wanted as I'm the type who prefers happy endings.
Date published: 2017-09-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic - Great Read Really great book to get one to think about how we are shaped by our world and how we act/react to it. Must read.
Date published: 2017-09-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic This is modern science-fi Classic. Much of our contemporary dystopian vocabulary comes from this novel. It is a foundation in the classic of modern science-fi and political commentary
Date published: 2017-09-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic A classic book that remains relevant in today's political climate.
Date published: 2017-08-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great for years I read this years ago as a school requirement but to this day think of it and make references regularly - so interesting to see where the world is now compared to the "future" they predicted
Date published: 2017-08-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Classic! Great story, every time I read it I gain something new.
Date published: 2017-07-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow This book was amazing but really terrifying in the sense of their predication of the modern world. Highly recommend to read. Eye opening and entertaining.
Date published: 2017-06-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantastic It's amazing that 1984 is more relevant than ever with internet and technology.
Date published: 2017-06-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from where did we go wrong Reading this now and looking at our world now sends chills down my back....
Date published: 2017-06-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Excellent read, although a little slow and confusing at times.
Date published: 2017-06-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from one of my favs not your usual modern-age dystopian read buuuut such a classic.
Date published: 2017-06-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not bad; not a 5-star only because I needed a teacher to explain why it was good. I read this classic novel for Grade 12. I don't usually read classics because I don't feel smart when I read them; I don't get the humour or the themes on my own. However, since my teacher explained the novel as we were reading it, I understand the gist of the story, and it's interesting to know that the story was written as a prediction for what Orwell expected the year 1984 to be like ... but really, the novel seems more relevant to what the 2010s are like.
Date published: 2017-05-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A contemplative read The writing style is immersing and the concepts of manipulating freedom of thought and privacy, which are such relevant topics in modern society, truly leave the readers a lot to ponder and reflect over. Orwell's depiction of the proletariat may be exaggerated, but it's interesting to draw connections with Winston Smith's (the protagonist) world and our own. With any dystopian novel, although it doesn't seem realistic, it's seemingly caricatured nature purposefully serves as an urgent message to be wary of our flaws that so easily escape detection, and therefore attention. 1984 brims with such warnings, but to access them requires participation of the reader's critical thought; which makes it a cool book to explore societal abstraction with
Date published: 2017-05-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A life changing experience A bone-chilling commentary on human nature and the nature of absolute oppression.
Date published: 2017-05-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Intriguing I read this having heard good things about the book, and I was not disappointed! While some points lagged a little bit for me, it was overall a very interesting book and I couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2017-05-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Classic Great social commentary, a thought provoking book
Date published: 2017-05-05
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh I think I might've read this in a time where I couldn't really understand what was going on and found it to be hard to follow but that's just my opinion... Maybe if I re-read it I would enjoy it more.
Date published: 2017-05-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Scarriest book ever That lil discourse they have on power at the end really sticks with you. In the worst kind of good way.
Date published: 2017-05-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Classic Book Really good, such great societal commentary
Date published: 2017-04-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 1984 I'm a bit biased; I read this as a teenager and have always considered it my favorite book. I decided to reread it, and it was just as powerful. The dark world it portrays and the social psycholgy it depicts still rings fresh for me. A must-read for any socially and politically conscious person.
Date published: 2017-04-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! The first sentence of the book gives you a lot of information as to what the story will be like in the upcoming chapters.
Date published: 2017-04-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from To read and re-read One of those books that continue to be relevant. To read and re-read to discover new meanings.
Date published: 2017-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from To read, re-read and read again Fantastic read that belongs with the classics of dystopian novels. A book to keep and re-read regularly to find new meaning.
Date published: 2017-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Part 2 of this story was very interesting.
Date published: 2017-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Riveting George Orwell's story is vivid and multi-dimensional. Every chapter is gripping and the story feels like it could actually happen on day. Great read
Date published: 2017-04-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great I finished reading part 1 of this book and I'm liking the story so far.
Date published: 2017-04-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliantly Written and Horrifyingly Cautionary It's the dystopian novel. You need not read anymore on the subject after this. Orwell's nightmarish fantasy is brilliantly written and horrifyingly cautionary while still somehow holding onto something beautiful about humanity.
Date published: 2017-04-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A frighteningly real future that we are seeing in the present. The story is superb and it may take a bit of getting used to Orwell's style if you are not used to reading books written this way - but with a bit of work you will be totally rewarded.
Date published: 2017-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Greatest book ever written Absolute perfection. An important read for everyone!
Date published: 2017-03-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eerie Prophecy??? This book is definitely worth a read! I found eerie similarities between the book and the Trump administration...I don't want to spoil it but READ IT. I left my copy in a coffee shop. I hope it can make someone else stop and think about our world.
Date published: 2017-03-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Compulsory Read! Everyone needs to read this novel - it's such a timeless piece, with the story holding true to current times. A thoroughly gripping yet almost soul crushing story, I still consider it a must read!
Date published: 2017-03-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this It is the best book i've ever read!
Date published: 2017-03-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Could George Orwell see into the future? Could this book actually be a prophesy? The world is full of hate, hate week is actually a celebration. There are thought crimes, which are crimes committed by citizens for thinking for themselves, and if caught they are arrested and eventually wiped out of society and completely erased and forgotten like they never existed. There are a few rebels who remember things of the past and decide to go against the "Party" they call themselves "The Brotherhood" but they don't know the identities of the other members. They are expected to commit murder, commit acts of sabotage which may cause death to hundreds of innocent people,to betray their country to foreign powers. They must be prepared to blackmail, corrupt the minds of children, to distribute habit-forming drugs, encourage prostitution, to disseminate venereal diseases. They must be willing to do anything which will cause demoralisation and weaken the power of Big Brother. Will they succeed or will Big Brother continue to erase history?
Date published: 2017-03-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent book My favourite book! It's really incredible that George Orwell created a future that has many aspects of our current world. Short and easy read. A classic.
Date published: 2017-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic Classic - A must read for anyone who loves to debate politics.
Date published: 2017-02-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Never More Relevant A classic, timeless. Always a good read...but now more than ever.#plumreview
Date published: 2017-02-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Relevant to just about everything. I read this about three years ago, and I cannot stop thinking about it. George Orwell is a master of dystopias.
Date published: 2017-02-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great This is a very good story and scary how many things Orwell got right about future society from the 1940s. I re-read it a little while ago and did not enjoy it as much as when I was a younger (bit dry) but still a good tale.
Date published: 2017-02-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Rating: 3.5 This book was very hyped up for me so when I got around to reading it I was a little disappointed. The plot line is a little slow and the characters aren't the best, but the concept is amazing. Would recommend if you like reading about dystopian worlds.
Date published: 2017-02-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Favourite Amazing classic, now one of my favourite books.
Date published: 2017-02-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of The best book I have ever read Such an amazing read. I really really enjoyed it. Made my top 3 in 2016.
Date published: 2017-02-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Still as relevant as ever If you have never read 1984, you definitely should. It is a bit dry if you don't like the writing styles of the 1940's, but there is a lot you can take from it.
Date published: 2017-02-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Nice This is a must read book !
Date published: 2017-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic! This should be a must-read book for every teenager and adult. Along with titles such as "Fahrenheit 451", "A Brave new world", "We" (by Zamyatin). This is not just about having fun time, while enjoying a good story - these books can actually educate people all over the world on consequences of bad political decisions and uninvolvement in politics among other important social issues.
Date published: 2017-02-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Classic It is a classic - any book lover should read this.
Date published: 2017-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really Gripping! One of my all time favourite books. Even though this book was written over 50 years ago, its still relevant. I could not put this book down!
Date published: 2017-01-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must Read! This book is so gripping. Such a powerful and relevant message which is what also makes it a terrifying tale. Everyone should read this book at least once in their lifetime.
Date published: 2017-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome! Still my all-time favourite book! Highly recommend.
Date published: 2017-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! Great story, great writing, great message... No wonder it's a classic!
Date published: 2017-01-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING BOOK Must read! One of my favourite books! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-01-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love! Extremely relevant, and extremely well written!
Date published: 2016-12-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Relevant in the Internet Age When I read this the first time I did not yet have a laptop or my own internet connection. The idea of your every move, word, and thought being monitored is even more relevant today than ever before.
Date published: 2016-12-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good This is a very well written dystopian book. It's a classic for good reason, I think anyone could benefit from reading it. An interesting view and warning of what could happen in society.
Date published: 2016-12-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating book By far the best book I have ever read. The story is just amazing, quite unique and marvellous characters.
Date published: 2016-12-23
Rated 2 out of 5 by from It's ok A fine enough book with very important messages. What doesn't do it for me is that Orwell doesn't know if he wants to write a novel or an essay.
Date published: 2016-12-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from It's ok A fine enough book with very important messages. What doesn't do it for me is that Orwell doesn't know if he wants to write a novel or an essay.
Date published: 2016-12-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Astoundingly Prophetic Everybody should read this book and take it as a pertinent warning to us in our lives today. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-12-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Haunting Makes you imaginee what will really happen if we live in a society that is like this. I really enjoyed it.
Date published: 2016-12-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A creepy, must read for fans of dystopias It's very well thought out and depressing. Orwell includes small details and describes things quite realistically. He can get into the mind of his characters and write from their point of view. He's a very talented writer. Some parts may not be interesting because Orwell includes so many details and he tells them like an essay instead of a story. He also includes a lot of backstory in the beginning and middle of the book. But I think it's well worth your time to plow through any parts you find boring. I think modern dystopian novels were inspired by this classic. The movie version from 1956 is very close to the book. It's black and white but very realistic and true to the book. I recommend reading this novel and watching the 1956 movie.
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must Read Orwell does an amazing job at portraying what a society could look like with too much government interference. It is truly a stunning book. Everybody should read it.
Date published: 2016-11-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good I found it a bit hard to get through at first but by the end, I 100% understood why it's a classic.
Date published: 2015-09-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Spectacular It's so realistic and terrifying, I can only say: read it, it worth it.
Date published: 2015-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A classic. A heavy read no doubt, but a very rewarding experience. It makes you appreciate how precious freedom is and how we must strive to protect it.
Date published: 2014-08-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best books ever written I read this book the first time in the year 1984. Now, nearly 30 later, I enjoyed it as much as I did then if not more.
Date published: 2013-05-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Disturbing to read nowadays.... ...and still see so much truth in it. More disturbing to find that people who are 20 or so don't know that terms like Big Brother and Room 101 came from this book.
