1. Author¡¦s name: George Orwell
2. Notes on the author, his life, his works and time:
George Orwell (pseudonym of Eric Blair) was born in India in 1903. He studied in England and then served in the Indian Civil police in Burma. After seven years, he was wounded in the Spanish civil war.
He spent the rest of his life in England where he died of tuberculosis in 1950.
His most successful publication besides Nineteen Eighty-four is Animal farm.
3. Title: Nineteen Eighty-four
4. Published by: Wolters - Noordhoff
Date of publication: 1998
Number of pages: 303
Part of a series matching novels: yes (Blackbirds)
B: - dystopian novel
C: Account of the choices made under 5A + 5B:
„h 5A: because the book doesn¡¦t belong to any of the other genres.
„h 5B: - dystopian novel: Orwell warns us for a too big influence of communism
and/or other ideologies.
- science-fiction/fantasy: Orwell creates a whole new world in the future, in
order to put forward his political ideas.
6. Structure of the work:
a. division into: chapters
„h social setting: middle class
„h geographical setting: in a fictional London
„h historical setting: the year 1984
c. initial incident: the moment Winston starts his diary
d. climax: the moment that the Thought police take Julia. Winston is locked up in a cell.
7. Account for the title and/or subtitle, and their relevance to the work:
When Orwell wrote the book it was 1948. For him 1984 was just a date in the future, but not so far ahead that the warnings he gave would not be taken seriously.
8. Theme(s) of the work:
The preciousness and fragility of human freedom.
1984 shows how the dominance of any ideology will result in totalitarianism, which means the enslavement and dehumanisation of man.
a. Mention the main characters and describe them briefly:
„h Winston Smith: He is an employee at the Ministry of Truth at the Records department and so a member of the Party. He is silently an opponent of the regime and has a love-affair with Julia.
„h Julia: She is an employee at the Fiction Department, has a love-affair with Winston.
„h Big Brother: He is not a real person. All-present as he is, all-powerful and forever watching, he is only seen on TV. Although his picture glares out form huge posters that shout; BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, nobody sees Big Brother in person.
b. Mention the important minor characters and describe them briefly:
„h O¡¦Brien: He is the leader of the inner party and is supposed to be head of the secret Brotherhood dedicated to the overthrow of Big Brother.
11. The way the story is told:
The all-knowing narrator
12. Type(s) of language used:
13. Notes on the use of symbols:
In Nineteen Eighty-four Orwell draws a picture of a totalitarian future. Although the action deals in the future, there are a couple of elements and symbols, taken from the present and the past. So for example Emanuel Goldstein, the main enemy of Oceania, is, as one can see in the name, a Jew. Orwell draws a link to other totalitarian systems of our century, like the Nazis and the Communists, who had anti-Semitic ideas, and who used Jews as so-called scapegoats, who were responsible for all bad and evil things in the country. This fact also shows that totalitarian systems want to arbitrate their perfection. Emanuel Goldstein also stands for Trotsky, a leader of the Revolution, who was later declared as an enemy. Another symbol that can be found in Nineteen Eighty-four is the fact that Orwell divided fictional superstates in the book according to the division that can be found in the Cold-War. So Oceania stands for the U.S.A., Eurasia for Russia and East-Asia for China. Also the fact that the two socialistic countries East-Asia and Eurasia (in our case Russia and China) are at war with each other, corresponds with our history. the old junk-shop. It stands for the fragile little world that Winston and Julia have.
14. Review: I think it¡¦s a great book.
As the story starts, Winston has bought a diary, which is very dangerous: he commits thoughtcrime with doing such a thing. Winston has thoughts that are not allowed in the society of 1984. Having such thoughts means committing thoughtcrime. Although Winston knows he will be punished for that, he wants to write down his thoughts. After this, Winston goes to work. His job is to correct the history in a way that the Party¡¦s predictions are always right. The Party is a group in society that has all the power. At work, there is daily Two Minutes Hate that is meant to make people hate the enemies of their county. During these Two Minutes, Winston¡¦s eyes meet O¡¦Brien¡¦s. Because of this, Winston thinks O¡¦Brien has the same thoughts. While he¡¦s walking through the corridor, Winston sees a dark haired girl and he thinks she is a member of the Thought Police. Winston thinks when there is hope, it is in the proles. These people must have knowledge of the past that is not falsified. Because of this, Winston goes to the ghetto and tries to find out some fact by interviewing an old man, but it has no result. He also buys coral in glass in Charrington¡¦s store. Charrington shows him a room without Telescreen. People can be seen everywhere except in this room. As Winston leaves the shop, he sees the dark haired girl again. Winston would prefer to kill her. At night Winston dreams of O¡¦Brien, saying: We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness. Winston meets the dark haired girl again in the corridor and he helps her when she falls. She succeeds in giving him a note, which said that she was in love with him. Winston tries to make contact again with her, but this is very difficult without being noticed. At last he succeeds to meet her outside the city. She is called Julia. The make love together. Julia and Winston meet eachother many times after that day, although they have to be careful not to be seen. They decide to rent Charrington¡¦s room, so they could meet eachother without being noticed. O¡¦Brien invites Winston to come to his home, so called to get the Newspeak dictionary. Winston knows O¡¦Brien has other plans and decides to take Julia with him. O¡¦Brien tells him about the Brotherhood, an organisation that wants to overthrow the government. He promises to do almost everything to overthrow the government. Winston will receive The Book, a book written by the leader of the Brotherhood, Goldstein. After reading this book, Winston will be a member of the Brotherhood. Winston and Julia read The Book, but the Thought Police catch them. It seems that Charrington has betrayed them. In the beginning Winston is tortured very heavily. Winston confesses almost everything, but he doesn¡¦t betray Julia. Winston notices the presence of O¡¦Brien. O¡¦Brien starts to brainwash Winston. After the brainwash Winston is a complete different person. In the conversations between Winston and O¡¦Brien the power of the Party is often the subject. Winston doesn¡¦t understand for what purpose this power is used. Winston still hates Big Brother and O¡¦Brien knows that. He takes Winston to room 101, the room with the worst things of the world. For Winston this is a rat. When he is threatened with these animals Winston says: Don¡¦t do this to me, do this to Julia". This is the first time that he betrayed Julia. When Winston meets Julia at the end they are both brainwashed and they are both ashamed that they betrayed eachother. When Winston is sitting in the Chestnut Tree Cafe, a bulletin appears on the Telescreen. It announces that Oceania has won an important battle in the war. Now Oceania controls entire Africa. Something changes in Winston, now he completely normal. His brainwash is completed. As he walks down the white tiled corridor and gets shot, he loves Big Brother.....
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