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. 1.

Nineteen Eighty-Four (sometimes 1984) is a darklysatirical political

novel by George Orwell. The storytakes place in a nightmarish dystopia,
in which anever-surveillant State enforces perfect conformity among
citizens through indoctrination, fear, lies and ruthless punishment.It
was first published on June 8,1949, is Orwells most famouswork, and is
the inspiration of the word "Orwellian."
. 2. The texte introduces the concepts of the ever-present and all-seeing
Big Brother, the thought police who use telescreens, found almost
everywhere and the fictional languageNewspeak.
. 3. Orwell had originally chosen the year 1980 for hiswork. But as the
writing dragged on due to theprogression of his pulmonary Tuberculosis,
Orwellchanged it to 1982 and then to 1984..
. 4. Along with Aldous HuxleysBrave New World, the world of1984 is
one of the first and mostcited characterizations of a realistic dystopia to
have appeared in English literature. It has been translated into
. 5. The world described in this texte has striking and deliberate parallels
to the Stalinist Soviet Union;notably, the themes of abetrayed
revolution, whichOrwell put so famously inAnimal Farm, the
subordination of individuals to "theParty," and the extensive and
institutional use ofpropaganda, especially as it influenced the
maincharacter of the book, Winston Smith.The World of Nineteen
. 6. The Ministries of OceaniaOceanias four ministries are housed in huge
pyramidal structuresdisplaying the three slogans of the party on their
sides.The Ministry of PeaceMinipax is the newspeak name for the
Ministry of Peace, which concerns itselfwith making warThe Ministry of
PlentyMiniplenty in Newspeak, it is the ministry involved in
maintaining ubiquitouspoverty in OceaniaThe Ministry of TruthMinitrue
is the propaganda arm of the Ingsoc State. They distribute the
leaflets,porno, and of course the telescreens. Winston Smith spends his
daytime hours“correcting” historical records in Minitrue.The Ministry of
LoveMiniluv is a gigantic windowless building devoted to torture and
brutality. Thehome of the thought police, it is surrounded by a maze of
barbed wire andmachinegun towers.
. 7. Orwells InspirationTo understand why Orwell wrote Nineteen
Eighty-Four, onehas only to look at his less famous writings:
mostsignificantly, Homage to Catalonia does a lot to explain hisdistrust
of totalitarianism and the betrayal of revolutions;Coming Up For Air, at
points, celebrates the individualfreedom that is lost in Nineteen
Eighty-Four; and his essay“Why I Write” explains clearly thatall the
"serious work" he had writtensince the Spanish Civil War in 1936was
"written, directly or indirectly,against totalitarianism and
fordemocratic socialism.”
. 8. However, the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four also reflectsvarious
aspects of the social and political life of both theUnited Kingdom and
the United States of America.Orwell is also reported to have said that
the bookdescribed what he saw as the actual situation in theUnited
Kingdom, where he lived, in 1948, where rationingwas still in place,
and the British Empire was dissolvingat the same time as newspapers
were reporting itstriumphs.At the time Orwell had also been working
for theoverseas service of the British Broadcasting Corporation(BBC)
which may help to explain one of hisinterpretations of four
keyministries that governed theworld of Big Brother.
. 9. Parody of the 1941"Four Freedoms“The structure of
thegovernment resembled aparody in reverse of thefamous 1941 USA
State ofthe Union speech byFranklin Delano Roosevelt.In that speech
before theassembled Congress, thepresident outlined FourFreedoms:
. 10. "The first is freedom of speech and expression –everywhere in the
world. The second is freedom of everyperson to worship God in his own
way – everywhere inthe world. The third is freedom from want,
which,translated into world terms, means economicunderstandings
which will secure to every nation ahealthy peacetime life for its
inhabitants – everywhere inthe world. The fourth is freedom from fear,
which,translated into world terms, means a world-widereduction of
armaments to such a point and in such athorough fashion that no
nation will be in a position tocommit an act of physical aggression
against anyneighbor – anywhere in the world."
. 11. George Orwell appears to have taken this 1941 speechand used it,
along with his own experiences at the BBC,to create by reversal, the
four key ministries ofgovernment in the novel Nineteen
Eighty-Four.Each is focused on an object in exquisite irony,
utterlyantithetical to its name so that the Ministry of Truth isconcerned
with lies, an idea that Orwell seems to havegained by his work at the
BBC.The Ministry of Truth as a Ministry ofLies would also be a parody of
thefirst of the four freedoms: "freedomof speech."
. 12. "The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war," wrote Orwell.A
few years earlier, Roosevelt had described the fourth of hisfreedoms as
being "freedom from fear." Reality said otherwiseand so did Orwell in
describing the "Ministry of Peace.""... the Ministry of Love," wrote Orwell,
was in realityconcerned "with torture." The second of the four
freedomsaddressed the issue of religion. If "God is love" then
the"Ministry of Love" could be interpreted as mocking that idealas
well.Finally, Orwell described the "Ministry of Plenty" as dealing
inreality "with starvation." The third of Roosevelts four