Date published: 2013-05-08
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Very disappointing! George Orwell was the alias of English Writer Eric Arthur Blair. Perhaps the most well known of these works is the dystopian novel “1984”, written in 1948. It is a political dystopian novel that radically portrays both the pros and cons of nationalism. The irrationality of totalitarianism is a huge focus throughout the novel, and will interest young adults curious about the state of our world. In my opinion, this book is lacking heavily in many aspects. Its slow pacing made me lose interest in the book quickly and broke my engagement in the plot. In terms of its portrayal of totalitarianism, 1984 is very overrated. The knowledge it gives its reader is marginal and lacking. The world of 1984 is a dystopia dominated by propaganda and a totalitarian government. This world, named Oceania, is led by a group called The Party, with a leader known only as Big Brother who dominates and controls all thoughts in society. “Big Brother is watching you” is a memorable quote that illustrates the propaganda of the society. People are taught not to break rules based on this motto. The protagonist Winston Smith does not remember much of his past before Oceania, yet seeks revolution against the Party. The protagonist is a low-ranking member of London’s Party who hates the Party’s repressive laws that prohibit individuality and sex. Secretly, he seeks to find a rebellion to overthrow the government. He finds hope in a group named the Brotherhood, which aims to take down this government. Winston’s optimistic hope for this world is quickly turned into darkness as the odds start to go against him. All the while, he falls into forbidden love. As quickly as he decides to rebel, he transitions into the terrible truth that “In the face of pain, there are no heroes.” Orwell’s writing is able to achieve its goal of criticizing totalitarianism. Through Winston Smith, readers will see the extremities of this government, leading to the banning of love and the freedom of thought. In addition, it brings up how censorship leads to an imbalance of power between those who create censors, and those who are inhibited by it. It raises the idea: Is what we believe to be the truth actually reality? Or is it a façade created by society? However, the book suffers in how it tried too hard to convince the reader of its prose. The main character Winston Smith, and even all the side characters, are extremely boring and for the most part, flat characters that lack development through out the book. The book fails to include any sense of positive human emotion in its characters. In a dystopian novel, this becomes very important because hope is the one thing that make these characters seem “alive”. As their hope leaves, they become the same mindless characters that they originally aimed not to be. While this is realistic of a dystopia, it will bore and upset readers with how utterly depressing it is. The fact that there is not one shrivel of hope for Winston the entire story makes it unengaging at times and even unreadable. In conclusion, George Orwell’s 1984 was a brilliant portrayal of a dystopian society. However, due to the lack of character development and the weak plot line, the book is not an enjoyable read. The storyline moves at a terribly slow speed and you will find yourself tempted to give up or put the book down. I would definitely not recommend this book to anyone.
Date published: 2013-04-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Complex Masterpiece “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen,” the opening statement of George Orwell’s masterful exertion of a dystopian society in his feat, ‘1984’. ‘1984’ deals with a dystopian future in which a nuclear confrontation has split the world apart into three warring mega continents known as, Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia. ‘1984’ is a society where sex is shunned, thoughts against the party are punishable, and every move is monitored through telecreens. Orwell enlightens our prudent inquiries to a world ruled by a totalitarian society, making it clear to the reader about the horrors if such an advent ensued. ‘1984’ is more than worthy of telling a tale of a dystopian reality. The endless amount of ludicrous of such a world is just too much for a reader to take in, in a way that breaks the barrier of possibilities. ‘1984’ gives us an unparalleled experience on a crippled world governs by an atrocity of a government. Compared to other books that deal with a dystopian society, ‘1984’ is easily ranked one of the best in its category. In terms of concept, Orwell scores high in creativity, but the concepts presented in the book are not very convincing if compared to today’s society. I find it very hard to believe that the human brain would be compelled to agree such incredulous slogans and beliefs. Although that last point would sound to be a critique, I would probably infer that he did this to add effect to the dubious nature of the book. George Orwell has made a work comprised of a world from our worst nightmares. From reading ‘1984’, one would question their own society and ask them how fortunate they are to be living in the world we are in today. ‘1984’, has really given us food for thought, a world which oppression is the norm. A totalitarian government is a fantasy in Orwell’s world of imagination; the relevance of oppression and submission is only a mere glimpse of our society. The message sent by Orwell is clearly told to us through ‘1984’, indefinitely crystal like a stream. Rid the world of oppression, brutality, and corruption and avoid the horrors of ‘1984’. “The past was dead, the future was unimaginable.”
Date published: 2013-04-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sadly closer to reality than you would think I reread this classic work by George Orwell hoping to get more out of it now than when I was 20 when I read it for the first time. I did, and not only because I had changed (and...ahem...matured) but because our society has too. Back in the early nineties, cell phones, the internet and social media were in their infancy or not yet born. But now, with facebook, Twitter and texting, the sobering thought of having a Big Brother always watching is more reality than fiction. Orwell seems to have known that one day our reality would be heavily influenced by our own perception of what is real, and not on the actual events or people involved. One need only look at the myriad websites postulating that historic events like the Moon Landing in 1969 and the terrorist attacks in New York in 2001 were part of an elaborate plan by the American government to "push" its people towards a particular political or social agenda. Now, I am not saying these events did not happen as described by the media, but the moment people start to question the authenticity of these events, you have to wonder whose point of view is "reality". Oh, and I checked with a math teacher friend of mine, and 2 + 2 still equals 4...for now.
Date published: 2012-02-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU Well, a lot has been said about this book by reviewers on this site, and by the literary world at large. I would just like to add that “Nineteen Eight-Four” would have to be one of the greatest books I have ever read, and certainly the greatest dystopian thriller ever produced. It truly makes you think the world around you and not only in terms of governmental power but also media, the internet etc. Highly recommended! "WAR IS PEACE FREEDOM IS SLAVERY IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH"
Date published: 2011-09-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Truly a masterpiece Imagine the world where your every move is being watched. The world where no real history exists- you have to believe what you're being told, even the most outrageous changes in the country's time line. Imagine the world where there is no love, friendship or even hate. What would you do if there was no escaping the Big Brother? Talking about a dystopian novel you have to at least mention Orwell's "1984". Right from the beginning you get the strong feeling of wrongness - how people are manipulated or more like, played with. How they can not do one move without being watched. That, however is not the worst part of the story to me. What literally scared me to death is that the government knew peoples' deepest and worst fears and used it against them. I can not even begin to imagine someone trying to make me talk or change my beliefs that way. I would give up right away - and if you think you wouldn't you're wrong. As the main character's case proved, there is no love, no belief stronger than fear. Very disturbing. Orwell made it all feel real and very possible. It makes you think that maybe our world isn't all that bad...
Date published: 2010-12-16
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Short of Disappointing George Orwell's world is very real, mimicking and embelishing history at the same time. Through the eyes of Winston we begin to see the true terror of totalitarism and the role such a government has in controlling the human heart, mind and spirit. The novel is definitely one of a kind and is worth a read just for the sake of discovering its ability to cause an uproar in the literary world at the time it was published. However, as excited as I was to read this particular classic, it seems that I have expected too much. Although I found the subject interesting, the story took too long to unravel and contained some sections which I think were unecessary or that could have been brought into the story much more elegantly. I became absolutely frustrated with Winston and his insurmountable weaknesses by the end of the novel. I also thought that the informational dump that the reader has to deal with near the end is just insufferable! It was interesting to read about the inner workings the society Winston lives in but I felt like the same idea, the same information was just repeated over and over. If you can sit through pages of depressing words and chapters of unnerving boredom, give the book a try. Otherwise, watch the movie instead. A book by Orwell that I WILL strongly recommend is 'Animal Farm' it is allegorical and far more entertaining than 1984 although they both allude to the same theme.
Date published: 2010-09-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Big Brother is Watching You! This book wasn't that bad. However, even though it didn't appeal to my interests, I still enjoyed it. The book is about how the government is watching everyone and controlling their lives through BIG BROTHER. However, this book is a little bit much in terms of lack of privacy, but you never do know if you are being watched, do you? The main character starts to question his freedom and privacy and falls in love with a woman who is in the same position. Can Big Brother really control you?? Find out.
Date published: 2009-03-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So real... This story seems so real; I just couldn't put it down! When reading the book I found myself moving in and out of reality - it was kind of scary how deep I got into it but it was definiely worth reading.
Date published: 2009-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Timeless A haunting and tragic tale of a dystopic existence under a totalitarian regime, told by one of the best political writers of our time. This is a classic that is quoted in everyday popular culture, from 'Big Brother' to NewSpeak. It's a timeless work of 'Fiction,' and is a must have for all bookshelves. www.booksnakereviews.blogspot.com
Date published: 2008-11-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A must-read. I found it somewhat depressing, but a good read. Ayn Rand's "Anthem" is similar to this, albeit contrarily optimistic. I used to prefer Anthem, but now I prefer 1984, as it is more realistic, whereas Anthem is more idealistic. But aside from comparing it to other works, I consider it a fine must-read for anyone.
Date published: 2008-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! 1984 by George Orwell portrays a dystopian society, set in the United Kingdom, which is ruled by hate. 1984 is easy to understand and kept me interested throughout, except for some pages that are about the book. The ending was amazing and complete, something that I had not imagined would happen, it did not leave me wondering what would. George Orwell was a political writer, and so he wrote 1984 in the year 1948, as his prophetic vision and a warning that "...unless the course of history changes, men all over the world will lose their most human qualities, will become soulless automatons, and will not even be aware of it." (313) Winston Smith is middle-aged and a low-ranking member of the ruling Party. The Party watches their workers under twenty-four hour surveillance, through telescreens that are everywhere. The Party, whose leader is known as Big Brother, controls everything in the nation of Oceania, including the history and language. To think rebellious thoughts is a crime and is illegal, it is referred to as a thoughtcrime. Winston's job is to change history by rewriting newspaper articles to match the new truth that is decided by the Party. One of the Party's slogans is: "He who controls the past, controls the future." However, Winston is unable to think the same way as others do. I am sure that everyone will enjoy reading this exciting novel.
