Book Review: 1984 By George Orwell

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Written by George Orwell, a British journalist, and author, the novel 1984 is a fictional book about a corrupt society controlling everyone’s thoughts and core values. This fiction book follows our main character Winston and the average, middle-class person that everyone reading it can relate too. He is just trying to navigate himself through this corrupt, insane society. The author, George Orwell, published this book in 1949 right after World War Two. His ideas of a corrupt society were inspired by leaders Adolf Hilter and Joesph Stalin. For example, in the book the superstate, Oceania is constantly changing relations with the other two superstates, Eurasia and East Asia. This relationship was inspired by how at the time Germany and Russia were constantly changing relations during the Second World War. Another example is the thought police which is inspired by Russias NKVD, which arrested anyone who made negative comments about the soviet union. He despised the ideas of totalitarianism and wanted to spread a message that totalitarianism is a huge threat to society. This novel explores many sides of this dystopian civilization including recurring themes of oppression, freedom, and corruption. 1984 has many strong themes of love, corruption totalitarianism, manipulation, and individuality.

The novel begins with Winston an average citizen, living in the totalitarian superstate Oceania. Airstrip 1 (formerly Britain) is the part of Oceania where he lives. The society is controlled by the party, who arrests, tortures, and kills anyone who does anything against the government ideologies. Crimes include rebellious thoughts against the party or disagree with them in any way. Winston secretly hates the party and is a thought criminal. He continues his boring, depressing life at the ministry of truth where he rewrites the past until he meets Julia a young worker and O’Brien. At first, he suspects that she is a spy for the thought police and that O’Brien works for the rebellion against the party. One day, Winston receives a note from Julia saying that she loves him. They then begin an illegal affair, as the party only allows relationships for reproduction and not for pleasure. They meet in an old room above an antique shop owned by a man named Mr. Charrington. They then go to O’Brien’s house believing that he works for the rebellion against the party and takes an oath swearing there allegiance to the brotherhood. Mr. Charrington turns out to be a spy for the thought police and Julia and Winston are arrested. Once Winston arrives at the ministry of love to be tortured, it is revealed that O’Brien was never an agent for the brotherhood and that he was actually working for the thought police the whole time. Obrien then explains to Winston that all the party cares about is power and that before they kill Winston they want to cure him of his thought crimes and they want him to truly believe that the party is good. After months of being physically and mentally tortured into believing the party’s ideologies, Winston is released even though they will execute him sooner or later. He then realizes that he really does love the party after it is announced that Oceania has won a victory in Africa.

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The main character Winston, although he has character traits and goes through growth throughout the novel, is very basic, generic and overall just an average person. Just like other average people he has character traits and goes through growth but there is nothing specifically special about Winston. However, the character Winston’s purpose was not to be a complex character, he was meant to be a character that everyone could relate too. The character Winston created an effect on every person who read this book which proves how brilliant Orwell really is. 

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