Mrs. N Finley
E209-W2-1984 Website Project Group #9
24 January 2018
The novel is set in a dystopian future, in the year
1984. In this world, Big Brother, a tyrannical overruling force, controls
everything. Telescreens are everywhere, watching everything and everyone. If
you do anything suspected to be against Big Brother, you will be vaporized.
Winston Smith is a member of the Outer Party, working in the Records Department
in the Ministry of Truth. His job is to rewrite history and any evidence that
goes against Big Brother’s claims. To escape Big Brother’s rule by fear and
conformity, Winston writes in a diary, an act punishable by death. Winston
wants to live his own life in this lifeless world, but his every move is
watched. No place is safe.
Winston is at the Two Minute’s Hate one day when he
notices two distinct faces. He exchanges glances with O’Brien, an inner party
member, and has an unexplainable feeling that he also hates Big Brother.
Winston also sees a dark-haired woman who he immediately takes hatred towards.
He suspects that she is his enemy, and she wishes for his demise.
A few days later, the dark-haired woman, Julia,
secretly hands him a note that reads, “I love you.” Winston eventually goes to see
Julia, and she develops a complex plan, so they can be alone.
After their first meeting, Winston and Julia meet in
the countryside and make love, starting their allegiance against Big Brother.
Winston manages to rent out a room above a shop without a telescreen, where
Julia and Winston can be alone.
Eventually, Winston and Julia admit to O’Brien that
they hate the Party and Big Brother. They both believe that O’Brien is a member
of the Brotherhood, a secret organization that aims to bring down the Party.
O’Brien welcomes them into the Brotherhood with questions and arranges for
Winston to be given a copy of “The Book,” the Brotherhood’s core book written
by their leader, Emmanuel Goldstein, who used to be an ally of Big Brother, but
he turned into an enemy.
Winston receives “The Book,” and reads it with Julia
sleeping at his side. Not too long afterward, they discover a hidden telescreen
behind a painting! The Thought Police seize both Julia and Winston. Winston
finds himself alone in a cell deep within the Ministry of Love, a kind of
prison with no windows.
Finally, O’Brien comes. Initially, Winston believes
that O’Brien has also been caught, but he soon grasps the O’Brien is there to
torture him. The Party had been aware of Winston’s “crimes” all along. In fact,
O’Brien has been observing Winston for the past seven years.
O’Brien spends months torturing Winston. He is trying
to make him obey all orders, including the order to believe whatever Big Brother
says. O’Brien wants Winston to use doublethink, a way of thinking in which one
can believe in two conflicting ideas at one time. Winton is resilient, but so
Eventually, O’Brien takes Winston to room 101. This
room in the most feared room, where prisoners meet their worst fear. For
Winston, his greatest fear is rats. O’Brien puts a wire mesh mask on Winston
and threatens to release rats on Winston’s face. Winston screams, “Do it to
Julia!” With this, he surrenders his last trace of humanity.
Winton is changed. He sits in the Chestnut Tree Café,
watching the telescreens and reflecting on the results of daily battles. He saw
Julia again. She is also changed, seeming older and less attractive. She
confesses that she also betrayed him. In the end, there is no doubt, Winston
loves Big Brother.
Eric Arthur Blair was the son of a British civil
servant. He spent his first days in India, where his father was stationed. His
mother brought him and his older sister, Marjorie, to England when he was about
a year old. He didn’t really know his father until he retired from the service
in 1912, but the pair never formed a strong bond.
According to one biography, Blair’s first word was
“beastly.” Although a sick child, he began to write at a young age and aspired
to be a writer. He was sent to boarding school, where he noticed that the
school treated the richer students better than the poorer ones. Even though he
wasn’t known to be popular, he won scholarships to Welling College and Eton
After his schooling, he joined the India Imperial
Police Force. He spent five years in Burma, and then resigned his post and
returned to England. Although he intended to become a writer, he struggled to
get his career off the ground. His first book revealed brutal truths about the
lives of the working poor. Not wishing to embarrass his family, he published
under the pseudonym George Orwell.