Date published: 2008-07-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unbelievable but True ! ! ! I recommend this book to anyone no matter how knowledgeable they are at politics. For those who are new to the world of politics this book will be shocking. It might even get you interested in politics. As a citizen I strongly believe that power can be dangerous in the hands of a small group of people. The first time I read this book I did not believe in it but as I thought about it more, things started to change. I started to see the world in a different way. The rest of this review will go into the context of the book, so don’t continue reading this if you haven’t read 1984. I think the society of Oceania and our society today are very much a like. It doesn’t seem like when you think about it first, but if you were to think deeper, the similarities are countless. Our world is always controlled by government just like Big Brother does in 1984. First of all, something very obvious is the U.S.A fighting over in Iraq. The government of U.S.A is trying to put us under ‘Orange alert’ just to get more money for their war. This is the same as what they did in 1984, where the ‘telescreen’ points an enemy of Oceania as a reason for war. Secondly, there is a ‘Ministry of truth’ in today society as well. In every news paper and book, the truth is hard to find. When ever something big happens, the media publish news papers and reports that are manipulated by government officials to defend their own ends. On the day of the 9/11, who knew for sure that Osama Bin laden was behind it, but since it was what media said we started to fear of him. This changed everything, now North America is a target of some terrorist or that’s what we believe in. I thank you for reading my comments and I hope you took something out of it. So the next time you watch news or read the paper be aware of what is on it and try to understand what is really going on behind the curtains supported by your government.
Date published: 2008-07-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from brilliant and creepy This book was crazy! It's a creepy concept that often gave me chills as I read it. This political tale of corruption is a masterpiece of work, and what's most amazing is the fact that it was written in the early 1940s, yet if someone was to read 1984 back then, they would probably think Orwell was completely off his rocker... however, in today's world it's not hard to imagine it being an appropriate diction/view/warning of where this world could be headed. Eek! :) Like I said; creepy... but a brilliant novel.
Date published: 2008-04-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Review Definitely an interesting look into the potential future of society. Unlike some who have read the book, I do not feel that a totalitarian regime of this type is all that unlikely. In fact, I was startled to realize that there were definite similarities between the Party and the government of George Bush. Here are a few examples (note, if you have not read the book and do not want any specific content revealed, please ignore the following): The second that I heard "victory gin" or "victory coffee", my thoughts drifted back to Bush's "freedom fries". On page 213, the book mentions that "... practices which had been long abandoned, in some cases for hundreds of years-imprisonment without trial ... torture to extract confessions ... - not only became common again, but were tolerated and even defended by people who considered themselves enlightened and progressive." Sound familiar? Further similarities include maintaining an "atmosphere of war", through the use of phrases such as "war on terror", and by keeping people on their toes using the homeland security level. My only complaint was that the plot was rather dry in some instances. For example, the chapters that Winston read in "The Book" were a little too lengthy in my opinion.. Still, this is definitely a brilliant piece of writing ... perhaps the best account of a dystopian society that I have ever encountered.
Date published: 2008-03-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book, scary future I thought this was a great book. I can write about it, but i think this clip will give you the best indication about what's in store: "Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly ONE word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. "
Date published: 2008-02-25
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Worst book i have ever read this has to be the worst book i have ever read.... every single page was boring... and the main character is so whiny and boring too.... the only reason i had to read the whole book was because i read it for school... i will never read this book ever again.
Date published: 2007-12-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sheer brilliance in a novel! Is it possible for civilization to become so advanced, that instead of advancing forward, society would have to backtrack? George Orwell certainly believed so. At the end of the 1940s, Orwell could see this conundrum taking place in the very near future; in fact, in 1984. That is exactly what he wrote the book Nineteen Eighty-Four about. In a world where thought is a crime and everyone’s every move is being scrutinized, our protagonist, Winston Smith, is slowly coming to terms with society’s lack of freedom. One’s every move must be done with care, as the smallest deviation from the norm could result in death by torture. With the advance of technology and the power of The Party, Orwell’s imagined world of 1984 is frightening yet revealing at the same time. In this futuristic society of Oceania where everyone desires equal wealth and freedom, The Party feels obliged to control the hierarchy of the nation. Through stunning and impressive logic, Orwell explains the three basic principles that The Party is justified to base society on: war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength. Orwell’s remarkable masterpiece of a tale raises and exposes some stunning ethical issues that the world faces today. He cleverly questions the nature of man, love, and the individual, and the right to power in modern society. Although he portrays a world that may seem far-fetched and unrealistic, it is shocking and unnerving at the number of resemblances the terrifying world of Nineteen Eighty-Four bears to our society. A must read for any mature teen over the age of 14, Nineteen Eighty-Four offers some fresh and realistic insights into the complex world of international politics today.
Date published: 2007-04-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing This book is full of wonderful imagery. 1984, was published is 1949, and was wat George Orwell thought what the future would look like. Powerful Governments and manipulation, was what he thought we had to look forward to. Was Orwell wrong? This has been a debate topic for many years. "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, 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." I think this book is simply amazing, and you shouldn't be turned off by its many pages!
Date published: 2006-08-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Prophetic Nightmare “It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath is ran…” Big Brother, Thought Police, Room 101. These are words that are commonly used in the English language, yet many are ignorant as to where they have come from. Without realizing it George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four has leeched into modern society. The words in question are not by themselves frightful but when used in the context of Nineteen Eighty-Four, they paint a horrifying picture. Big Brother is a seemingly omnipotent being who watches and enforces control over the citizens of Oceania. Thought Police is an organization that seeks out anti-government ideas and actions and brainwashes the citizens of Oceania to follow the beliefs of the masses. Room 101 is the room that reveals and holds your greatest fears. These words emphasize the terror in the novel of Nineteen Eighty-Four, the novel its self is the greatest work of George Orwell whoes dystopian novels remind us of the true cost of freedom. The World of 1984 is one of the most memorable things about the novel. The world is divided amongst three superpowers, Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia. These nations are ruled by totalitarian and seemingly fascist governments who flood their nations with lies and misinformation designed to manipulate the population. The three nations are seemingly always warring with each other, when in fact the war is a lie, an excuse to oppress the citizens and deny them freedoms. The novel itself is centered around three people, Winston Smith who works for the Ministry of Truth changing the news and history to suit the will of the leaders and Julia, a young woman who falls in love with Winston, despite the dangers that their love poses on them. Finally is O’Brian, a senior member of the Party who outwardly develops a friendship with Winston over their hatred of the ruling caste. The story is riveting and full of amusing parts and the twist at the end will shock and terrify you. The story of Nineteen Eighty-Four is not the shock that one gets from watching a horror movie, or seeing a sickening or gory scene. The horror in this book is the insidious horror of realizing that what you believe and stand for might be a lie. When we look a Nineteen Eighty-Four, we must look at what caused George Orwell to create such a epic tale. But before we can look any further, we must understand that George Orwell wrote this, not as a work of fiction, or even a warning. George Orwell wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four as a prophetic suggestion, not of what could happen, but what would happen. George Orwell’s other work speak for his predilection for writing novels about dystopia and oppression. His novel Burmese Days discusses the waning days of imperialism, and the power of the few over the many. One of his other, more famous works Animal Farm examined the roots of totalitarianism and the effects on a people, George Orwell always believed that a revolution would come whether it would be a Socialist/Communist Revolution from the workers, or a Fascist revolution from the leaders. He also believed the fact that no matter how well intentioned it would be, all revolutions would end in tyranny and oppression. George Orwell’s thought about revolution, tyranny and what the future would hold come together to form a cohesive and deceptively frightening novel about the year 1984. "You asked me once," said O'Brien, "what was in Room 101. I told you that you know the answer already. Everybody knows. The thing in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world."
Date published: 2006-08-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from so close 1984 is in some ways, so close to today's society: big brother, surveillance, fear, etc... I definitely recommend this book
Date published: 2006-06-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Frightening Similarities! Orwell wrote 1984 in 1948 and it was published shortly after. Over 50 years ago he wrote about a lot of technology that we use on a daily basis now. In this totalitarianist society the government controls everything you do... and THINK! Although that isn't the case for us today, much of what Orwell writes about is possible in the not so distant future. I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone who loves to read.
Date published: 2006-06-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Good Book! This book is the portrayal of what it truly means to be living in a totalitarianist society. It is highly descriptive throughout the entire novel. You can read it countless times and it will never occur to you that you have already read it. Orwell did a terrific job with this novel and I would recommend it to anyone!
Date published: 2006-06-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Mandatory Reading I won't gush on and on and on about the novel because I don't expect that's the most helpful information for prospective readers since it doesn't offer much in the way of critical commentary. Thus, in a nutshell, the reason why I consider this novel to be one of the best ever written is because of its chilling insight into human nature, particularly humanity's greedy obsession with power, and how technology holds the potential to bring out the worst in us. I also enjoyed Orwell's insights into how language can be manipulated to shape the way we think about the world and about ourselves. On the other side of things, his characters were memorable but didn't, in my opinion, offer as probing of an insight into the human psyche as much as I would have liked for a novel of this stature. While certainly worth reading, "Nineteen Eighty-Four" is more about the inate tendencies of humankind ("human nature") rather than the deliberate shaping of the human mind -- such as you're more likely to find in an author like Doestoevsky. This is mandatory reading for everyone, but especially for enthusiasts of dystopia.
Date published: 2006-05-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply buy it! George Orwell's 1984 has a truely timeless quality and accordingly captivates generations. His distopia is not set on distant planets or with enforced with far fetched technology (Big Brother), but rather he creates a political spectrum to which, today, we seem to moving towards. Orwell's uses his profound acumen to exam not only our political world and societal values but also the human condition (especailly rebellion). After reading this book once, you will either be thankful you purchased it, or disappointed you must return it. Don't force youself to be disapointed.
Date published: 2006-02-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Chilling & Epic Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, the satire that made him one of the most influential in our planets history. The story is of Winston, a man ridden with hate for the governing Big Brother and attempts to rebel, but is later seized, holded, tortured and converted. A story of the affects of totalialism and that what a frightening world it would be if we lived like this, yet when comparing it to our world, there are similarities. The quote I live by is Cogito ergo sum meaning I think; therefore, I Am and this novel changed the way I observe life today and how maybe that quote can be changed. Great book, not the greatest novel ever written , but great in its own right for sure.
Date published: 2005-12-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Newspeak Truly amazing, best distopia ever.
Date published: 2005-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING This novel was sugested to me for a grade 10 english asignment, and I cannot thank my teacher enough. I am currently stopping by the store so I can purchase a copy for myself, I believe this is the best novel I have EVER read and I can see myself refering back to this novel throughout my education years in essays and everyday work. An amazing read and I would suggest it to anyone who enjoys being locked into a novel front to back.
Date published: 2005-10-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from DoubleThink don't think twice, this book is pretty damn good, and if u read it u'll know what the title of this review means.
Date published: 2005-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Book Ever! 1984 changed the way I think about society. The underlying message of the book is so profound. We are brainwashed by our goverment. It inspired so many other books and so many other ideas, it really is one of the greatest books ever written!
Date published: 2005-05-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Master of Minds This book is great anyone who says otherwise should be beaten with a stick. Also compair this novel to the united states...Very interesting.
