communism : is the political belief that all people are
equal and that workers should control the means of producing things.
socialism : socialism is a set of left wing political
principles whose general aim is to create a system in which everyone
has an equal opportunity to benefit from a country's wealth. Under
socialism, the country's main industries are usually owned by
totalitarianism : totalitarianism is the ideas, principles,
and practices of a totalitarian political system.
totalitarian : A totalitarian political system is one
in which there is only one political party which controls everything
and does not allow any opposition parties.
propaganda : propaganda is information often inaccurate
or biased information, which a political organisation publishes
or broadcasts in order to influence people.
satire : satire is the use of humour, irony, or exaggeration
in order to show how foolish or wicked some people's behaviour
or ideas are.
a satire : a satire is a play, film or novel that
uses satire to criticise something.
utopia : utopia is an imaginary world where society is
perfect and everyone is happy.
oligarchy : an oligarchy is a small group of people who
control and run a particular country or organisation.
fascism : fascism is a set of right-wing political beliefs
that includes strong control on society and the economy by the
state, a powerful role for armed forces and the prevention of
proletariat : lowest class of community, people without
Eric Arthur Blair (George Orwell) : born 1903 Bengal, India and dies
1935 : A Clergyman's daughter
1938 : Homage to Catalonia
1945 : Animal farm, satirising communism
totalitarianism = Nazism
Communism = Stalinism
democratie = socialism during World War II
Victory Square = Trafalgar Square
Written in 1948-49, this novel vision of the future.
Hierarchy of characters
3 main characters : Winston, Julia and O'Brien.
secondary characters :
Other important character : the proles.
Big Brother = paradox of dictator.(Usually one looks up to a person
and sees them, here he is completely absent).
Party themes :
Power for Power
Control of individual
Mutability of the past
Ingsoc : English socialism
- novel of ideas.
- novel is weak because characters are representations of mankind
and lack a sense of personality.
- Winston is narrow minded (Orwell uses this)
Winston would be a martyr had O'Brien killed him directly.
His evolution throughout the novel :
- he's an average man
- he sensed that there was a time when things were better.
- concerned with individual freedom and expression => diary
- starts to remember because of the diary
- his love for Julia expands to a world of feelings. He makes his
dream come true and wishes he could control the past.
- remembers his love for his mother, his cruelty and selfishness towards
his sister and threw guilt and he acquires a dignity. He is capable
of feeling sorrow.
- he vows to remain true with Julia and therefore not to betray her.
- the punishment he endures in the Ministry of Love erodes all the
dignity he has acquired. He is nothing but a "recked peace of humanity"
by the time he faces the mirrors.
- he betrays Julia just as he had betrayed his sister.
- he loves Big Brother.
- any form of totalitarianism threatens the uniqueness of the individual.
- none of us are free of this power of oppression.
- message : people must fight against the state that controls the
- represents the ideology of the party.
- represents pure intellect.
- is magnetic in character.
- member of the Inner Party but Winston felt he's understood him for
- plays very manipulative games
- Winston admires him because he has an old fashion of being.
- head of the Ministry of Love
- The relation between O'Brien and Winston is that of the torturer
and the tortured.
- Winston feels a sense of admiration to him because threw O'Brien,
his deception is released. Winston welcomes the punishment as he sees
it as the punishment of the bet rails of his mother, sister and Julia.
Winston does want to be human anymore. It is easier to be part of
the Party than to oppose it.
- By becoming his torturer, O'Brien becomes his saviour. He thus loves
him all the more.
- no intellect => rebels sexually but not intellectually.
- the foil (somebody who shows a character up by contrast) to Winston.
- Orthodox loyalist
- example for the party
- subjugation though culture drugging.
- not loyal to party but to one another.
- only Proles and Animals are free = they are both unconscious =>
neither can rebel.
- => irony : power to rebel lies with them.
- they don't need to be part of the party.
- the culmination of the proles takes place at the end of the novel,
when the fat women is singing.
=> Orwell is a socialist and thus admires Proles // workers.
- first sign of rebellion
- dream of O'Brien
- dream of Mother = guilt : now he has no dignity => evolves into
the dream of the Golden country
Device by which the author draws themes together and underlines
certain ideas so that the construction of the novel becomes complete.
1. The Golden country
The dream with his mother evolves to the dream of the golden
country, a romantic vision of the old European pastoral landscape that
symbolises peace, beauty, unity, uniqueness.
The fact that one could be in harmony in this land is important.
The dream is the direct opposite to the reality he has to life threw
day in day out. This reality is one of darkness, cruelty. The dream
of the golden country is very Freudian as it reveals Winston's subcontious.
In this dark reality, the only thing one can resort to is his dreams,
as sort of private rebellion. Dreams are special and cannot be taken
from you, unless you share them, mistake that Winston commits with
2. The glass paperweight
1st passage (p.96) : the dream of the Golden Country.
2nd passage (p.154) : the love between Julia and Winston
p.232 : how small he is against the party.
3. Room 101
The book is divided in three equal parts all very specific.
There are thus three main movements :
- description of main character against the setting. Emphasis on setting
: a regimented world. Last from the 4th to the 6th of April = 2 days.
- transformation of Winston's life through temporary happiness (Julia).
This part lasts from April to August = 5 months.
- imprisonment, torture and final abandonment of intellectual integrity
= ugliness. Lasts from August to May = 9 months.
Three stages of reintegration into society :
1. Learning :
Winston is washed clean of rebellious thoughts. He has to learn that
the party controls reality and there is no such thing as objective thought.
The individual mind and memory needs to be controlled. Winston learned
through love that being human means being consistent, remembering things
and understanding why, it is against the party's logic : mind's capacity
for judging is nonsense. Memory, facts and logic do not matter.
2. Understanding : Why the party exists?
For the good of the people, because men are frail, weak, cowardly and
have no self control so they need to be controlled for there own good.
Added to this, the Party want's power : "power is not a means but an
end", but Winston still thinks that the Party will be overthrown : he
believes in the spirit of man. O'Brien destroys this belief when he
makes Winston watch himself in front of the 3 mirrors.
3. Acceptance :
O'Brien cauterises Winston's love for Julia. At the end Winston is
white as snow because he loves Big Brother. His left to be shot sooner
Message of 1984 :
Human spirit in general does not fare very well. Behind 1984, there
is a sense of injustice, a tormented sense of the way political systems
suppress individual thought. Man's inhumanity to man. The political
structure is based on a lie. Orwell's aim as a writer was to say the
truth, show the contradiction in our political life. The solitary person
who rises is always defeated. Winston becomes immortal for what he represents;
he made a point against the system.