SUMMARY AND GENERAL V?EW OF 1984
Winston Smith lives in a dystopic country.
The Party leaded by Big Brother governs Oceania. He works for Records Department
of the Ministry of Truth. He rewrites documents such as newspapers considering
the Party’s wishes.
Winston starts to keep a diary. He
thinks that a Party member whose name is O’Brien may be taking place in a
secret resistance group called the Brotherhood.
He starts to have a secret sexual
relationship with a woman named Julia. They start to meet in a rented room. Owner
of the room is secretly a member of the Thought Police. Then, O’Brien invites
them to the Brotherhood.
Then they get caught by a hidden
camera in their room. Winston and Julia gets arrested for their actions and cross-questioned.
O’Brien turns out to be a loyal Party member and he tortures Winston in the Ministry
of Love till he weakens and goes back on Julia. Instead of being killed
immediately, they are brainwashed. At the end, Winston turns out to be a part
of the system. Although there is love in the depths of his heart, it is
completely erased from the mind. After his release, Winston starts to love Big
The novel is accused of being against
socialism. Orwell, opposed to this: “I did not mean an attack on socialism
or on the British Workers’ Party, but I touched upon partial disruptions in
communism and fascism, and the fact that the story of the book takes place in
England is to emphasize that English- speaking races are not superior to the
others and oppressive regimes can win a victory in any place as long as they
are not resisted.”
The novel written in 1948, a dystopia
for 1984 and is a critique of a totalitarian regime. The slogan “big brother
is watching you” that it puts forth has not lost much interest. In the
novel, the world is made up of only 3 great states and there is a pressure that
arises from the fact that these states are in constant battle with each other.
IDEOLOGIES, IDEAS AND GENERAL
SITUATION IN THE NOVEL
The book is a dystopia. The
author builds a utopian world to destroy. It is an undesirable system desired
not to come true and a pit that humanity should not roll.
There are a few similarities
between 1984’s Oceania and Stalin’s regime. Like Stalin, the Oceanian
government adopts features of fascist and communist authoritarianism. One of
them glorifies the sagacity of the leader, and the other glorifies the impeccability
of the Party. Big Brother is treated as a wise and an idol leader. In addition,
some points of the Oceanian system, such as and the forced labor camps and the
Three-Year Plans appear to be hidden references to Stalin’s features. Moreover,
both regimes consistently denigrate their enemies, as the Party and Big Brother
do in 1984, via daily mass propaganda, Two Minutes Hate and Hate Week and It is
even suggested that Big Brother, with his dark hair and heavy mustache, is
inspired by Stalin’s face.
The official ideology is
British Socialism, and the party without any opposition to the administration,
that is, the party with absolute dominion, takes its name from this ideology
(in the name of INGSOC).
There are no ideological
differences among the three great states Oceania, Eurasia and East Asia, all of
which have the same world view and the same system. This worldview and system
are defined as “oligarchic collectivism”. The dominant class of
oligarchic collectivism is the environment of the new aristocrats who seize
power after the capitalist class has been destroyed by the lower and middle
classes. This environment tyrannizes the proletarians, which constitute
eighty-five percent of the country’s population. It also uses the peoples of
the buffer zones, which are not even citizens, as slaves.
The author establishes the
reality of his novel on some principles. The future of mankind is to live under
a constant pressure; equality, freedom and peace are dream; exploitation, war,
repression and inequality will last forever; this constant pressure pattern
will be established after the fall of the capitalist class. It is impossible to
resist this order of repression as people will always betray each other;
proletarians and colonial peoples can never become self-aware and oppose
exploitation and oppression.
In 1984, Old-Language has been
abandoned and a New-Language is adapted. It is aimed at getting people to be
tied up with the past and making them more controllable with these tricks. It
has been desired that people narrow their vocabulary, speak with less words,
and be left stuck in their thought by making them faithful to the Great Brother’s
regime. The reprogramming of people’s memories, the rewriting of the history by
the Oceania Real Ministry; reveals how important the communities’ ties with the
past are. Every despotic and totalitarian regime will define the history,
language and geography in a way that is not related to the past.
There are four ministries such
as Ministry of Truth (Minitrue), Ministry of Peace
(Minipax), Ministry of Plenty (Miniplenty), Ministry of Love (Miniluv).
Minitrue’s aim is to rewrite
the past. In order for the state propaganda’s being effective and anything that
can show that party is wrong; old newspapers, films, photographs are
rearranged. Old information is completely destroyed and new and edited
information is added.
Minipax’s aim is to fight. The
presence of the ministry is crucial in terms of the continuity of the state.
For this reason, Oceania is at war with one of the other two states. The
constant warfare is a perfect tool for public propaganda. From the public
tele-screens, the public has been given the information that wars have always
Miniplenty is responsible for
the economy. It is responsible for providing the public with access to food,
utensils and goods. They produce food and goods of the kind that is always be cheap
and disgusting. So people will always be poor and hungry. Because managing poor
people is easier than richer ones. People are never allowed to make direct
Miniluv is the most terrible
of all ministries. There is no glass in the building, and it is filled with
barbed wire, steel doors, concealed machine guns and black uniformed police. There
is Room 101 in the building, which is the biggest nightmare of every citizen.
The public is divided into
three social classes; the members of the Internal and External Party, and the
proletarians. The members of the Inner Party, which make up 2% of the
population, govern the state, make laws, and make important decisions together.
They live in beautiful homes and have servant and quality food. The members of the External Party live like a
middle class civil servant and have no right to say anything. They are obliged
to implement state policies. There are two bad habits the party has allowed
them to do: drink Victory Cigarettes and Victory Gin. Everything else is
forbidden. Marriages are not found right. The proletarian is a poor working
class that makes up 85% of the population. According to the party, it is the
lowest segment of the people. The party has left the proletariat alone. They
are not able to rebel. According to the ideology of the state; “The
proletarians and the animals are free.” Indeed it is. They live in great
poverty without realizing anything.
To sum up, in general, the book
emphasizes that a single human model exists and that the current administration
can maintain its existence as a great power by erasing the history and memory
of the people. We may think that this work is a fiction, but it is also
necessary to question the similarities we have seen with the present world, and
whether we live in a dystopic system or not. Orwell describes a world where he
speaks of a society sought to be deprived of individual and social memory so
that reality can be kept under control. Undoubtedly, such efforts are similar
to the breaking up of people from their real history through the formal history
lessons of today’s nation-states and official history institutions and school
curricula, through the breaking of formal language institutions and official
language trainings and their own peoples into consciousness and memory from
their mother tongue.
ZEYNEP ?EYMA MASCA, 20140210033,