Date published: 2003-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Big Brother Is Watching You. This classic novel, written in the late 1940s, is deeply imaginative and intriguing. Orwell’s insight into politics and human nature is brilliantly expressed throughout the novel, which vividly depicts a society in which people’s lives are monitored and controlled to an unprecedented degree. Many parallels can be drawn between this “futuristic” government structure and several present-day political regimes. Orwell’s ideas are clearly articulated and well expressed, while the story itself thoroughly engages the reader. Many of the concepts introduced in this novel have become embedded into the collective conscience of western nations. This novel should be taught in Canadian classrooms.
Date published: 2003-03-24
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointing and utterly horrid I can't think of enough negative adjectives to describe the level sheer disgust I felt after finishing this wretched novel. Not only was it horribly long and drawn out (Part 1 serves no purpose), Orwell failed miserably in creating memorable and or simply interesting characters. After reading Animal Farm, a relatively interesting and insightful read, 1984 was an utter disappointment. In sum, I would rather throw myself onto a pit of flaming spikes than look at this book ever again. It was a complete waste of time and I regret the time I spent torturing myself with its presence.
Date published: 2003-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from intriuging This novel explores the unexplored, it demonstrates the power of a dictatorship and, at the time, it entered the futuristic barrier rarely crossed. Orwell exemplifies the human condition and shows our frail state of mind.
Date published: 2002-07-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 1984 Orwell's 1984 was an insight as to how a religious parallel could be used to control an entire world. Good job George.
Date published: 2002-05-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Future Today 1984 is the best book of political satire ive read to date. The most astonishing fact about the book is the fact that it was written in 1948. The populairity of this classic will serve as a model for all who wish to write a politically motivated novel.
Date published: 2001-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 1984 this is the most amazing book on totalitarianism. The portrail of the future of a total command economy is chilling. This book combines fact with fiction to bring life to a book based on the beleives of one man, George Orwell. I would highly recomend this book for those who want more reality instiled in their minds.
Date published: 2001-06-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Thought-Provoking Scare "'If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever'" (230). The novel, 1984, portrays the future our world beholds with a totalitarian regime. In Spain, Germany, and Russia, Orwell had seen for himself the peril of absolute political authority in an age of advanced technology; he illustrated that peril harshly in 1984. Along with Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, Orwell's book is the most famous member of the genre of the distopian novel. In a utopian novel, the writer aims to portray the perfect human society; in a novel of negative utopia, the goal is the exact opposite--to show the worst human society imaginable, and to convince readers to avoid any path that might lead toward such societal degradation. Orwell successfully demonstrates the darkest of lives in that of Winston Smith’s, and captures the reader for hours upon end, pondering the effects of our world today and what our media consumed society will soon lead to.
Date published: 2001-04-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best book in history! This is the epitomy of political novels. The symbolism, ideas and meanings in this novel are unsurpassed. The purpose of the novel had, has and always will touch the core of human civilisation. It serves as a warning and as a testament to what could have been or could happen if we are not vigilant. It will recieve my vote as being the best book I have ever read.
Date published: 2001-04-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from a classic masterpiece 1984 is by far and large my favourite book. Its one book I never get tired of reading, and everytime I do I see things differently. It does start off and waddle through slowly in the middle but the ending is terrific and leaves you thinking - thoroughly ensconced in the world of 1984. And seems like in todays world War IS Peace (if you make other people fight wars), Freedom is Slavery (how much freedom is freedom?), and Ignorance is strength (US election anyone?).. Big Brother is everywhere. Those telescreens can't be too far away. I could go on for ages. anyways, to conclude, 1984 is a must buy/read.
Date published: 2000-12-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Nineteen Eighty-Four Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell is prbably the best example of political drama in literature today. It is truly the most shocking, insightful, daring book of the 20th century. For those audiences who can understnad Orwell's meaning this is a must read!War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is strength
Date published: 2000-10-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So Detailed That It's Scary! When I first picked up this book, I found it hard to grasp. Newspeak, Big Brother, doublethink... what were these? But as the story progressed I found myself getting more and more interested in the tale of Winston Smith- particularly because his girlfriend bore the same name as I. I must confess that the main reason I picked up 1984 was not because it was a classic, and there wasn't even a school assignment. It was because someone told me that the name of the new program Big Brother was from the novel 1984, which piqued my curiosity. Could there really be an omniscient being, and how did he operate? I have read 1984 and these two questions have been answered. George Orwell's tale of omnipresent government and "reality control" scared the living daylights out of me because every word was so carefully chosen, so precise in its purpose, that I could almost feel Oceania around me, controlling its inhabitants' every move. I urge you to read this book. Entire chapters have been devoted to descriptive passages in 1984, a story that any reader will always remember.
Date published: 2000-07-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 1984 I was especially intrigued with Orwell's prophecy that the government would control the masses with pornography and support LOW class prostitution!
Date published: 2000-02-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A lasting impression A masterpiece of words conformed to thoughts and turned into sentances on a page. Everything about this book, from the writing style to the way in which the world the plot revolves around is beutifully planed out. The characters are realistic even when set in a fantastical world, there is a true believabillity to the story which rings home when you think about WWII or what's happening with the politics in China. Truely an inspiring novel and a warning never to be forgotten. -steven
Date published: 2000-01-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Even more chilling than you remember The famous story of man's power over man taken to its ultimate (and horrifyingly logical) limits. In an England where the Fascists won WWII, freedom is what you get when you give yourself to the Party, body, soul and -- finally -- mind. What makes it so memorable is the plausibility of it all -- you can't find a single psychological misstep anywhere, no comforting sense that you, the reader, would have behaved any differently. It may not be quite as immediately relevant as it was, say, ten years or so ago, but it still serves as a grim warning against intellectual complacency.
Date published: 1999-06-19

Read from the Book

ONEIt was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, 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.The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats. At one end of it a colored poster, too large for indoor display, had been tacked to the wall. It depicted simply an enormous face, more than a meter wide: the face of a man of about forty-five, with a heavy black mustache and ruggedly handsome features. Winston made for the stairs. It was no use trying the lift. Even at the best of times it was seldom working, and at present the electric current was cut off during daylight hours. It was part of the economy drive in preparation for Hate Week. The flat was seven flights up, and Winston, who was thirty-nine, and had a varicose ulcer above his right ankle, went slowly, resting several times on the way. On each landing, opposite the lift shaft, the poster with the enormous face gazed from the wall. It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran.Inside the flat a fruity voice was reading out a list of figures which had something to do with the production of pig iron. The voice came from an oblong metal plaque like a dulled mirror which formed part of the surface of the right-hand wall. Winston turned a switch and the voice sank somewhat, though the words were still distinguishable. The instrument (the telescreen, it was called) could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely. He moved over to the window: a smallish, frail figure, the meagerness of his body merely emphasized by the blue overalls which were the uni- form of the Party. His hair was very fair, his face naturally sanguine, his skin roughened by coarse soap and blunt razor blades and the cold of the winter that had just ended.Outside, even through the shut window pane, the world looked cold. Down in the street little eddies of wind were whirling dust and torn paper into spirals, and though the sun was shining and the sky a harsh blue, there seemed to be no color in anything except the posters that were plastered every- where. The black-mustachio’d face gazed down from every commanding corner. There was one on the house front immediately opposite. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption said, while the dark eyes looked deep into Winston’s own. Down at street level another poster, torn at one corner, flapped fitfully in the wind, alternately covering  and  uncovering the single word INGSOC. In the far distance a helicopter skimmed down between the roofs, hovered for an instant like a blue-bottle, and darted away again with a curving flight. It was the Police Patrol, snooping into people’s windows. The patrols did not matter, however. Only the Thought Police mattered.Behind Winston’s back the voice from the telescreen was still babbling away about pig iron and the overfulfillment of the Ninth Three-Year Plan. The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it; moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live— did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.Winston kept his back turned to the telescreen. It was safer; though, as he well knew, even a back can be revealing. A kilometer away the Ministry of Truth, his place of work, towered vast and white above the grimy landscape. This, he thought with a sort of vague distaste—this was London, chief city of Airstrip One, itself the third most populous of the provinces of Oceania. He tried to squeeze out some childhood memory that should tell him whether London had always been quite like this. Were there always these vistas of rotting nineteenth- century houses, their sides shored up with balks of timber, their windows patched with cardboard and their roofs with corrugated iron, their crazy garden walls sagging in all directions? And the bombed sites where the plaster dust swirled in the air and the willow herb straggled over the heaps of rubble; and the places where the bombs had cleared a larger path and there had sprung up sordid colonies of wooden dwellings like chicken houses? But it was no use, he could not remember: nothing remained of his childhood except a series of bright-lit tableaux, occurring against no background and mostly unintelligible.The Ministry of Truth—Minitrue, in Newspeak*—was startlingly different from any other object in sight. It was an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete, soaring up, terrace after terrace, three hundred meters into the air. From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party:WAR IS PEACE FREEDOM IS SLAVERYIGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.The Ministry of Truth contained, it was said, three thousand rooms above ground level, and corresponding ramifications below. Scattered about London there were just three other buildings of similar appearance and size. So completely did they dwarf the surrounding architecture that from the roof of Victory Mansions you could see all four of them simultaneously. They were the homes of the four Ministries between which the entire apparatus of government was divided: the Ministry of Truth, which concerned itself with news, entertainment, education, and the fine arts; the Ministry of Peace, which concerned itself with war; the Ministry of Love, which maintained law and order; and the Ministry of Plenty, which was responsible for economic affairs. Their names, in Newspeak: Minitrue, Minipax, Miniluv, and Miniplenty.The Ministry of Love was the really frightening one. There were no windows in it at all. Winston had never been inside the Ministry of Love, nor within half a kilometer of it. It was a place impossible to enter except on official business, and then only by penetrating through a maze of barbed-wire entanglements, steel doors, and hidden machine-gun nests. Even the streets leading up to its outer barriers were roamed by gorilla-faced guards in black uniforms, armed with jointed truncheons.Winston turned round abruptly. He had set his features into the expression of quiet optimism which it was advisable to wear when facing the telescreen. He crossed the room into the tiny kitchen. By leaving the Ministry at this time of day he had sacrificed his lunch in the canteen, and he was aware that there was no food in the