1984 is a story about dictators who are in complete control of a large part of the world after the Allies lost in World War II. The government in this novel gives no freedoms to its citizens. They live in fear because they are afraid of having bad thoughts about the government of Oceania, a crime punishable by death. Winston the main character, is an ordinary man of 39 who is disgusted with the world he lives in. He works in the Ministry of Truth, a place where history and the truth is rewritten to fit the party’s beliefs. The facts–significant and insignificant are rewritten, they thoroughly destroy the records of the past, and they print up new, up to-date editions of old newspapers and books Their goal is to make people forget everything- facts, words, dead people, the names of places. People guilty of crimes (free thought) are erased from having ever existed. The Ministry of Truth allowed the controling powers to have control over its citizens using memory erasing techniques (ccognitive psychology). Winston is aware of the untruths, because he makes them true. This makes him very upset with the government of Oceania, where Big Brother, a larger than life figure, controls the people. Big Brother is the figurehead of a government that has total control. The Big Brother regime uses propaganda and puts fear in its citizens to keep the general population in line. Big Brother has a army of informers called thought police, who watch every citizen at all times for the least signs of thought that the goverment would not agree with(a thought crime). His dissatisfaction increases to a point where he rebels against the government in small ways. Winston’s first act of rebellion is buying and writing in a diary. This act is known as a thought crime and is punishable by death. Winston starts writing in a diary so he can difereniate between what has actually occured and what he is being programmed to believe. The other reason for the diary is so that people in the future will be able to read what really went on during Winston’s time. Winston commits many thought crimes and becomes paranoid about being caught. Meanwhile he notices a young woman paying him a great deal of attention, she is actively involved in many community groups and he feared that she had something to do with the thought police. Finally, while at work the young woman slipped him a note that read “I love you”. We then find out that her name is Julia, she is considered a sexual deviant. In the Oceania society sex is a forbidden act only allowed for reproduction purposes to keep the party’s numbers constant (love is also not allowed in this socity). Winston and Julia make plans to meet each other and carry on an illegal love affair. Winston rents a room where he and Julia can have rondavoues. The room is above an antique shop which he often frequents. The shop owner appears to be an old widower who enjoys having conversations with Winston, and is someone Winston trust. Winston also grows to trust a man named O’Brien, who indicates that he is another revolutionary. It turns out that the owner and OBrien both appear to be something that they are not. Orwell uses the shop owner and OBrien to illustrate a point. Orwell shows that no one can be trusted in a totalitarian country. The shop owner is actually a member of the Thought Police and gets a good laugh when Winston and Julia getting caught. Soon after that, they are caught by the Thought Police (and never see each other again). Winston descovers that O’Brien is also an informant to Big Brother. He becomes Winston’s torturer and rehabilitator for the next 9 months. O’Brien tortures Winston in stages. The first two stages are to force the party’s beliefs on him then learn and understand what is expected of him. In the third stage, Winston is made to face what he secretly fears most, rats eating his face. After being completely rehabilitated by O’Brien, Winston now loves the establishment and the government and he is set free.
George Orwell lived during a time when Europe was in a period of rebuilding after World War II. During that time Soviets gained six nations as satellites. The leader of the Soviet Union, Stalin, closely resembles Big Brother. They were both larger than life figures in there respective countries. In the Soviet Union you could easily have found large posters with Stalin’s face on them. The same holds true in 1984; Big Brother’s face is everywhere. A famous quote from 1984 is “Big Brother is watching you” (Orwell 5). Meaning if his Thought Police don’t catch you, his telescreens and hidden microphones would. In the Soviet Union, Stalin’s K.G.B. sought criminals who plotted against the government. In Stalin’s regime over 10 million people were killed. In 1984 hundreds of criminals were killed daily. Orwell may of have extracted what he saw in his world while writing but it was done to get people’s attention of problems in the existing world. Orwell saw, the whole world steadily moving toward a vast ruthless tyranny. He felt nothing could stop it’s monstrous progress. 1984, in spite of its setting in the future, was not primarily a utopian fantasy prophesying what the world will be like in thirty or forty years but a novel about what the world was like then.