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					     Notes About the Author

ORWELL, George (1903-1950)

Published Animal Farm
in 1944.
In 1949 he published 1984, which
was highly successful.
Animal Farm and 1984
are considered two of
the most important
literary works of the
twentieth century.
                      Before you go anywhere
                      define these words! You
                        will see them again!
•   Big Brother             • Where did the idea of
•   Bureaucratic              Big Brother first appear?
•   Corporate
•   Dystopia
•   Dictatorship
•   Demagogue               • Written in Orwell's inimitable
•   Ideology                  journalistic style, 1984 is a
•   Oligarchy                 tribute to a man who saw the
•   Omnipresent               true dangers of historian
•   Omnipotent                Lord Acton's(1834-
•   Philosophical             1902)statement:
•   Propaganda
•   Society
•   Socialist         "Power corrupts; absolute
•   Slogan
•   Theocratic            power corrupts
•   Totalitarianism
•   Technological           absolutely."
•   Utopia
                                Structure =
                  1984 is divided into 3 parts plus an appendix.

• Part 1 sets up Winston's world, which readers see through
  his eyes and his thoughts. They understand his loneliness
  and why this leads him to take risks that will lead to his
• In part 2, the lengthiest part of the narrative, Winston
  becomes connected with people he believes are rebels like
  himself. It is interesting to note that his publishers originally
  wanted Orwell to delete this material, because it stops the
  action of the narrative.
• In part 3, Winston and Julia are caught by the Inner Party
  and we are pulled in to the dramatic tension through his
  dialogue and interaction with O'Brien.
• The book ends with an appendix on the development and
  structure of the language called "Newspeak." The appendix is
  written as if it were a scholarly article, and while it serves to
  clarify the use of Newspeak in the novel it is interesting to
  note that the publisher originally wanted to cut it, thinking it
                      Style = Point of View

•   Orwell's 1984 is told in the third person, but the point of view is clearly
    Winston Smith's. Through his eyes, readers are able to see how the
    totalitarian society functions, in particular how an individual deals with
    having illegal thoughts that can be detected easily by spies and
    telescreens that monitor one's every movement. Because readers are in
    Winston's head, they make the mistakes he makes in judging people. At
    one point he looks around a room at work and tells himself he knows
    just who will be vaporized within the next few years and who will be
    allowed to live. His perceptions of who is a loyal party member and who
    is not turn out to be inaccurate, however. In this way, Orwell shows that
    in a paranoid society, where personal relationships with others are at
    best only tolerated and at worst illegal, no one can really know his fellow
•   Winston is a well-drawn character with clear opinions (clear to the
    reader, that is; he cannot reveal his opinions to anyone in his society).
    Often, critics have claimed that these opinions echo George Orwell's. For
    example, Winston admires the spirit of the proletariat, but looks down
    on them because they will never have the means or intelligence to
    change their lives and their government. On the other hand, he admires
    the sophistication of the wealthy, cultured O'Brien, even though he is an
    evil character. This may reflect Orwell's own class prejudices, as
    someone who was far more educated and worldly than most of the
    people from the economic class in England (the lower middle class).

• Written between 1947 and 1948, 1984's original title was
  1948, but Orwell changed it so that it would be set in the
  future, but still be close enough to the present to be
  frightening. The action takes place in London, which is
  now part of a country called Oceania. Oceania is one of
  three world superpowers, and it is continually at war
  with one of the other two superpowers, Eastasia and
  Eurasia. Enemies can change overnight and become an
  ally, although the Party automatically rewrites history
  when this happens so that no one will remember that
  circumstances were ever any different. This perpetual
  state of war consumes most of the state's resources, so
  city buildings are in a constant state of disrepair. All
  consumer goods, from food to clothing, are rationed, just
  as they were in England during World War II. Winston
  lives in what was once London, now a drab, gray, and
  decaying urban area.
                Who Decides the Perfect
• Utopia: Definition and Characteristics Utopia: A
  place, state, or condition that is ideally perfect in
  respect of politics, laws, customs, and conditions.