kitchen except a hunk of dark-colored bread which had got to be saved for tomorrow’s breakfast. He took down from the shelf a bottle of colorless liquid with a plain white label marked VICTORY GIN. It gave off a sickly, oily smell, as of Chinese rice-spirit. Winston poured out nearly a teacupful, nerved himself for a shock, and gulped it down like a dose of medicine.Instantly his face turned scarlet and the water ran out of his eyes. The stuff was like nitric acid, and moreover, in swallow- ing it one had the sensation of being hit on the back of the head with a rubber club. The next moment, however, the burning in his belly died down and the world began to look more cheerful. He took a cigarette from a crumpled packet marked VICTORY CIGARETTES and incautiously held it upright, where- upon the tobacco fell out onto the floor. With the next he was more successful. He went back to the living room and sat down at a small table that stood to the left of the telescreen. From the table drawer he took out a penholder, a bottle of ink, and a thick, quarto-sized blank book with a red back and a marbled cover.For some reason the telescreen in the living room was in an unusual position. Instead of being placed, as was normal, in the end wall, where it could command the whole room, it was in the longer wall, opposite the window. To one side of it there was a shallow alcove in which Winston was now sitting and which, when the flats were built, had probably been intended to hold bookshelves. By sitting in the alcove, and keeping well back, Winston was able to remain outside the range of the telescreen, so far as sight went. He could be heard, of course, but so long as he stayed in his present position he could not be seen. It was partly the unusual geography of the room that had suggested to him the thing that he was now about to do.But it had also been suggested by the book that he had just taken out of the drawer. It was a peculiarly beautiful book. Its smooth creamy paper, a little yellowed by age, was of a kind that had not been manufactured for at least forty years past. He could guess, however, that the book was much older than that. He had seen it lying in the window of a frowsy little junk shop in a slummy quarter of the town (just what quarter he did not now remember) and had been stricken immediately by an overwhelming desire to possess it. Party members were sup- posed not to go into ordinary shops (“dealing on the free mar- ket,” it was called), but the rule was not strictly kept, because there were various things such as shoelaces and razor blades which it was impossible to get hold of in any other way. He had given a quick glance up and down the street and then had slipped inside and bought the book for two dollars fifty. At the time he was not conscious of wanting it for any particular pur- pose. He had carried it guiltily home in his brief case. Even with nothing written in it, it was a compromising possession. The thing that he was about to do was to open a diary. This was not illegal (nothing was illegal, since there were no longer any laws), but if detected it was reasonably certain that it would be punished by death, or at least by twenty-five years in a forced-labor camp. Winston fitted a nib into the penholder and sucked it to get the grease off. The pen was an archaic in- strument, seldom used even for signatures, and he had pro- cured one, furtively and with some difficulty, simply because of a feeling that the beautiful creamy paper deserved to be written on with a real nib instead of being scratched with an ink pencil. Actually he was not used to writing by hand. Apart from very short notes, it was usual to dictate everything into the speakwrite, which was of course impossible for his present purpose. He dipped the pen into the ink and then faltered for just a second. A tremor had gone through his bowels. To mark the paper was the decisive act. In small clumsy letters he wrote: April 4th, 1984.He sat back. A sense of complete helplessness had de- scended upon him. To begin with, he did not know with any certainty that this was 1984. It must be round about that date, since he was fairly sure that his age was thirty-nine, and he believed that he had been born in 1944 or 1945; but it was never possible nowadays to pin down any date within a year or two.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.For some time he sat gazing stupidly at the paper. The telescreen had changed over to strident military music. It was curious that he seemed not merely to have lost the power of expressing himself, but even to have forgotten what it was that he had originally intended to say. For weeks past he had been making ready for this moment, and it had never crossed his mind that anything would be needed except courage. The actual writing would be easy. All he had to do was to transfer to paper the interminable restless monologue that had been run- ning inside his head, literally for years. At this moment, how- ever, even the monologue had dried up. Moreover, his varicose ulcer had begun itching unbearably. He dared not scratch it, because if he did so it always became inflamed. The seconds were ticking by. He was conscious of nothing except the blankness of the page in front of him, the itching of the skin above his ankle, the blaring of the music, and a slight booziness caused by the gin.Suddenly he began writing in sheer panic, only imperfectly aware of what he was setting down. His small but childish handwriting straggled up and down the page, shedding first its capital letters and finally even its full stops:April 4th, 1984. Last night to the flicks. All war films. One very good one of a ship full of refugees being bombed somewhere in the Mediterranean. Audience much amused by shots of a great huge fat man trying to swim away with a helicopter after him. first you saw him wallowing along in the water like a porpoise, then you saw him through the helicopters gunsights, then he was full of holes and the sea round him turned pink and he sank as suddenly as though the holes had let in the water. audience shouting with laughter when he sank. then you saw a lifeboat full of children with a helicop- ter hovering over it. there was a middleaged woman might have been a jewess sitting up in the bow with a little boy about three years old in her arms. little boy screaming with fright and hiding his head between her breasts as if he was trying to burrow right into her and the woman putting her arms around him and comfort- ing him although she was blue with fright herself. all the time covering him up as much as possible as if she thought her arms could keep the bullets off him. then the helicopter planted a 20 kilo bomb in among them terrific flash and the boat went all to matchwood. then there was a wonderful shot of a childs arm going up up up right up into the air a helicopter with a camera in its nose must have followed it up and there was a lot of ap- plause from the party seats but a woman down in the prole part of the house suddenly started kicking up a fuss and shouting they didnt oughter of showed it not in front of the kids they didnt it aint right not in front of kids it aint until the police turned her turned her out i dont suppose anything happened to her nobody cares what the proles say typical prole reaction they never—Winston stopped writing, partly because he was suffering from cramp. He did not know what had made him pour out this stream of rubbish. But the curious thing was that while he was doing so a totally different memory had clarified itself in his mind, to the point where he almost felt equal to writing it down. It was, he now realized, because of this other incident that he had suddenly decided to come home and begin the diary today.It had happened that morning at the Ministry, if anything so nebulous could be said to happen.It was nearly eleven hundred, and in the Records Department, where Winston worked, they were dragging the chairs out of the cubicles and grouping them in the center of the hall, opposite the big telescreen, in preparation for the Two Minutes Hate. Winston was just taking his place in one of the mid- dle rows when two people whom he knew by sight, but had never spoken to, came unexpectedly into the room. One of them was a girl whom he often passed in the corridors. He did not know her name, but he knew that she worked in the Fiction Department. Presumably—since he had sometimes seen her with oily hands and carrying a spanner—she had some mechanical job on one of the novel-writing machines. She was a bold-looking girl of about twenty-seven, with thick dark hair, a freckled face, and swift, athletic movements. A narrow scarlet sash, emblem of the Junior Anti-Sex League, was wound several times around the waist of her overalls, just tightly enough to bring out the shapeliness of her hips. Win- ston had disliked her from the very first moment of seeing her. He knew the reason. It was because of the atmosphere of hockey fields and cold baths and community hikes and general clean-mindedness which she managed to carry about with her. He disliked nearly all women, and especially the young and pretty ones. It was always the women, and above all the young ones, who were  the most bigoted adherents of the Party, the swallowers of slogans, the amateur spies and nosers-out of unorthodoxy. But this particular girl gave him the impression of being more dangerous than most. Once when they passed in the corridor she had given him a quick sidelong glance which seemed to pierce right into him and for a moment had filled him with black terror. The idea had even crossed his mind that she might be an agent of the Thought Police. That, it was true, was very unlikely. Still, he continued to feel a peculiar uneasiness, which had fear mixed up in it as well as hostility, whenever she was anywhere near him.The other person was a man named O’Brien, a member of the Inner Party and holder of some post so important and remote that Winston had only a dim idea of its nature. A mo- mentary hush passed over the group  of people  round the chairs as they saw the black overalls of an Inner Party member approaching. O’Brien was a large, burly man with a thick neck and a coarse, humorous, brutal face. In spite of his for- midable appearance he had a certain charm of manner. He had a trick of resettling his spectacles on his nose which was curiously disarming—in some indefinable way, curiously civi- lized. It was a gesture which, if anyone had still thought in such terms, might have recalled an eighteenth-century noble- man offering his snuffbox. Winston had seen O’Brien perhaps a dozen times in almost as many years. He felt deeply drawn to him, and not solely because he was intrigued by the con- trast between O’Brien’s urbane manner and his prizefighter’s physique. Much more it was because of a secretly held belief—or perhaps not even a belief, merely a hope—that O’Brien’s political orthodoxy was not perfect. Something in his face suggested it irresistibly. And again, perhaps it was not even unorthodoxy that was written in his face, but simply intelligence. But at any rate he had the appearance of being a person that you could talk to, if somehow you could cheat the telescreen and get him alone. Winston had never made the smallest effort to verify this guess; indeed, there was no way of doing so. At this moment O’Brien glanced at his wrist- watch, saw that it was nearly eleven hundred, and evidently decided to stay in the Records Department until the Two Min- utes Hate was over. He took a chair in the same row as Win- ston, a couple of places away. A small, sandy-haired woman who worked in the next cubicle to Winston was between them. The girl with dark hair was sitting immediately behind.The next moment a hideous, grinding screech, as of some monstrous machine running without oil, burst from the big telescreen at the end of the room. It was a noise that set one’s teeth on edge and bristled the hair at the back of one’s neck. The Hate had started.As usual, the face of Emmanuel Goldstein, the Enemy of the People, had flashed onto the screen. There were hisses here and there among the audience. The little sandy-haired woman gave a squeak of mingled fear and disgust. Goldstein was the renegade and backslider who once, long ago (how long ago, nobody quite remembered), had been one of the leading figures of the Party, almost on a level with Big Brother himself, and then had engaged in counterrevolutionary activities, had been condemned to death, and had mysteri- ously escaped and disappeared. The program of the Two Minutes Hate varied from day to day, but there was none in which Goldstein was not the principal figure. He was the pri- mal traitor, the earliest defiler of the Party’s purity. All subse- quent crimes against the Party, all treacheries, acts of sabotage, heresies, deviations, sprang directly out of his teaching. Somewhere or other he was still alive and hatching his conspiracies: perhaps somewhere beyond the sea, under the protection of his foreign paymasters; perhaps even—so it was occasionally rumored—in some hiding place in Oceania itself.Winston’s diaphragm was constricted. He could never see the face of Goldstein without a painful mixture of emotions. It was a lean Jewish face, with a great fuzzy aureole of white hair and a small goatee beard—a clever face, and yet some- how inherently despicable, with a kind of senile silliness in the long thin nose near the end of which a pair of spectacles was perched. It resembled the face of a sheep, and the voice, too, had a sheeplike quality. Goldstein was delivering his usual venomous attack upon the doctrines of the Party—an at- tack so exaggerated and perverse that a child should have been able to see through it, and yet just plausible enough to fill one with an alarmed feeling that other people, less level- headed than oneself, might be taken in by it. He was abusing Big Brother, he was denouncing the dictatorship of the Party, he was demanding the immediate conclusion of peace with Eurasia, he was advocating freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of thought, he was cry- ing hysterically that the Revolution had been betrayed—and all this in rapid polysyllabic speech which was a sort of par- ody of the habitual style of the orators of the Party, and even contained Newspeak words: