Orwell, George. 1984 New York: Signet Classic, 1949. 245 pages." It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." I cannot emphasize how much I loved that sentence, which happened to be the first sentence of the amazing story, 1984. I like the fact that it takes a while to comprehend, as you think to yourself, "Clocks strike thirteen?" Well, after a moment of thought I realized that the community in which the story takes place tells time in what we call "Military Time," which is basically going by hours of the day (since there are 24 hours in a day, when the clocks strike 24 it is what we would call midnight). This is an amazing book because of its strength! After finishing the book, I sort of felt the urge to shout with anger.
This book is strong because of reality. It is straightforward in a way that I have not seen in any other book. The way that there is happiness, understanding, fear, depression, and then down right rage as you go through this book. I felt every one of those feelings while reading George Orwell's 1984, and it is definitely worth it.
The main character in this book is named Winston Smith. This person is one of the few characters in this book that I see to have a soul of any kind (for most of the story, at least). As the story goes on, Winston tells the reader about his opinion for everything that goes on in his life, and in others' lives. Winston works at the Ministry of Truth, rewriting certain articles to make things predicted by the Party that were false look true.
He would get an article that needed rewriting, he would rewrite the article to make the Party look correct, then he would put the rewritten article into a pneumatic tube, and put the old article into a memory hole. Memory holes were slots in the wall that take things, bring them down into the unknown, and destroy them. If Winston were to live in today's world, he would definitely be one of the people I looked up to as a roll model. He seems like a left-wing (meaning liberal) person who would join lots of organizations doing good things, such as Greenpeace. I think that if he was better at public speaking. (Sadly, he never had a chance to do any sort of public speaking in the story.
He seemed like the kind of person that would not be likely to speak publicly unless he had a lot of people defending him, like when he chose to join The Brotherhood instead of trying to create an organization himself. ) He definitely would have been a good leader in today's world. He has all the ideas needed in order to make a difference, and the only thing that would be holding him back would be his shyness. As I said earlier, he is definitely a liberal compared to other people in this story. Sadly, liberals are way outnumbered by conservatives, and do not stand a chance. That is basically the whole statement of the whole book: The conservatives won.
There is no hope. It is over. I do not like to think of it this way, but in this story (hopefully JUST in this story) the conservatives have won, and the liberals do not stand a chance. As Winston goes through the story, he meets this girl named Julia, who he finds out to be his lover. The only thing that Winston has to live for is Julia. He has a job at the Ministry of Truth.
His only duty was to re-write different things to make the Party (the Party was basically the government in charge of Oceania, which was the country where Winston lived in. ) look good. Other than his job, Julia, walking, writing in his diary, and sleeping, Winston had absolutely nothing to do. He really did not have anything entertaining to do besides Julia. She was the only joy in his life. As the story goes on, Winston is unhappy with the results of which the Party makes of everything.
You could be put in jail for "Thought Crime," which is thinking something bad. You are always being watched by telescreen, which are basically boxes on a wall where they can see you and hear you, while you can listen to music and announcements from the telescreen. You are never safe. Winston was against it, and after he met up with Julia he found out she was against it too. Winston was walking one day when Julia passed him a note and walked on by.
The note read, "I love you." Since this was technically illegal, he could tell that Julia was on his side. He and Julia got together and were a couple in secrecy. O'Brien was a worker that Winston saw a lot. Winston mistook O'Brien to be against the Party, and after Winston basically told O'Brien everything, he was arrested. O'Brien took the liberty of punishing Winston himself. While this was happening, they were trying to brainwash Winston to believe in the Party, and to believe in Big Brother (Big Brother was the leader of the party).
They eventually succeeded by putting him into Room 101 (Room 101 is the room where they put your biggest fear onto you in order to persuade you to do something. In this case, they were threatened with their biggest fear until they said "Do it to so-and-so." In Winston's case it was "Do it to Julia." ). After he was successfully brainwashed, he was clearly not the same person he used to be. His last few thoughts of the book were "He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother." (Those sentences gave me the rage I talked to you about earlier. ) After he was brainwashed completely, Julia had betrayed him and he had betrayed Julia by telling O'Brien (O'Brien was the person who brainwashed him and did everything to him) to do the thing that was going to be done to him to Julia, and vice versa with Julia, so they were not together anymore.
After he was brainwashed, if the book had gone on, I would probably have lost interest. I am not interested to hear the stories of someone who is exactly the same as everyone else with the same thoughts and feelings as everyone else in his large community. I do not think that George Orwell was very interested in that either, otherwise I think he might have continued the story. Winston's personality is that of someone who is alone, seeking someone. Everyone has been taken away from him. The "Thought Police" had taken away his wife, his mother, and his younger sister.