• Dystopia: A futuristic, imagined universe in which
  oppressive societal control and the illusion of a
  perfect society are maintained through corporate,
  bureaucratic, technological, moral, or totalitarian
  control. Dystopias, through an exaggerated worst-
  case scenario, make a criticism about a current
  trend, societal norm, or political system.
                    With these
                slogans, Orwell's
WAR IS PEACE    1984 burst upon
      ◙        the literary world
 FREEDOM IS     as the definitive
   SLAVERY     anti-utopian novel
      ◙         for the 2nd of the
                  20th Century.
This darkly cautionary and prescient vision
  of the near future was a warning against
   the dangers of a totalitarian government
fueled by high technology. Orwell envisions
    a world devastated by nuclear war and
  poverty, where the West has fallen under
 the spell of a totalitarian socialist dictator,
    Big Brother. A political demagogue and
 religious cult leader all rolled into one, Big
      Brother's power and mystery are so
  immense that one may wonder if he even
                  exists at all.
                      How Close Are We?
• Big Brother's Ingsoc Party (English Socialism) perfected the
  uses of high technology to monitor the lives of its populace, to
  insure unswerving loyalty through surveillance, propaganda
  and brainwashing.
• The government's most brilliant and most appalling project is
  the actual deconstruction of the English language into
  Newspeak, the language of the Party. Each successive edition
  of the Newspeak Dictionary has fewer words than its
  predecessor. By removing meaning and nuance from the
  vocabulary, the government hopes to eradicate rebellious and
  anti-social thinking before it has the chance to enter a
  person's mind.
• Without the vocabulary for revolution, there can be no
  revolution! Right?
• For those who persist in thinking for themselves, so-called
  Thought Criminals (Ingsoc's stormtroopers), the Thought
  Police, are there to intervene, incarcerating the free-thinkers in
  the Ministry of Love, where they will be re-educated, or worse.
                    Characteristics of a
                    Dystopian Society
• Propaganda is used to control the citizens of society.
• Information, independent thought, and freedom are
• A figurehead or concept is worshipped by the citizens of
   the society.
• Citizens are perceived to be under constant
• Citizens have a fear of the outside world.
• Citizens live in a dehumanized state.
• The natural world is banished and distrusted.
• Citizens conform to uniform expectations. Individuality
   and dissent are bad.
• The society is an illusion of a perfect utopian world.
            The Dystopian
              • Often feels trapped and
                is struggling to escape.
              • Questions the existing
                social and political
Winston =
              • Believes or feels that
                something is terribly
                wrong with the society
                in which he or she lives.
              • Helps the audience
                recognizes the negative
                aspects of the dystopian
                world through his or her
                            Types of Dystopian
   Most dystopian works present a world in which oppressive societal control
   and the illusion of a perfect society are maintained through one or more of
   the following types of controls:

• Corporate control: One or more large corporations control society through
   products, advertising, and/or the media. Examples include Minority Report
   and Running Man, Blade Runner.

• Bureaucratic control: Society is controlled by a mindless bureaucracy
   through a tangle of red tape, relentless regulations, and incompetent
   government officials. Examples in film include Brazil, Mad Max, I Am Ledged.

• Technological control: Society is controlled by technology—through
   computers, robots, and/or scientific means. Examples include The Matrix,
   The Terminator, and I, Robot.

• Philosophical/religious control: Society is controlled by philosophical or
   religious ideology often enforced through a dictatorship or theocratic
   government. Examples include Fifth Element, The Village.
                                The Bottom Line Is
                         •   You have no freedom, no power,

      •   You feel no need or desire for freedom or power, and, what's worse

                   •   You don't even know that you don't have it.

                       Think about it:
                • You can shut off your TV, but do you really want to?
 • You live in a democratic society and have the right to vote, but only 5% of registered
   voters in the U.S. actually contribute money to political campaigns. And you wonder
                     why it's so tough to pass campaign finance reform?
• And barely half of registered voters vote. 2008* 56.8% 2006 37.1%2004 55.3 200237.0
• You are free to spend your money however you choose. But why do you feel compelled
    to spend it? Is advertising just the free market at work, or is it the ultimate form of
                   brainwashing to part you from your hard-earned cash?
 • How come you're pre-approved for so many credit cards? Isn't debt just another form
                                   of indentured servitude?
                                        Big Brother Is
•   1984 is the definitive dystopian novel, set in a world beyond our imagining.
    A world where totalitarianism really is total, all power split into three
    roughly equal groups--Eastasia, Eurasia, and Oceania.
•   1984 is set in Oceania, which includes the United Kingdom, known as
    Airstrip One.
•   Winston Smith is a middle-aged, unhealthy character, based loosely on
    Orwell's own frail body, an underling of the ruling oligarchy, The Party. The
    Party has taken early 20th century totalitarianism to new depths,
     – each person subjected to 24 hour surveillance,
     – people's very thoughts are controlled to ensure purity of the oligarchical system in
     – The figurehead of the system is the omnipresent and omnipotent Big Brother.
•   Winston believes there is another way.
•   1984 joins Winston as he sets about another day, where his job is to change
    history by changing old newspaper records to match with the new truth as
    decided by the Party.
•   "He who controls the past, controls the future" is a Party slogan to live by
    and it gives Winston his job, but Winston cannot see it like that. Barely old
    enough to recall a time when things were different, he sets out to expose the
    Party for the cynically fraudulent organization that it is. He is joined by
    Julia, a beautiful young woman much in contrast with Winston physically,
    but equally sickened by the excesses of her rulers.
                        The Good and The Bad
•   Winston Smith – The main                •   O’Brien – a prominent member of
    protagonist of Orwell’s 1984. He            the Inner Circle of the Party. He
    resents the authoritarian regime of         traps Winston into betraying his
    the Party and tries to rebel, but is        unorthodox views and presides
    finally crushed in body and soul.           over his torture and degradation.