more Newspeak words, indeed, than any Party member would normally use in real life. And all the while, lest one should be in any doubt as to the reality which Goldstein’s specious claptrap covered, behind his head on the telescreen there marched the endless columns of the Eurasian army—row after row of solid-looking men with ex- pressionless Asiatic faces, who swam up to the surface of the screen and vanished, to be replaced by others exactly similar. The dull, rhythmic tramp of the soldiers’ boots formed the background to Goldstein’s bleating voice.Before the Hate had proceeded for thirty seconds, uncontrollable exclamations of rage were breaking out from half the people in the room. The self-satisfied sheeplike face on the screen, and the terrifying power of the Eurasian army behind it, were too much to be borne; besides, the sight or even the thought of Goldstein produced fear and anger automatically. He was an object of hatred more constant than either Eurasia or Eastasia, since when Oceania was at war with one of these powers it was generally at peace with the other. But what was strange was that although Goldstein was hated and despised by everybody, although every day, and a thousand times a day, on platforms, on the telescreen, in newspapers, in books, his the- ories were refuted, smashed, ridiculed, held up to the general gaze for the pitiful rubbish that they were—in spite of all this, his influence never seemed to grow less. Always there were fresh dupes waiting to be seduced by him. A day never passed when spies and saboteurs acting under his directions were not unmasked by the Thought Police. He was the commander of a vast shadowy army, an underground network of conspirators dedicated to the overthrow of the State. The Brotherhood, its name was supposed to be. There were also whispered stories of a terrible book, a compendium of all the heresies, of which Goldstein was the author and which circulated clandestinely here and there. It was a book without a title. People referred to it, if at all, simply as the book. But one knew of such things only through vague rumors. Neither the Brotherhood nor the book was a subject that any ordinary Party member would mention if there was a way of avoiding it.In its second minute the Hate rose to a frenzy. People were leaping up and down in their places and shouting at the tops of their voices in an effort to drown the maddening bleating voice that came from the screen. The little  sandy-haired woman had turned bright pink, and her mouth was opening and shutting like that of a landed fish. Even O’Brien’s heavy face was flushed. He was sitting very straight in his chair, his powerful chest swelling and quivering as though he were standing up to the assault of a wave. The dark-haired girl be- hind Winston had begun crying out “Swine! Swine! Swine!” and suddenly she picked up a heavy Newspeak dictionary and flung it at the screen. It struck Goldstein’s nose and bounced off; the voice continued inexorably. In a lucid moment Win- ston found that he was shouting with the others and kicking his heel violently against the rung of his chair. The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretense was always unnec- essary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp. Thus, at one moment Winston’s hatred was not turned against Gold- stein at all, but, on the contrary, against Big Brother, the Party, and the Thought Police; and at such moments his heart went out to the lonely, derided heretic on the screen, sole guardian of truth and sanity in a world of lies. And yet the very next instant he was at one with the people about him, and all that was said of Goldstein seemed to him to be true. At those moments his secret loathing of Big Brother changed into adoration, and Big Brother seemed to tower up, an invincible, fearless pro- tector, standing like a rock against the hordes of Asia, and Goldstein, in spite of his isolation, his helplessness, and the doubt that hung about his very existence, seemed like some sinister enchanter, capable by the mere power of his voice of wrecking the structure of civilization.It was even possible, at moments, to switch one’s hatred this way or that by a voluntary act. Suddenly, by the sort of violent effort with which one wrenches one’s head away from the pillow in a nightmare, Winston succeeded in transferring his hatred from the face on the screen to the dark-haired girl behind him. Vivid, beautiful hallucinations flashed through his mind. He would flog her to death with a rubber truncheon. He would tie her naked to a stake and shoot her full of arrows like Saint Sebastian. He would ravish her and cut her throat at the mo- ment of climax. Better than before, moreover, he realized why it was that he hated her. He hated her because she was young and pretty and sexless, because he wanted to go to bed with her and would never do so, because round her sweet supple waist, which seemed to ask you to encircle it with your arm, there was only the odious scarlet sash, aggressive symbol of chastity.The Hate rose to its climax. The voice of Goldstein had become an actual sheep’s bleat, and for an instant the face changed into that of a sheep. Then the sheep-face melted into the figure of a Eurasian soldier who seemed to be advancing, huge and terrible, his submachine gun roaring and seeming to spring out of the surface of the screen, so that some of the people in the front row actually flinched backwards in their seats. But in the same moment, drawing a deep sigh of relief from everybody, the hostile figure melted into the face of Big Brother, black-haired, black-mustachio’d, full of power and mysterious calm, and so vast that it almost filled up the screen. Nobody heard what Big Brother was saying. It was merely a few words of encouragement, the sort of words that are uttered in the din of battle, not distinguishable individually but restoring confidence by the fact of being spoken. Then the face of Big Brother faded away again, and instead the three slogans of the Party stood out in bold capitals:WAR IS PEACE FREEDOM IS SLAVERYIGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.But the face of Big Brother seemed to persist for several seconds on the screen, as though the impact that it had made on everyone’s eyeballs were too vivid to wear off immediately. The little sandy-haired woman had flung herself forward over the back of the chair in front of her. With a tremulous murmur that sounded like “My Savior!” she extended her arms toward the screen. Then she buried her face in her hands. It was ap- parent that she was uttering a prayer.At this moment the entire group of people broke into a deep, slow, rhythmical chant of “B-B! . . . B-B! . . . B-B!” over and over again, very slowly, with a long pause between the first “B” and the second—a heavy, murmurous sound, some- how curiously savage, in the background of which one seemed to hear the stamp of naked feet and the throbbing of tom-toms. For perhaps as much as thirty seconds they kept it up. It was a refrain that was often heard in moments of over- whelming emotion. Partly it was a sort of hymn to the wisdom and majesty of Big Brother, but still more it was an act of self- hypnosis, a deliberate drowning of consciousness by means of rhythmic noise. Winston’s entrails seemed to grow cold. In theTwo Minutes Hate he could not help sharing in the general delirium, but this subhuman chanting of “B-B! . . . B-B!” al- ways filled him with horror. Of course he chanted with the rest: it was impossible to do otherwise. To dissemble your feelings, to control your face, to do what everyone else was doing, was an instinctive reaction. But there was a space of a couple of seconds during which the expression in his eyes might conceivably have betrayed him. And it was exactly at this moment that the significant thing happened—if, indeed, it did happen.Momentarily he caught O’Brien’s eye. O’Brien had stood up. He had taken off his spectacles and was in the act of re- settling them on his nose with his characteristic gesture. But there was a fraction of a second when their eyes met, and for as long as it took to happen Winston knew—yes, he knew!— that O’Brien was thinking the same thing as himself. An un- mistakable message had passed. It was as though their two minds had opened and the thoughts were flowing from one into the other through their eyes. “I am with you,” O’Brien seemed to be saying to him. “I know precisely what you are feeling. I know all about your contempt, your hatred, your disgust. But don’t worry, I am on your side!” And then the flash of intelligence was gone, and O’Brien’s face was as in- scrutable as everybody else’s.That was all, and he was already uncertain whether it had happened. Such incidents never had any sequel. All that they did was to keep alive in him the belief, or hope, that others be- sides himself were the enemies of the Party. Perhaps the rumors of vast underground conspiracies were true after all—perhaps the Brotherhood really existed! It was impossible, in spite of the endless arrests and confessions and execu- tions, to be sure that the Brotherhood was not simply a myth. Some days he believed in it, some days not. There was no evidence, only fleeting glimpses that might mean anything or nothing: snatches of overheard conversation, faint scribbles on lavatory walls—once, even, when two strangers met, a small movement of the hands which had looked as though it might be a signal of recognition. It was all guesswork: very likely he had imagined everything. He had gone back to his cubicle without looking at O’Brien again. The idea of follow- ing up their momentary contact hardly crossed his mind. It would have been inconceivably dangerous even if he had known how to set about doing it. For a second, two seconds, they had exchanged an equivocal glance, and that was the end of the story. But even that was a memorable event, in the locked loneliness in which one had to live.Winston roused himself and sat up straighter. He let out a belch. The gin was rising from his stomach.His eyes refocused on the page. He discovered that while he sat helplessly musing he had also been writing, as though by automatic action. And it was no longer the same cramped aw k- ward handwriting as before. His pen had slid voluptuously over the smooth paper, printing in large neat capitals—DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER DOWN WITH BIG BROTHERover and over again, filling half a page.He could not help feeling a twinge of panic. It was absurd, since the writing of those particular words was not more dan- gerous than the initial act of opening the diary; but for a mo- ment he was tempted to tear out the spoiled pages and abandon the enterprise altogether.But he did not do so, however, because he knew that it was useless. Whether he wrote DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER, or whether he refrained from writing it, made no difference. Whether he went on with the diary, or whether he did not go on with it, made no difference. The Thought Police would get him just the same. He had committed—would still have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper—the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you.It was always at night—the arrests invariably happened at night. The sudden jerk out of sleep, the rough hand shaking your shoulder, the lights glaring in your eyes, the ring of hard faces round the bed. In the vast majority of cases there was no trial, no report of the arrest. People simply disappeared, always during the night. Your name was removed from the reg- isters, every record of everything you had ever done was wiped out, your one-time existence was denied and then forgotten. You were abolished, annihilated: vaporized was the usual word.For a moment he was seized by a kind of hysteria. He began writing in a hurried untidy scrawl:theyll shoot me i dont care theyll shoot me in the back of the neck i dont care down with big brother they al- ways shoot you in the back of the neck i dont care down with big brother—He sat back in his chair, slightly ashamed of himself, and laid down his pen. The next moment he started violently. There was a knocking at his door.Already! He sat as still as a mouse, in the futile hope that whoever it was might go away after a single attempt. But no, the knocking was repeated. The worst thing of all would be to delay. His heart was thumping like a drum, but his face, from long habit, was probably expressionless. He got up and moved heavily toward the door. IIAs he put his hand to the doorknob Winston saw that he had left the diary open on the table. DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER was written all over it, in letters almost big enough to be legible across the room. It was an inconceivably stupid thing to have done. But, he realized, even in his panic he had not wanted to smudge the creamy paper by shutting the book while the ink was wet.He drew in his breath and opened the door. Instantly a warm wave of relief flowed through him. A colorless, crushed-looking woman, with wispy hair and a lined face, was standing outside.“Oh, comrade,” she began in a dreary, whining sort of voice, “I thought I heard you come in. Do you think you could come across and have a look at our kitchen sink? It’s got blocked up and—”It was Mrs. Parsons, the wife of a neighbor on the same floor. (“Mrs.” was a word somewhat discountenanced by the Party—you were supposed to call everyone “comrade”—but with some women one used it instinctively.) She was a woman of about thirty, but looking much older. One had the impression that there was dust in the creases of her face. Winston followed her down the passage. These amateur repair jobs were an almost daily irritation. Victory Mansions were old flats, built in 1930 or thereabouts, and were falling to pieces. The plaster flaked constantly from ceilings and walls, the pipes burst in every hard frost, the roof leaked whenever there was snow, the heating system was usually running at half steam when it was not closed down altogether from motives of economy. Repairs, except what you could do for yourself, had to be sanctioned by remote committees which were liable to hold up even the mending of a window pane for two years.