George Orwell Anti-utopian Reality in 1984 Novel

The widespread publication of military literature during the twentieth century offered readers a plethora of volumes to choose from on these subjects. Some authors, when examining the political reality of their respective eras, take positions on both the pro and con sides of militaristic nations and operations. Among them was George Orwell, who wrote a novel about the future relevant to all centuries and political powers. The book 1984 (published in 1949, immediately following World War II) is about a character who must survive the pressures of an oppressive government.

Orwell depicts an invisible battle between the individual and the system throughout the story. The novel is quite dark, heavy, and depressing. Under enormous pressure, the story’s protagonist betrays his love, admits that 2+2=5, and glorifies his oppressors. He can’t afford to make an extra move, step, or look because Big Brother is watching. The reader may be scared while reading the book, but failing to do so will blind us all to the potential dangers of this world.

It would be a mistake to believe that 1984 refers to a specific social totalitarian state that no longer exists. Resistance to oppression was relevant before the Soviet Union. There are many occasions when this principle is still applicable, and it will continue to be applicable regardless of how democratic and liberal our society profess to be. That is why 1984 has been, is, and will continue to be a desk companion for many readers worldwide.

 

Characters and Roles in 1984

The characters in the book each serve particular roles and purposes in the text, so let’s first go over the plot of 1984. The book discusses a possible scenario for the world’s development. Following several bloody wars and revolutions, the Earth was divided into three superstates known as Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia. Their alfa governments are constantly at odds with one another. Such never-ending conflicts are required to divert the population’s attention away from poor internal public management and deplorable living conditions in the counties. More significantly, the existence of the war permits the federal government to exert complete authority over the citizens of the states affected by the conflict.

 

Winston Smith Character Analysis

The novel’s protagonist lives in one of these “superstates,” Oceania. He is 39 years old, thin, and has a somewhat unhealthy appearance on his face. Winston Smith is a member of the Ministry of Truth’s staff, a government institution that works around the clock to rewrite history and destroy facts that are unfavourable to the government. Every day, Winston alters the past with his own hands, bringing it into line with the new standards created by the ruling party.

In addition to working relentlessly to change the history, the Ministry of Truth is dedicated to spreading the beliefs and ideologies of the country’s political elite. Mr. Smith can’t help but wonder if what’s going on is right when he sees such truth tailoring and past elimination daily.

His soul sprouts a seed of suspicion and doubt, prompting him to begin writing a diary. This diary is the only place where Winston expresses his feelings about his job, life, and government, and it marks the beginning of his protest.

The protagonist must exercise extreme caution and write in complete secrecy, hiding from other people and devices. As stated in Part 1 Chapter 1, his television is not only a tool for providing him with accurate information, but it also spies on him:

“The telescreen received and sent information at the same time. Any sound that Winston produced, above the level of a very faint whisper, would be caught up by it; furthermore, as long as he remained inside the range of vision specified by the metal plate, he would be able to be both seen and heard.”

Anything he writes in his diary is a heinous crime punishable by the death penalty.

 

Analysis of Big Brother Characters

Oceania’s supreme ruler is Big Brother. He has no tolerance for individualism or diversity, and he sees no need for opinion pluralism. Also in place in the country is an extensive network of spies and instruments to ensure that every move his countrymen make is tracked, controlled, and if necessary, restrained by the authorities. The Spies and the Party adore him:

Part 1, Chapter 2 of the book

All of it seemed to them like a great and beautiful game — “the singing and dancing, the parade and banner-wavering, the hiking and mock rifle drilling, the shouting of slogans, the adoration of Big Brother.”

It is impossible to do anything privately in Oceania:

  • All houses are made of glass.
  • All walls are wiretapped and monitored.
  • The Thought Police watch every citizen’s every move.

There is, however, a distinction in how Big Brother treats various classes of its citizens. Winston and Julia, for example, often choose secret places for datings, such as the countryside or other areas where typically low-class labor workers hang out because the state doesn’t have as much security there. Low-wage workers are thought to have a lower propensity to think, so they are considered a lower-risk population.