•   Julia – Winston’s girlfriend. She       •   Mr. Charrington – a member of
    also starts out with a strident anti-       the powerful thought police, who
    party stand and is suppressed in            disguises himself as a ―prole‖ and
    the same way as Winston is.                 entraps Winston.

•   Emmanuel Goldstein – The                •   Ampleforth – One of Winston’s
    number One Enemy of the People              colleagues at the Ministry of Truth,
    according to the Party. He is               whose job is to ―rewrite‖ old poems
    believed to have written a                  in keeping with Party ideology. He
    subversive book and to head a               is arrested for thoughtcrimes.
    mysterious anti-party organization
    called The Brotherhood.                 •   Parsons – Another colleague of
                                                Winston’s who despite stupid and
•   Symes – Colleague of Winston’s              unquestioning adherence to the
    who is executed.                            Party line is still arrested.

•   Jones, Aaronson and Rutherford              Big Brother – the symbol of Party
    – three original leaders of the Party       dominance. Big Brother’s presence
    who were later denounced as                 is everywhere on posters, on
    traitors and executed.                      cigarette covers, on coins and on
 Characters – Winston Smith · Julia · O'Brien Big · Brother
          Emmanuel Goldstein · Syme Thought Police
    Places – The Gold Country · Airstrip One · Room 101
Classes – Inner Party · Outer Party · Proles · The Brotherhood
      Ministries –Ministry of Love · Ministry of Peace
            · Ministry of Plenty · Ministry of Truth
  Concepts – Ingsoc · Newspeak (wordlist) · Doublethink ·
   Goodthink · Crimestop · Two + two = five · Thoughtcrime ·
           Thought Police · Telescreen · Memory hole
               · Two Minutes Hate · Hate Week
                 Who is “Big Brother”?
Big Brother is a fictional character in George Orwell's novel
  Nineteen Eighty-Four, the enigmatic dictator of Oceania, a
  totalitarian state taken to its utmost logical consequence
   - where the ruling elite ('the Party') wield total power for
              its own sake over the inhabitants.
  In the society that Orwell describes, everyone is under
     complete surveillance by the authorities, mainly by
   telescreens. The people are constantly reminded of this
  by the phrase "Big Brother is watching you", which is the
   core "truth" of the propaganda system in this state. The
     physical description of Big Brother is reminiscent of
   Joseph Stalin or Lord Kitchener. His moustache is also
                 similar to that of Adolf Hitler.
                 Eastasia, Eurasia, &

         Big Brother

Oceania                 Eurasia     Eastasia

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                    Literary Focus

• Conflict
               A conflict, between opposing forces, exists at the center
  of every plot. Conflicts can be internal or external. An internal
  conflict occurs within a character who, for example, struggles to
  accept reality or to understand a new idea. An external conflict
  occurs between 2 characters or between a character and nature,
  society, or fate.
               For example, Winston’s struggle to understand his past
  behavior with his mother and sister is an internal conflict for
  Winston. His struggles to meet with Julia while avoiding detection by
  the Party, on the other hand, are an example of an external conflict.
• Connotation
               Besides its denotation, or dictionary definition, a word
  carries with it various connotations. Connotations are the
  association that a word takes on in a specific context. For example,
  George Orwell describes Winston ―embellishing‖ news items at his
  job. Denotatively, the word embellishing means ―improving by adding
  details.‖ The reader understands, however, that the connotations of
  the word embellishing-as the word relates to Winston’s job-suggest
  falsifying and outright lying.
• 1984 tells the story   1. Name possible
  of the main               characteristics of
  character’s               such an
  desperate struggle        oppressive regime.
  against a political    2. Briefly describe
  system that seeks         what life might be
  to eliminate              like in such a
  individual freedom.       society.
• One central          1. Are there any such
  concern of 1984 is      organizations in
  the control of          our own society?
  individual’s         2. Can you think of
  thinking by             subtle ways in
  organizations and       which our own
  institutions.           thinking is
                          ―controlled‖ every
                         The Power of
                     Language and Meaning
• Orwell was very aware of the power of language, so for the
  totalitarian government of the future he created a new language
  called Newspeak. Newspeak is used throughout the book by the
  citizens of Oceania and explained in detail in an appendix.
• The basic idea behind Newspeak is to take all words that refer to
  ideas the Party disagrees with and strip them of their original
  meaning or eliminate them entirely. The purpose of Newspeak is to
  narrow the range of ideas that can be expressed, so as the language
  develops it contains fewer and fewer words. Word forms and
  grammar are simplified, as is pronunciation. Newspeak also contains
  words to express new ideas, such as oldthink, which means the way
  people thought before the revolution.
• Simplistic slogans replace more complicated ideas. The Party's most
  famous slogans are "War Is Peace," "Freedom Is Slavery," and
  "Ignorance Is Strength."
• Through the device of a fictional language, Orwell is able to point out
  that language can be misused to mislead people. In creating
  Newspeak, Orwell was influenced both by political rhetoric that takes
  the place of substantive communication and advertising lingo that
  makes ridiculous and vague promises.
                                                 Ministries of Oceania
                            ―Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, Ministry of Truth with
                               lies, Ministry of Love with torture and Ministry of Plenty with
                                        Oceania's 4 ministries are housed in huge pyramidal
                            structures. The ministries' names are ironic antonyms of the true
                                                    nature of their actions.
                                                      Examples of
                                                      Double Think