Despite several sicknesses, Orwell took on various
writing assignments to support himself. Orwell got a job with BBC as a
producer. He loathed the “useless” work and resigned after two years. Orwell
married Eileen O’Shaughnessy, and adopted a son, Richard Horatio Blair. He was
raised by Orwell’s younger sister, Avril, after Eileen’s death.
Shortly before his death, he proposed to Sonia
Brownell, who inherited Orwell’s estate. She made a career out of managing his
Interestingly enough, Orwell experienced the
surveillance he wrote about. The Soviet Union had an undercover agent spying on
Orwell, and the police in his own country paid attention when Orwell visited
coal miners in 1936 while gathering information for The Road to Wigan Pier
The Labour Party became the main opposition to the
Conservative Party in the early 1920s, forming minority governments under
Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and from 1929 to 1931. This party sparked conflict,
and many suspected Orwell to have sided with one Party over the other, receiving
close watch from the other opposing Party.
The BUF emerged in 1932 from the British far-right.
Although met with popular support initially, the party became increasingly
radical. The party’s embrace of Nazi-style anti-Semitism led to increasingly
violent clashes with opponents. Orwell was suspected to be a left-sympathizer,
which caused trouble for him. This radical conflict intensified the suspicion
towards him, causing secret surveillance and some hatred toward his works.
The Gresford disaster occurred on 22 September 1934 at
Gresford when an explosion killed 266 men and boys. Its cause was never proved,
but some say that failures in safety procedures and poor mine management were
contributory factors. Gresford is one of Britain’s worst coal mining disasters.
These harsh conditions in the mines inspired Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier
(1937). Orwell was reportedly seen visiting coal miners to gather information
for this book.
Near the end of Bedazzled (1967), when Stanley, the
character played by Dudley Moore, is shown his private room at the convent, he
sees a poster above his bed. On the poster is a photograph of Peter Cook, under
which reads the caption, “Big Sister Is Watching You.” This is a
clear reference to the “Big Brother is Watching You” posters featured in
George Lucas’s THX 1138 features an underground
civilization under heavily surveillance and by containing any form of emotion,
including love. This references Big Brother’s surveillance and control. The
society was described as eliminating the emotions of everyone, including
Winston and Julia’s love for each other.
In SCTV’s 1984: Big Brother episode, the fictional
local TV channel turns into a telescreen at the stroke of midnight, January 1,
1984, and its programming becomes “Orwellian;” it’s revealed to be a nightmare
experienced by station manager Edith Prickley. This reflects the strictly
planned telescreens in Orwell’s novel, which drill false information into
everyone’s minds. Worst of all, they can never be turned off.
to the Truman Show
The principle characters of both 1984 and the Truman
Show are strictly monitored by a central authority force.
In both the Truman Show and 1984, human beings are
controlled in a way that makes them robotic. Each main character does the same
things each morning before work, like everyone in their society. This strict
society of conformity is shared in both mediums.
In each case, 1984 and the Truman Show, no one can be
trusted. That is because in the book anyone can turn anyone in for thought
crime. In the show, everybody is an actor and even Truman’s friends couldn’t be
trusted, due to the fact that he obeyed what the director advised him to do, so
he might obey the director instead of his friends.
Both governments rule by fear. In the book, the
authorities purposely bomb parts of the metropolis, and the Ministry of Love
punishes all who might be against the party. Within the show, when Truman tries
to break out, the director and creator do everything to scare him to make him
stop trying to leave.
Inside the show and in the book, no one was permitted
to move away. In the show, when Truman tries to book a flight to Fiji, they do
not allow him to do so. In 1984, if someone attempted to leave the they would
get tortured, killed or put in jail for it, since almost everything is against
the law there.
Truman had better living conditions than Winston. He
had a pleasant house in a nice neighborhood.
Truman wasn’t as lonely as Winston. He had a best
friend, and he had a spouse that the directors assigned to him. Winston was
lonely, and the one he loved was taken from him.
In the Truman Show, there was no thought crime.
Something that the director did not like could be corrected without everyone
noticing. However, in the book, if an act against the Party was committed, the
man or woman might get punished or even killed.