Big Brother is Oceania’s ultimate leader; he is akin to God, and the ultimate goal is to please him. All of Big Brother’s and the Party’s mistakes and loopholes are rewritten, just like newspapers. His images can be found everywhere, and all slogans bear his name. He is Oceania’s sole source of information, faith, and worship.

 

Character Analysis of O’Brien

O’Brien is an undercover party agent. He secretly works for the Thought Police, looking for people considering rebellion. He is well-mannered, reserved, and has a muscular physique. He makes a concerted effort to oppose the Party and Big Brother. Because he is the devil’s agent, his role is comparable to that of Mephistopheles in the Faust mythological story.

In the novel, O’Brien is both a character and a concept. He infiltrates Smith’s dreams and leads him to believe that he does not share Party ideas; he relentlessly pushes Smith to give birth to his unspoken conflict. When Smith and Julia are ready, he invites them to join the insurgency. Later, O’Brien will personally supervise his captors’ torture, gradually killing any traces of personality or think in them.

 

Goldstein, Emmanuel Character Evaluation

Emmanuel Goldstein once led the Party that brought it to power. Now he is in exile and represents the only available opposition. He founded a group called “Brotherhood,” which the Party declares to be the Enemy of the People. No one knows for sure whether the organization exists or what it does. Goldstein is a fictitious magnet for potential opponents; he serves to gather all those who oppose the Party under one roof to be destroyed.

The Party expends considerable effort in publicly broadcasting hate clips about Goldstein and the Brotherhood to bait those seeking allies to create a rebellion.

The Party expends considerable effort in publicly broadcasting hate clips about Goldstein and the Brotherhood to bait those seeking allies to create a rebellion.

 

Parsons, Tom Character Evaluation

Winston’s next-door neighbours are Tom Parsons and his wife, Mrs. Parsons. Tom is the polar opposite of Smith in that he blindly follows the Party and never doubts Oceania for a second. He is dedicated to the war against other states and will do whatever he can to help Oceania win.

He raised a daughter who, to his surprise, is every bit as strong and committed to Oceania as her parents are. On one occasion, she betrays her father by informing the Thought Police that Parsons cursed Big Brother in his sleep, which leads to his arrest. To add to the irony, Orwell makes Tome incredibly proud of his daughter for “doing the right thing.”

 

Julia Personality Analysis

Julia is another one of 1984’s main characters. She is 26 years old and works in the Fiction Department for the Ministry of Truth. She writes novels about her country and its ruler’s greatness. She has a lot of sexual experience and seduces Party members. She is intuitive, irrational, and full of unbridled desire and energy. She is far more daring and daring than her lover Smith. She is the one who tells Winston about her feelings and takes him out of town.

It isn’t easy to elaborate on the nature of Julia and Winston’s relationship because they are the only creatures in this book with souls. So, it’s understandable that they met and grew fond of each other. Who knows if they would have felt the same way about each other if they had other options? The main point made by Orwell is that in an authoritarian government like Oceania, finding people who think and have their own opinions is extremely rare.

Julia’s sexual and emotional liberation is her means of revolting against the severe rule imposed by her society. She wishes to devote her energy to love, emotions, memories, and enjoyment rather than to the adoration of Big Brother and Oceania. And it only adds to the reader’s angst when, in the end, she succumbs to O’Brien’s tortures and says in Part 3 Chapter 6:

“You believe there is no other way to save yourself, and you are completely prepared to save yourself in this manner. This is something that you wish would happen to the other person. You couldn’t give a fig about what they’re going through. “You are only concerned about yourself.”

 

Charrington, Mr. Character Evaluation

Mr. Charrington owns a thrift store in a parole district. Proles are the majority of Oceania’s population who are not members of the Inner Party (those who rule) or Outer Party (those who serve the rulers) and are thought to be incapable of thinking or posing a threat to the government. However, in Part 1 Chapter 7, Winston stated in his diary that the proles might rebel and bring the Party down one day:

“There’s hope, it lies in the proles.”

Winston purchases his diary from Mr. Charrington, which marks the start of Winston’s journey into critical thinking and rebellion. Winston will later rent a room upstairs above the shop to meet Julia there.