freedomsaddressed the issue of freedom from want. Orwell seems
tohave heard these words with a sarcastic mindset.
. 13. The PartyIn his novel Orwell creates a world in which citizens
haveno right to a personal life or personal thought. Leisureand other
activities are controlled through strict mores.Sexual pleasure is
discouraged, with females beingtaught not to enjoy it; sex is retained
only for the purposeof reproduction.The menacing figure of BigBrother
has been variouslyinterpreted to be that ofSoviet leader Josef Stalinand
BBC design departmentsRoy Oxley.
. 14. The mysterious head of government is the omniscient,omnipotent,
beloved Big Brother, or "BB." Big Brother isdescribed as "a man of about
forty-five, with a heavy blackmoustache and ruggedly handsome
features."He is usually displayed on posters with the slogan
"BIGBROTHER IS WATCHING YOU."His nemesis is the hatedEmmanuel
Goldstein, a Partymember who had been inleague with Big Brother
andThe Party during therevolution. Goldstein is saidto be a major part
of theBrotherhood, a vastunderground anti-Partyfellowship.
. 15. The three slogans of the Party, visible everywhere, are:•WAR IS
definition these words are antonyms, in the world of1984 the world is
in a state of constant war, no one is free, andeveryone is
ignorant.Through the universality of the extremes the terms
becomemeaningless, and the slogans become axiomatic.They echo the
slogan "Arbeit macht frei" ("Work MakesFreedom") on the gates of
Auschwitz and other Naziconcentration camps; the slogans are obvious
non sequitursbeing passed off as truth by a totalitarian power.This type
of semiconscious lie, and the deliberate self-deceptionwith which the
citizens are encouraged to accept it, is calleddoublethink.
. 16. The world is controlled by three functionally similarauthoritarian
superstates engaged in perpetual war witheach other: Oceania (ideology:
Ingsoc – EnglishSocialism), Eurasia (ideology: Neo-Bolshevism)
andEastasia (ideology: Death Worship or Obliteration of theSelf).In
terms of the political map of the late 1940s when thebook was written,
Oceania covers the areas of the BritishEmpire and Commonwealth, the
United States of Americaand Latin America; Eastasia corresponds to
China,Japan, Korea, and India, and Eurasia corresponds to theSoviet
Union and Continental Europe.The United Kingdoms placement in
Oceania rather thanin Eurasia is commented upon in the book as
anundisputed historic anomaly.
. 17. Political Geography in the world ofNineteen Eighty-Four
. 18. London, the novels setting, is the capital of theOceanian province
of Airstrip One, the renamed Britainand Ireland. Goldsteins book
explains that the threeideologies are basically the same, but it is
imperativeto keep the public uninformed about that. Thepopulation is
led to believe that the other twoideologies are detestable.
. 19. NewspeakNewspeak, the "official language" ofOceania, is
extraordinary in that itsvocabulary decreases every year; thestate of
Oceania sees no purpose inmaintaining a complex language, and
soNewspeak is a language dedicated to the"destruction of words." As the
characterSyme puts it:
. 20. "Of course the great wastage is in the verbs andadjectives, but
there are hundreds of nouns that can begot rid of as well... If you have a
word like good, whatneed is there for a word like bad? Ungood will do
justas well... Or again, if you want a stronger version ofgood, what sense
is there in having a whole string ofvague useless words like excellent and
splendid and allthe rest of them? Plusgood covers the meaning,
ordoubleplusgood if you want something stronger still....In the end the
whole notion of goodness and badness willbe covered by only six words;
in reality, only one word."(Part One, Chapter Five)
. 21. The true goal of Newspeak is to take away the ability toadequately
conceptualize revolution, or even dissent, byremoving words that could
be used to that end. Since thethought police had yet to develop a
method of readingpeoples minds to catch dissent, Newspeak was
createdso that it wasnt even possible to think a dissentingthought. This
concept has been examined (and widelydiscounted) in linguistics.
(Sapir-Whorf hypothesis)
. 22. TechnologyThe world of Nineteen Eighty-Four is foremost a
political,not a technological, dystopia. (Hence it can be quiteinaccurate
to refer to it whenever there are concerns aboutnew technologies.) The
technological level of the societyin the novel is mostly crude and less
advanced than in thereal 1980s. Apart from the telescreens and
speech-recognizing typewriters, it is no more advanced than inwartime
Britain. Living standards are low and declining,with rationing and
unpalatable ersatz products; in thatregard, Orwells vision is
diametrically opposed to thetechnological hedonism of Brave New
. 23. None of the three blocs has much genuine interest intechnological
progress, since it could destabilize theirgrip on power.Nuclear weapons,
in particular, are avoided in theperpetual war, since its whole point is to
be indecisive.The technologies that are employed are obsolete
andperhaps deliberately wasteful, such as huge floatingfortresses.This
stagnation is related to what is perhaps the mostfrightening aspect of
the novel: for all their brutality, theregimes are not going to burn
themselves out instrategically significant conquests or technological
armsraces. Rather, they have reached a stable equilibrium thatcould last
for ever.

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