Without Julia, he would have been dead. His whole character throughout the story was depressed, angry (at the Party for all the stupid things they were doing), or happy (this only happened when he was with Julia). I can definitely relate to Winston as myself, since I too am totally against the current government in charge of the country I live in (I live in the United States of America). The leaders in charge are totally lying to us, making us, the people, think something totally untrue compared to what is actually happening. Winston, as myself, recognizes this and tries to change the way the government is being run. I am planning on becoming more active in this sense as I become older.
Julia is one of the main characters in this story. She is very similar to Winston in many different ways. Julia and Winston are both against the Party, which is the government in charge of Oceania, and are both trying to change how the Party runs things. They are a couple for most of the story, and they joined "The Brotherhood" together. The Brotherhood is an organization that is against the Party. However, no one can really tell if The Brotherhood exists at all.
At the end of the story The Brotherhood is totally disregarded. Julia and Winston are both "punished" and brainwashed at the Ministry of Truth (just to show how backwards the Party is, the Ministry of Truth is basically a detention center where they put thought criminals) at the same time; however they do not see each other while it happens. Julia is much younger than Winston. She is in her early 20's while Winston is 30. They seem to be very much in love until they are brainwashed, and are loyal to the Party.
Julia works at the Ministry of Truth, just like Winston, except she worked in the Fiction Department. The Fiction Department was a mysterious place to the people who were not part of the department. The story never really explained what went on in the Fiction Department. Julia and Winston were the only characters in the story who were open about being against the Party. Throughout the story, Julia is at first a mysterious girl, thought by Winston to be a Thought Police in disguise, who appears to be extremely loyal to the Party. After a bit, she runs into Winston "by accident" (she planned it, but Winston didn't know) and slipped the note into Winston's hand.
The note simply read, "I love you." This is when, in my opinion, the story's plot really started to take place. By her telling Winston that she loved him, Winston could easily tell that she was against the Party, since doing so would not be a thing done by a loyal person to the Party. Love did not really exist in the Party, it was only a relationship made to reproduce children, basically. Julia was very pleasant if she liked you. Winston and Julia got along great, and it seemed like she was always a bit more happy than normal when she was around Winston. I think that Winston made Julia feel calm, since she could trust him not to report anything she said to the Party that would get her arrested for thought crime.
I think that Winston and Julia were very dependant on each other. I think the relationship they had was the only thing that had any hope in the whole story. They were the only two people who were not brainwashed (who was open about it, at least). Without Winston, I think that Julia would not have been able to have the opinions she had much longer. I think that she would have eventually been self-brainwashed to believe that everything the Party said was true. As the story goes on, first she seems like a stuck-up loyal person to the Party, then she seems like a very radical "liberal" for her time, then she seems like (and IS) someone loyal to the Party after being brainwashed.
I think that she had a soul. She was one of the people who actually had a brain of her own. She was one of the only people who could think for herself, and not just believe anything and everything the Party said to be true (no matter what). I would have definitely looked up to this character before she was brainwashed.
She seems like a very nice person, and a very good person, and a very intelligent person. I think that Julia and Winston are very much alike, mind-wise. They have very similar opinions, with slight disagreements every once and a while with small topics. O'Brien turns out to be something totally untrue! His character is truly amazing, yet outraging. His character is something that brings the plot of this story alive! ! At the beginning of the story, O'Brien gives Winston a sign that he is against the Party by looking at him in the eye shortly.
Later, Winston and O'Brien meet up and O'Brien gives more signs that he is against the Party. Then Winston tells O'Brien all about how he is against the Party. Then O'Brien turns out to be someone who punishes Winston, and is totally for the Party (he is actually one of the high ranked Party officials). What a betrayal that was. O'Brien is a big, yet strong man.
He plays a high ranked Party official in the Ministry of Truth, which is how he and Winston know each other. As O'Brien is playing his part throughout the story, he first leads Winston and Julia into a trap, without them knowing, then brainwashes and tortures them in the Ministry of Love after they openly commit the thought crimes of what we would now call treason. O'Brien's only motivation was to please Big Brother, who was the person in charge of the Party. O'Brien only wanted power, which he could get from Big Brother by "sucking up" (mindlessly following and emulating anything and everything in the name of fame / recognition ) to him, trying to seem the most loyal to the Party. Sadly, O'Brien's character is totally warped into the Party.
He is totally loyal to the Party in every way whatsoever. He has more intelligence than regular humans in that time, yet the only characteristic of him is evil. O'Brien is one of the "bad guys" in this story. The author is trying to get the reader to dislike O'Brien, and for me it has definitely worked. I hate O'Brien.
I look upon O'Brien as I look upon George W. Bush. They are both in it for power (at the time, money is power), and they both just lie to convince the population that something totally untrue is the truth. Big Brother is the head honcho of the Party. He is the person who everyone fears, praises, and must love. Not loving Big Brother is a thought crime.
Big Brother is the person who really reflects presently upon George W. Bush. He has brainwashed everyone into believing what ever he says. If anyone contradicts him, they are committing thought crime, and will be taken to the Ministry of Truth to be dealt with.