Winston trusts Mr. Charrington because he keeps the past (second-hand items) and thus keeps the past intact at a time when Oceania is doing everything it can to change or destroy the past. Winston even believes Mr. Charrington is a member of the Brotherhood. But, as it turns out, he is a police informant who observes everything Winston and Julia do in his shop.

 

Complete Synopsis

Following World War II, Great Britain’s civil war ended, resulting in its occupation by a new superstate – Oceania. Oceanians live under the rule of a single Party’s ideology. Big Brother, the Party’s ruler, and personification is the leader.

The Party is divided into three sections: the Inner Party (the 2% of the ruling population), the Outer Party (the 13% who implement their policies), and the rest, known as the proles, who have no opinion or importance. However, not all members of the Outer Party agree on the Party’s ideology. Winston Smith is a member of the Ministry of Truth who challenges the Party’s authority to rule and tell him what he should do. But he recognizes that he has no one with whom he can discuss his concerns. So he writes down his thoughts in a diary, which is also a risky move.

Smith notices one day that his colleague Julia is paying close attention to him. He is initially concerned that she has caught him and will hand him over to the Thought Police. However, after some time, he discovers a love note from her. They begin a secret relationship that the government forbids. They hide and fantasize about revolution. Smith believes their relationship will not end well because such encounters between men and women are strictly prohibited in Oceania.

They eventually meet O’Brien, a representative of a genuine revolutionary movement, who gives them a book on the philosophy of the upcoming rebellion. Through Police officers discover the pair when they are reading a book in a room they booked for dating purposes. The so-called revolution movement representative was nothing more than a Big Brother set-up to find and eliminate potential rebels.

Julia and Winston are imprisoned and cruelly tortured by the government. They succumb to the tortures and betray one another. In the end, Winston and his ex-girlfriend Julia both praise Big Brother’s majesty and power, and they both sincerely believe that their country is doing well. Winston is “cured” of his revolutionary thoughts thanks to the Through Police. Smith initially believes that he sacrificed Julia and his freedom to avoid torture. Still, after his release, he realizes that he is now the right man who sincerely believes in Big Brother and the Party.

 

Themes 

1984 The first theme is war. Despite the fact that the author created his dystopian classic in 1948, he modifies the last two digits of the year in which the book is published. The first theme in the text is war – 1948 is the year following one of the greatest tragedies in human history, the Second World War. The year when the world watched in terror as two massive military powers, the United States of America and the Soviet Union, emerged. Regardless of the fascist movement’s victory or defeat, people tired of the loss and tragedy caused by WW2 felt helpless in the face of a potential World War 3. The danger was in the air, the exhaustion was in the minds, and the terror was in practically everyone’s nightmares all over the world, and it was particularly bad in the United States. 1984 was just one of many pieces of military literature that heavily explored one of the possible scenarios that were about to occur.

There were three states in 1984, two of which are allies and one of which is an enemy. Alliances shift frequently, and yesterday’s partner can become an enemy the next day. The war and conflict provide Oceania with a compelling reason to ignore food shortages, constant surveillance, and other social issues. The war ensures internal order in Oceania – how can a loyal citizen undermine his own country when it is at war with an external foe?

Theme 2 of 1984: Control. During the last quarter century of the twentieth century, dictatorship and the right of any institution or individual to exercise control over people were hotly debated topics of discussion. The problem is that some people dislike making decisions because they imply responsibility. As a result, they welcome others to make decisions for them, and society accepts it as their right to employ predetermined solutions. But, over time, such willingness to let others make your decisions can become a dangerous overcontrolling net. Oceania did not appear overnight; instead, a series of events led to its current state. Orwell elaborates in 1984 on the consequences of the war between authoritarian states and how easy it is to resort to tyranny “for the greater good of society.”

Oceanian citizens are wholly united with their government: if they follow the government, they have nothing to worry about, nothing to hide, and nothing to think about. They are the state, and the state is at war, so they will also win if Oceania wins. The control chain is indefinite.