            Ministry of Peace          Ministry of Plenty           Ministry of Truth           Ministry of Love
                (Minipax)                 (Miniplenty)                  (Minitru)                   (Miniluv)

                                                                                   Responsible for
                           Responsible for           Controls information:
                                                                                  the id, monitoring,
Conducts Oceania’s            rationing              news, entertainment,
                                                                                  arrest and torture
   perpetual war         and controlling food          education, and
                                                                                    of dissidents,
                             and goods.                 the fine arts.
                                                                                  real or imagined.

                                          Winston Smith
                                           Works for the
                                        Records Department
                                             of Minitru
                             International Relations
International Relations
• The world of Nineteen Eighty-Four exists in a state of perpetual war between
   the 3 major powers. At any given time, 2 of the 3 states are aligned against
   the 3rd; however, as Goldstein's book points out, each Superstate is so
   powerful that even an alliance of the other 2 cannot destroy it, resulting in a
   continuing stalemate. From time to time, 1 of the states betrays its ally and
   sides with its former enemy. In Oceania, when this occurs, the Ministry of
   Truth rewrites history to make it appear that the current state of affairs is
   the way it has always been, a perfect example of doublethink.
• Goldstein's book states that the war is not a war in the traditional sense,
   but simply exists to use up resources and keep the population in line.
   Victory for any side isn't attainable or even desirable, but the Inner Party,
   through an act of doublethink, believes that such victory is in fact possible.
   Although the war began with the use of atomic weapons in the 1950s, none
   of the combatants use them any longer for fear of upsetting the balance of
   power. Relatively few technological advances have been made (the only two
   mentioned are the replacement of bombers with "rocket bombs" and of
   traditional capital ships with the immense "floating fortresses").
• The war, may be entirely, or in part, fiction. The whole Earth may well be
   controlled by one state which pretends to exist as three states, perpetually
   warring in order to maintain the climate of fear needed for totalitarian rule.
               Is Thought Free?
• In Winston’s journal he explains
  thoughtcrime: Thoughtcrime does not entail
  death. Thoughtcrime IS death. The Thought
  Police have two-way telescreens (in the
  living quarters of every Party member and
  in every public area), hidden microphones,
  and anonymous informers to spy potential
  thought-criminals who might endanger The
  Party. Children are indoctrinated to
  informing; to spy and report suspected
  thought-criminals — especially their
                   4 Major Themes to
                 Write each question and answer in complete sentences.
1.       Individuality can be          2. Language is a
         destroyed by a                   powerful tool for
         political system.                controlling how
                                          people view the world.
     –     Do you believe this
           could be true?                   –   How does language
     –     Who might believe this               shape your view of
           statements more                      reality?
           readily than others?             –   Do you think that a
                                                broader vocabulary
                                                would increase or
                                                decrease your ability to
                                                understand the world
                                                you live in?
                4 Major Themes to
              Write each question and answer in complete sentences.
3. A knowledge of the              4. People can be forced
   past is essential for              to give up their beliefs
                                      and even alter their
   evaluation the                     feelings if their
   present.                           survival is
   –   What connections can           threatened.
       exist between past and           –   What kinds of beliefs or
                                            feelings might be easier
       present events?                      to give up? Most
   –   In what way does a                   difficult?
       knowledge of history             –   Do you have beliefs
       help you understand                  that you would not give
                                            up under any
       current events?                      circumstances?