The book does not give him a personality besides "evil." The only motivation for Big Brother is power. There is not really any other information about him besides he exists. As I said earlier, this story is probably the best story I've ever read! It's plot is one of the most advanced, yet difficult to understand. I had to have my parents help me to understand some things. The whole point of the story is to express what was going to happen with the government if everyone's thoughts did not change. Everyone in charge is only living for money and power and the government is slowly finding ways to monitor people, and find ways of keeping people who protest the government to not receive certain privileges (such as flying in an airplane, and there is now a do-not-fly list of people who are not allowed to fly on airplanes within the United States).
This is exactly what is happening in the story of 1984, except it has already happened. In 1984 the government watches everyone, and there are spies all around you. Everyone loves Big Brother. It seems like everyone is exactly the same in this story, except for the two main characters, Julia and Winston.
A very interesting part of the story is "newspeak." Newspeak is a new way of speaking the English language, rather than "old speak" (which is how we speak today). There are certain people who work on making the language, and the government says that they have newspeak to make talking easier. It is just much more simpler and a more efficient way of speaking. What a lie that is! It angers me that a government would so openly lie about an issue like that. Newspeak is eliminating words that would let the people of Oceania think about betraying the government. Newspeak basically eliminates the ability to be against the Party.
There is no way to do it. If you cannot think of the way to say, "I hate Big Brother," then you will not be able to think it to yourself either. You will only be able to say "I doubleplushate Big Brother." That is not really saying much, and that is a vague thought that is easier to display rather than "The Party is getting corrupt." The thought of the word "corrupt" will not even exist, therefore the person who is thinking that will not be able to express him / herself . It is a very smart, yet evil plan that the Party has thought up. In a way, it is a sense of security.
It is another way of forcing people to be loyal, or to seem loyal to the Party. The story takes place in London, which is part of the country Oceania. There are only three countries, and they have power over the whole globe. There is Oceania, East asia, and Eurasia. These countries are never at peace, and someone is always in a war of some type. When Oceania gets in a war with a country, the government makes the people who live in Oceania believe that they have always been at war with that specific country.
Anything the government says is true. At the time when Winston was being held at the Ministry of Love for performing thought crime of betraying the government with The Brotherhood, O'Brien asked Winston how many fingers he was holding up. (He had all his fingers on one hand up except for his thumb. ) Winston said four, yet he was incorrect. 2 + 2 = 5. It was a fact, since O'Brien said it was a fact.
Winston and Julia were trying to bring rightness to the government. They wanted the truth, and the right thing to do. At first when they met, they talked about how bad it was, and what should be done. After Winston and O'Brien bumped into each other, and Winston was immediately positive that O'Brien was on his side, Winston and Julia joined "The Brotherhood" via O'Brien (who claimed to be high up in "The Brotherhood." ) "The Brotherhood, we call it. You will never learn much more about the Brotherhood than that it exists and that you belong to it." - O'Brien, Part Two, Chapter VIII.
As you can see, Winston and Julia joined the brotherhood without knowing anything about it besides it existed. I considered this foolish. Why join such a risky thing with someone you only think is on your side when you don't even get any more information than it exists? Well anyway, Julia and Winston joined "The Brotherhood." At the time, they were living part time in a hide out which only they knew of. O'Brien asked if they had a hide out, and they told him willingly. Their hide out did not have a telescreen (yet, at least). O'Brien had set up for Winston to get a copy of "The Book," which was a book that explained everything about "The Brotherhood." A few days after Winston got the book, he was reading it to Julia, and they both fell asleep.
After they woke up, they were talking about this lady who lived near them, who they could always hear singing. They were becoming aware of something... ." 'We are the dead,' he said.' We are the dead,' echoed Julia dutifully.' You are the dead,' said an iron voice behind them." - Julia, Winston, and a hidden telescreen, Part Two, Chapter IX What a surprise that was while reading! There was a hidden telescreen behind a clock of theirs in the hide out they were at, and Thought Police started entering their not so secret hide out. They were taken to the Ministry of Love. They were goners. While Winston was being held, he still thought that O'Brien was on his side, until later O'Brien was the one torturing him.
This part of the story hurt. It was painful to read, as the author went into details of how they were tortured, and what happened, and how they were starved (for a lot of the time). They were doomed. The character of Winston and Julia were totally changed, as they became like everyone else.
They were now brainwashed citizens of Oceania. As the story went on, there were no problems until they got caught in their hide out. Other than them being brainwashed and O'Brien betraying them, their plan with "The Brotherhood" would have moved on very smoothly. I think that the author was definitely trying to teach the reader about how corrupt society is, or will be. How evil the rich people who control the government are. I think that a lot of what George Orwell predicted in his story 1984 is happening today.
There are cameras all over the world, though not necessarily in your house.