The third theme of 1984 is mind control through the Newspeak language. Another theme heavily explored by Orwell was creating a new language for Oceania called Newspeak, which aided in the overwhelming control over social life. The ruling Party’s new English Socialism ideology was imposed by creating its language, in which each word and the grammatical rule was carefully handpicked. When the events in the book occurred, the new language was being introduced: it appeared in the newspapers, and party members would not pass up an opportunity to incorporate a phrase or two into their speeches. By 2050, Newspeak was supposed to have replaced Oldspeak (the standard English language known and spoken today and in the 1980s). That would be yet another Oceanian victory over people’s minds and freedoms.

The fourth theme of 1984 is “New and Improved Truth.” Employees of the Ministry of Truth change the news to keep society in place and ensure that the country is not disrupted and remains focused on the war with another state. They rewrite yesterday’s newspapers every day, backdate them, and republish them.

The concept of altered truth is also revealed because Winston is not a particularly good character. He wishes to be able to think and love, but the truth is that he has a lousy personality: he used to steal food from his mother and sisters, and he ran away from home. And the readers aren’t sure if he regrets it or not.

 

Symbolism in 1984

Telescreen

In the novel, telescreen TV is portrayed as a “smart” device spying on all Oceania citizens. It was a device that performed both functions: a television that displayed images and a video camera that recorded and transmitted images to the Thought Police. In 1984, the television became a symbol of absolute propaganda and total control, and the absence of privacy. Surprisingly, very few proles had telescreens (due to their lower risk of rebellion), and party members had a switch that could turn off the screen for no more than 30 minutes per day.

 

The Big Brother

One recognizable face appeared on various propaganda materials (posters, TV clips, newspapers, etc.). These materials persuaded citizens of Oceania’s greatness while conveying the message that “he is always watching” everyone. It’s a message of hope (the country will be great one day) and desperation (you are being watched 24 hours a day, seven days a week). Big Brother is a symbol of Oceania’s national plan; he is an idol, a person who rose to enormous power not due to his leadership abilities but as a result of Oceania’s inhumane treatment of its citizens.

 

Absurdity and inconsistency

The symbolism in 1984 rejects and mocks all of life’s typical concepts. Everything in Oceania has flipped: the Ministry of Love tortures Winston and eventually forces him to betray Julia, while the Ministry of Truth lies to Oceanians daily. The war is freedom, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is bliss – Oceania has risen to such prominence in society that it has the power to decide what people believe. There is no room for logic or critical thinking; war is peace, and two plus two equals five. The greatest freedom for Orwell’s characters is the ability to feel safe (as long as no reason or thinking is involved) and that there is nothing to hide, that everything is open to the public.

 

The Memory Gap

Winston’s job was to change the news to reflect the reality that Oceania desired its citizens to see. There were three holes in the wall in his office: one for notes on changes that needed to be made, one for newspapers that needed to be edited, and one for recycling all materials. As symbols of ways to destroy and alter the memories of thousands of people, they were dubbed “memory holes.” Memory holes are also symbols for Oceania’s distorted communication channels used to brainwash its citizens.

 

The Singing Prole Woman in Red Arms

The woman from the lower worker class (prole) represents potential rebellion. Winston believed that proles would rebel one day and that proles were Oceania’s best hope for regaining its civic freedoms. Her female ability to give birth is a symbol that a thought can be born within the minds of the proletariat and that new generations can see the world without being entirely controlled by Big Brother.

1984 is a book that will live on in perpetuity. It will appeal to readers from various countries, backgrounds, and political perspectives. It is a manual for government managers on how to compel citizens to obey. It’s also a vivid demonstration to citizens of how the government can force them to do whatever they want. It’s a frightening but true story, cruel but eye-opening, and it changes the way we think about our fundamental freedom rights. This book teaches us to appreciate what we have: the ability to choose our friends, love the people we find attractive, do what we want, think, speak, and make decisions in our lives.

 

Varicose Ulcer of Winston

Winston’s medical condition represents his suppressed feelings and desires. It is an outward manifestation of his inner turmoil. From one perspective, a varicose ulcer symbolizes Smith’s sexual desire, which is illegal to display in Oceania. On the other hand, it’s a manifestation of Winston’s discontent with what’s going on around him, a visible physical repercussion of living under total control.

 

2+2=5

When the Thought Police tortured Winston, he was forced to admit this famous calculation. This represents a striking false statement socially accepted in a totalitarian society.