“Of course it’s only because Tom isn’t home,” said Mrs. Parsons vaguely.The Parsonses’s flat was bigger than Winston’s, and dingy in a different way. Everything had a battered, trampled-on look, as though the place had just been visited by some large violent animal. Games impedimenta—hockey sticks, boxing gloves, a burst football, a pair of sweaty shorts turned inside out—lay all over the floor, and on the table there was a litter of dirty dishes and dog-eared exercise books. On the walls were scarlet banners of the Youth League and the Spies, and a full-sized poster of Big Brother. There was the usual boiled- cabbage smell, common to the whole building, but it was shot through by a sharper reek of sweat, which—one knew this at the first sniff, though it was hard to say how—was the sweat of some person not present at the moment. In another room someone with a comb and a piece of toilet paper was trying to keep tune with the military music which was still issuing from the telescreen.“It’s the children,” said Mrs. Parsons, casting a half- apprehensive glance at the door. “They haven’t been out today. And of course—”She had a habit of breaking off her sentences in the middle. The kitchen sink was full nearly to the brim with filthy gr e e n- ish water which smelt worse than ever of cabbage. Winston knelt down and examined the angle-joint of the pipe. He hated using his hands, and he hated bending down, which was always liable to start him coughing. Mrs. Parsons looked on helplessly. “Of course if Tom was home he’d put it right in a moment,” she said. “He loves anything like that. He’s ever so good with his hands, Tom is.”Parsons was Winston’s fellow employee at the Ministry of Truth. He was a fattish but active man of paralyzing stupidity, a mass of imbecile enthusiasms—one of those completely un- questioning, devoted drudges on whom, more even than on the Thought Police, the stability of the Party depended. At thirty-five he had just been unwillingly evicted from the Youth League, and before graduating into the Youth League he had managed to stay on in the Spies for a year beyond the statutory age. At the Ministry he was employed in some subordinate post for which intelligence was not required, but on the other hand he was a leading figure on the Sports Committee and all the other committees engaged in organizing community hikes, spontaneous demonstrations, saving campaigns, and voluntary activities generally. He would inform you with quiet pride, between whiffs of his pipe, that he had put in an appearance at the Community Center every evening for the past four years. An overpowering smell of sweat, a sort of unconscious testimony to the strenuousness of his life, followed him about wherever he went, and even remained behind him after he had gone.“Have you got a spanner?” said Winston, fiddling with the nut on the angle-joint.“A spanner,” said Mrs. Parsons, immediately becoming invertebrate. “I don’t know, I’m sure. Perhaps the children—”There was a trampling of boots and another blast on the comb as the children charged into the living room. Mrs. Par- sons brought the spanner. Winston let out the water and dis- gustedly removed the clot of human hair that had blocked up the pipe. He cleaned his fingers as best he could in the cold water from the tap and went back into the other room.“Up with your hands!” yelled a savage voice.A handsome, tough-looking boy of nine had popped up from behind the table and was menacing him with a toy auto- matic pistol, while his small sister, about two years younger, made the same gesture with a fragment of wood. Both of them were dressed in the blue shorts, gray shirts, and red necker- chiefs which were the uniform of the Spies. Winston raised his hands above his head, but with an uneasy feeling, so vicious was the boy’s demeanor, that it was not altogether a game.“You’re a traitor!” yelled the boy. “You’re a thought-criminal! You’re a Eurasian spy! I’ll shoot you, I’ll vaporize you, I’ll send you to the salt mines!”Suddenly they were both leaping around him, shouting “Traitor!” and “Thought-criminal!”, the little girl imitating her brother in every movement. It was  somehow slightly frightening, like the gamboling of tiger cubs which will soon grow up into man-eaters. There was a sort of calculating ferocity in the boy’s eye, a quite evident desire to hit or kick Winston and a consciousness of being very nearly big enough to do so. It was a good job it was not a real pistol he was holding, Winston thought.Mrs. Parsons’s eyes flitted nervously from Winston to the children, and back again. In the better light of the living room he noticed with interest that there actually was dust in the creases of her face.“They do get so noisy,” she said. “They’re disappointed because they couldn’t go to see the hanging, that’s what it is. I’m too busy to take them, and Tom won’t be back from work in time.”“Why can’t we go and see the hanging?” roared the boy in his huge voice.“Want to see the hanging! Want to see the hanging!” chanted the little girl, still capering round.Some Eurasian prisoners, guilty of war crimes, were to be hanged in the Park that evening, Winston remembered. This happened about once a month, and was a popular spectacle. Children always clamored to be taken to see it. He took his leave of Mrs. Parsons and made for the door. But he had not gone six steps down the passage when something hit the back of his neck an agonizingly painful blow. It was as though a red-hot wire had been jabbed into him. He spun round just in time to see Mrs. Parsons dragging her son back into the door- way while the boy pocketed a catapult.“Goldstein!” bellowed the boy as the door closed on him. But what most struck Winston was the look of helpless fright on the woman’s grayish face.Back in the flat he stepped quickly  past the telescreen and sat down at the table again, still rubbing his neck. The music from the telescreen had stopped. Instead, a clipped military voice was reading out, with a sort of brutal relish, a description of the armaments of the new Floating Fortress which had just been anchored between Iceland and the Faroe Islands.With those children, he thought, that wretched woman must lead a life of terror. Another year, two years, and they would be watching her night and day for symptoms of unorthodoxy. Nearly all children nowadays were horrible. What was worst of all was that by means of such organizations as the Spies they were systematically turned into ungovernable little sav- ages, and yet this produced in them no tendency whatever to rebel against the discipline of the Party. On the contrary, they adored the Party and everything connected with it. The songs, the processions,  the  banners, the  hiking,  the  drilling with dummy rifles, the yelling of slogans, the worship of Big Brother—it was all a sort of glorious game to them. All their ferocity was turned outwards, against the enemies of the State, against foreigners, traitors, saboteurs, thought-criminals. It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children. And with good reason, for hardly a week passed in which the Times did not carry a paragraph describ- ing how some eavesdropping little sneak—“child hero” was the phrase generally used—had overheard some compromis- ing remark and denounced his parents to the Thought Police. The sting of the catapult bullet had worn off. He picked up his  pen  half-heartedly,  wondering  whether  he  could  find something more to write in the diary. Suddenly  he began thinking of O’Brien again.Years ago—how long was it? Seven years it must be—he had dreamed that he was walking through a pitch-dark room. And someone sitting to one side of him had said as he passed: “We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.” It was said very quietly, almost casually—a statement, not a com- mand. He had walked on without pausing. What was curious was that at the time, in the dream, the words had not made much impression on him. It was only later and by degrees that they had seemed to take on significance. He could not now re- member whether it was before or after having the dream that he had seen O’Brien for the first time; nor could he remember when he had first identified the voice as O’Brien’s. But at any rate the identification existed. It was O’Brien who had spoken to him out of the dark.Winston had never been able to feel sure—even after this morning’s flash of the eyes it was still impossible to be sure— whether O’Brien was a friend or an enemy. Nor did it even seem to matter greatly. There was a link of understanding be- tween them more important than affection or partisanship. “We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness,” he had said. Winston did not know what it meant, only that in some way or another it would come true.The voice from the telescreen paused. A trumpet call, clear and beautiful, floated into the stagnant air. The voice continued raspingly:“Attention! Your attention, please! A newsflash has this mo- ment arrived from the Malabar front. Our forces in South India have won a glorious victory. I am authorized to say that the action we are now reporting may well bring the war within measurable distance of its end. Here is the newsflash—”Bad news coming, thought Winston. And sure enough, following on a gory description of the annihilation of a Eurasian army, with stupendous figures of killed and prisoners, came the announcement that, as from next week, the chocolate ration would be reduced from thirty grams to twenty.Winston belched again. The gin was wearing off, leaving a deflated feeling. The telescreen—perhaps to celebrate the victory, perhaps to drown the memory of the lost chocolate—crashed into “Oceania, ’tis for thee.” You were supposed to stand to at- tention. However, in his present position he was invisible.“Oceania, ’tis for thee” gave way to lighter music. Winston walked over to the window, keeping his back to the telescreen. The day was still cold and clear. Somewhere far away a rocket bomb exploded with a dull, reverberating roar. About twenty or thirty of them a week were falling on London at present.Down in the street the wind flapped the torn poster to and fro, and the word INGSOC fitfully appeared and vanished. Ing- soc. The sacred principles of Ingsoc. Newspeak, doublethink, the mutability of the past. He felt as though he were wandering in the forests of the sea bottom, lost in a monstrous world where he himself was the monster. He was alone. The past was dead, the future was unimaginable. What certainty had he that a single human creature now living was on his side? And what way of knowing that the dominion of the Party would not endure forever? Like an answer, the three slogans on the white face of the Ministry of Truth came back at him:WAR IS PEACE FREEDOM IS SLAVERYIGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.He took a twenty-five-cent piece out of his pocket. There, too, in tiny clear lettering, the same slogans were inscribed, and on the other face of the coin the head of Big Brother. Even from the coin the eyes pursued you. On coins, on stamps, on the covers of books, on banners, on posters, and on the wrapping of a cigarette packet—everywhere. Always the eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake, working or eating, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or in bed—no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centime- ters inside your skull.The sun had shifted round, and the myriad windows of the Ministry of Truth, with the light no longer shining on them, looked grim as the loopholes of a fortress. His heart quailed before the enormous pyramidal shape. It was too strong, it could not be stormed. A thousand rocket bombs would not batter it down. He wondered again for whom he was writing the diary. For the future, for the past—for an age that might be imaginary. And in front of him there lay not death but annihilation. The diary would be reduced to ashes and himself to vapor. Only the Thought Police would read what he had written, before they wiped it out of existence and out of memory. How could you make appeal to the future when not a trace of you, not even an anonymous word scribbled on a piece of paper, could physically survive?The telescreen struck fourteen. He must leave in ten minutes. He had to be back at work by fourteen-thirty.Curiously, the chiming of the hour seemed to have put new heart into him. He was a lonely ghost uttering a truth that nobody would ever hear. But so long as he uttered it, in some ob- scure way the continuity was not broken. It was not by making yourself heard but by staying sane that you carried on the human heritage. He went back to the table, dipped his pen, and wrote:To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone—to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone:From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of double- think—greetings!He was already dead, he reflected. It seemed to him that it was only now, when he had begun to be able to formulate his thoughts, that he had taken the decisive step. The consequences of every act are included in the act itself. He wrote:Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime IS death.Now that he had recognized himself as a dead man it be- came important to stay alive as long as possible. Two fingers of his right hand were inkstained. It was exactly the kind of detail that might betray you. Some nosing zealot in the Ministry (a woman, probably; someone like the little sandy-haired woman or the dark-haired girl from the Fiction Department) might start wondering why he had been writing during the lunch interval, why he had used an old-fashioned pen, what he had been writing—and then drop a hint in the appropriate quarter. He went to the bathroom and carefully scrubbed the ink away with the gritty dark-brown soap which rasped your skin like sandpaper and was therefore well adapted for this purpose.He put the diary away in the drawer. It was quite useless to think of hiding it, but he could at least make sure whether or not its existence had been discovered. A hair laid across the page-ends was too obvious. With the tip of his finger he picked up an identifiable grain of whitish dust and deposited it on the corner of the cover, where it was bound to be shaken off if the book was moved.*Newspeak was the official language of Oceania. For an account of its structure and etymology, see Appendix.

