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1984 Book Summary

1984 Book Summary

1984 Book Summary

1984 By George Orwell


The book is set in Oceania

Main characters

Winston Smith- he is A minor member of the ruling Party in near-future London. Winston is a thin, contemplative, and intellectual thirty-nine-year-old.

Julia- she is Winston’s lover. Julia is a beautiful dark-haired girl working in the Fiction Department at the Ministry of Truth.

O’Brien- he is a mysterious, powerful, and sophisticated member of the Inner Party whom Winston believes is also a member of the Brotherhood, the legendary group of anti-Party rebels.

Mr. Charrington- he is an old man who runs a secondhand store in the prole district.

Syme- is an intelligent, outgoing man who works with Winston at the Ministry of Truth.

Parsons- he is an obnoxious and dull Party member who lives near Winston and works at the Ministry of Truth.

Emmanuel Goldstein- is the legendary leader of the Brotherhood. Emmanuel seems to have been a Party leader who fell out of favor with the regime.

Big Brother- he is the perceived ruler of Oceania and an extremely important figure.


Plot Summary

Oceania is governed by the all-controlling Party, which has brainwashed the population into not thinking of disobeying its leader, Big Brother. The Party has created a propaganda language known as Newspeak, which is designed to limit free thought and promote the Party’s doctrines. The language’s words include doublethink; belief in contradictory ideas simultaneously, which is reflected in the Party’s slogans: “War is peace,” “Freedom is slavery,” and “Ignorance is strength.” The Party maintains control through the Thought Police and continual surveillance.

Winston Smith, the hero in the novel, is a minor party functionary who lives alone in a one-room flat in a squalid apartment complex called Victory Mansions. He belongs to the Outer Party, and his job is to rewrite history in the Ministry of Truth, bringing it in line with current political thinking. However, Winston’s longing for truth and decency leads him to secretly rebelling against the government. He gets into a forbidden affair with Julia, a like-minded woman, and they rent a room in a neighborhood populated by proletariats. Winston also becomes increasingly interested in the Brotherhood, a group of dissenters. However, Unknown to Winston and Julia, they are being watched closely. They are warned through posters throughout the city warning residents that “Big Brother is watching you.”

The trap is set When Winston is approached by O’Brien, an official of the Inner Party who appears to be a secret member of the Brotherhood. O’Brien is actually a spy for the Party, on the lookout for “thought-criminals.” Winston and Julia are eventually caught and sent to the Ministry of Love for a violent re-education. The subsequent imprisonment, torture, and re-education of Winston are not only intended to break him physically or make him submit but to root out his independence and destroy his dignity and humanity. Winston panics as a cage of rats is attached to his head In Room 101, where prisoners are forced into submission by exposure to their worst nightmares. He yells out for his tormentors to “Do it to Julia!” and states that he does not care what happens to her. With this betrayal, Winston is released. He later encounters Julia, and neither is interested in the other. Winston, whose experiences have turned him into an alcoholic, gazes adoringly at a portrait of Big Brother, whom he has at last learned to love.


  1. Freedom of Expression. Throughout the book, Winston yearns to break away from the gaze of Big Brother. This eventually brings him into direct conflict with the Ministry of Love and society itself. All societies strike a balance between personal freedom and the needs of society. Laws and social norms keep individuals in line so that the balance remains intact. Individuals who purposely cross the line, and suffer the consequences.
  2. Appearances and Reality. The main way through which Big Brother keeps control in society is through the manipulation of reality. History, language, news, mathematics, and truth itself are subject to the goals of Big Brother. All meaning comes from society, and this reaches the ultimate point where individuals do not seek their own meanings but only accept the meanings given to them.
  3. Love and Relationships. Winston and Julia defy Big Brother with their love affair. They seek comfort in each other’s arms but ultimately, their relationship cannot withstand the pressures of their jobs and the conformity around them

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