Bookclub Guide

INTRODUCTIONIn 1949, on the heels of another literary classic, Animal Farm, George Orwell wrote 1984, his now legendary and terrifying glimpse into the future. His vision of an omni-present and ultra-repressive State is rooted in the ominous world events of Orwell's own time and is given shape and substance by his astute play on our own fears.As the novel opens, we learn that in year 1984, the world has been divided into three states: Oceania, Eastasia and Eurasia, all of which, it is said, are almost continually in battle with one another. This world structure has come about following a nuclear war which took place sometime in the 1950's. In the state of Oceania, a revolution has resulted in the rise of an all-seeing figurehead known only as Big Brother, and a secretive group of individuals referred to as The Party. Under this regime, basic freedoms of expression—even thought—are strictly forbidden. History and memory are actively erased and rewritten so as to support the omnipotence and infallibility of The Party and its pronouncements. To this end, the State even employs its own language, Newspeak, and its own thought process, Doublethink.It's against this background that we are introduced to Winston Smith, a low-level Party member (not to be confused with the elite group which surrounds Big Brother) who works in the Ministry of Truth. His job here, paradoxically, is to destroy and rewrite news articles and State facts and figures so as to align them with the most current views of The Party. A resident of Airstrip One—formerly London, England—Smith lives in a world devoid of even the simplest liberties. In this repressive society, where thoughts themselves can be ascertained and monitored, Winston finds himself alone and in quiet "revolution" against Big Brother. Boldly, he even goes as far as to write his own thoughts down on paper— a crime worthy of abduction by the Thought Police.Early in the novel, Winston meets Julia, another worker at the Ministry of Truth, whom he has been watching from afar. Secretly, the two begin a love affair. This liaison inspires Winston to indulge his ever-growing obsession with revolution, and he and Julia begin to discuss, however implausible, ideas for the overthrow of The Party. Winston's eventual (and inevitable) capture at the hands of the Thought Police leads to his purification and re-education by inner Party members.Orwell's strict attention to detail and realistic description of a world thirty-five years ahead of his own add validity to 1984, and make its larger conclusions all the more frightening. Even today, the novel remains a bleak and shadowy forewarning of what might someday occur.ABOUT GEORGE ORWELLEric Arthur Blair (George Orwell) was born in 1903 in India, where his father worked for the Civil Service. The family moved to England in 1907 and in 1917 Orwell entered Eton, where he contributed regularly to the various college magazines. From 1922 to 1927 he served with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, an experience that inspired his first novel, Burmese Days (1934). Several years of poverty followed. He lived in Paris for two years before returning to England, where he worked successively as a private tutor, schoolteacher and bookshop assistant, and contributed reviews and articles to a number of periodicals. Down and Out in Paris and London was published in 1933.In 1936, he was commissioned by Victor Gollancz to visit areas of mass unemployment in Lancashire and Yorkshire, and The Road to Wigan Pier (1937) is a powerful description of the poverty he saw there. At the end of 1936 Orwell went to Spain to fight for the Republicans and was wounded, and Homage to Catalonia is his account of the civil war. He was admitted to a sanatorium in 1938 and from then on was never fully fit. He spent six months in Morocco and there wrote Coming Up for Air. During the Second World War he served in the Home Guard and worked for the BBC Eastern Service from 1941 to 1943. As literary editor of the Tribune he contributed a regular page of political and literary commentary, and he also wrote for the Observer and later for the Manchester Evening News. His unique political allegory, Animal Farm, was published in 1945, and it was this novel, together with Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), which brought him world-wide fame.George Orwell died in London in January 1950. A few days before, Desmond MacCarthy had sent him a message of greeting in which he wrote: "You have made an indelible mark on English literature . . . you are among the few memorable writers of your generation."DISCUSSION QUESTIONSThe world within which Winston lives is replete with contradictions. For example a, major tenet of the Party's philosophy is that War is Peace. Similarly, the Ministry of Love serves as, what we would consider, a department of war. What role do these contradictions serve on a grand scale? Discuss other contradictions inherent in the Party's philosophy. What role does contradiction serve within the framework of Doublethink? How does Doublethink satisfy the needs of The Party? In the afterword, the commentator describes 1984 as "a warning." Indeed, throughout the text, Orwell plants both subtle and overt warnings to the reader. What do you think are some of the larger issues at hand here? Describe the role that O'Brien plays in Winston's life. Why do you think that initially, Winston is drawn to O'Brien? Why does he implicitly trust him, despite the enormous dangers involved? Discuss the significance and nature of Winston's dreams. Deconstruct the dream wherein O'Brien claims that they "shall meet in a place where there is no darkness" (page 22), and the dream in which Winston's mother and sister disappear (page 26). What are the underpinnings of these dreams? What deeper meanings do they hold? Why do you think the author devotes as much time as he does to Winston's dreams? Discuss Winston as a heroic figure. What qualities does he posses that could define him as one? Compare and contrast some of the other characters in Winston's world: Parsons, Syme, O'Brien. How does Winston view each one? How do they differ from Winston? What opinion do you think each one has of Winston? On pages 147-148, Winston reflects on the omnipresence of The Party: "He thought of the telescreen with its never-sleeping ear. They could spy upon you night and day, but if you kept your head you could still outwit them….Facts at any rate, could not be kept hidden. They could be tracked down by inquiry, they could be squeezed out of you by torture. But if the object was not to stay alive, but to stay human, what difference did it ultimately make?" What, in essence, is Winston saying about the lone individual in relation to The State? Does this contention remain true throughout the novel? Early on in the novel, we learn of Winston's belief in the proles as a liberating force. What accounts for Winston's almost blind faith in the proles? What are some of the characteristics of the proles that, in Winston's eyes, make them the ultimate means for overthrowing Big Brother? From her first appearance as "the dark-haired girl," through to the end of the novel, Julia is a key figure in 1984. Trace the path of Julia in relation to Winston's life; in what ways does she influence him? Did you trust her, initially? Overall, do you feel she had a positive or negative impact upon him? After his first formal meeting with O'Brien, Winston receives a book, ostensibly written by Emmanuel Goldberg. In reading passages from this book, Winston is further enlightened as to "how" the current society came into being. Focus on these passages, and in particular, on the theory of the High, Middle and Low classes (page 179). If true, what does this theory hold for the proles? Is Winston's plan for the proles now altered? Why or why not? During Winston's interrogation, O'Brien explains that whereas preceding totalitarian regimes had failed, The Party was truly successful in its consolidation of power (page 226). How, according to O'Brien, does the The Party as an oligarchy differ from Nazism or Russian Communism? How does he define the role of the martyr, both in terms of The Party and the other totalitarian systems? Following his capture in Mr. Charrington's spare room, Winston undergoes a process of "philosophical cleansing" and re-education against which he valiantly, but unsuccessfully fights. Discuss Winston's "capitulation" at the hands of O'Brien. How is Winston brought to "love Big Brother?" In sacrificing Julia, how has Winston, in essence, signaled his own end? How would you describe the author's tone in 1984? Does it add to or detract from the character's discourse? Discuss the role of sex and intimacy in 1984. What specific function does the Party's directive on sexual interaction serve? In the final analysis, how accurate was Orwell in his vision of the future? In what ways does our contemporary society compare to his idea of society in 1984? Are there examples in which he was correct? What is most opposite? Do you see a potential for aspects of Orwell's "vision" to come true? During his final encounter with O'Brien, Winston argues that, if all else fails, the inherent nature of the individual-the "spirit of man"-is strong enough to undermine a society such as that created by The Party. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Is Winston's belief applicable to the world we live in today? Can you cite examples in our own recent history that support or dismiss Winston's belief in the resiliency and righteousness of the human spirit? Prior to meeting her, Winston fantasizes about Julia in violent, humiliating ways. Later, he describes in his diary an encounter with a middle-aged, toothless prostitute. How do you account for these thoughts? How does Winston's understanding of women change after his first liaison with Julia? Given Winston's own acknowledgment that he is under constant surveillance, and that it would only be a matter of time before the Thought Police caught him, no one in his world could be trusted. Prior to his capture, which character or characters did you envision as betraying Winston? How did you foresee his ultimate demise? Did you, on the contrary, feel that by some chance he would overcome the forces aligned against him, and fulfill his wish to conquer The Party? Imagine yourself as Winston Smith at the beginning of 1984. What would you do to undermine The Party? Knowing what you know now, how would you extricate yourself from the fate that awaits you? Refer back to Winston's conversation with the old man at the pub (page 78). Why is Winston so determined in his approach to the old man? What is Winston hoping to learn from him?

From Our Editors

Satire on the possible horrors of a totalitarian regime in England in 1984.