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1984 Plot Summary

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Alex Keats

on 23 July 2014

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Transcript of 1984 Plot Summary

1984 Plot Summary
The book takes place in London, England in 1984. Although it’s based in 1984 it was published in June of 1949. The book is about a government party called “The Party” which is run by a man named “Big Brother”. This party has control over everything in London from the history and language to the way you are allowed to think and feel.



In the beginning of the book, Winston feels frustrated by the oppression and rigid control of the Party, which prohibits free thought, sex, and any expression of individuality. Winston doesn’t like the party and purchased a diary (which is illegal) in which to write his criminal thoughts. He has also became very intrigued with a powerful Party member named O’Brien, who Winston believes is a secret member of the Brotherhood.




Winston works in the Ministry of Truth, where he alters historical records to fit the needs of the Party. He notices a coworker, a beautiful dark-haired girl, (Julia) staring at him, and worries that she is an informant who will turn him in for his thoughtcrime.


O’Brien confirms to Winston and Julia that, like them, he hates the Party, and says that he works against it as a member of the Brotherhood. He initiates Winston and Julia into the Brotherhood, and gives Winston a copy of Goldstein’s book, the manifesto of the Brotherhood. Winston reads the book to Julia in the room above the store. Suddenly, soldiers barge in and seize them.

Torn away from Julia and taken to the Ministry of Love, Winston finds that O’Brien is a spy who simply pretended to be a member of the Brotherhood in order to trap Winston into committing rebellion against the Party. O’Brien spends months torturing Winston, who struggles to resist. At last, O’Brien sends him to the daunting Room 101, the final destination for anyone who rebels against the Party. Here, O’Brien tells Winston that he will be forced to face his worst fear. O’Brien now straps a cage full of rats onto Winston’s head and prepares to allow the rats to eat his face. Winston snaps, pleading with O’Brien to do it to Julia, not to him.
Winston believes that "a civilization built on fear, hatred and cruelty will never endure."

He states that the reason behind this is because the spirit of Man will bring upon their downfall and that he is a representation of that spirit.
The theme of governing with the use of fear is one of the most important themes in this novel. Orwell actually published the book to show what the world would be like if Stalin, Mussolini or Hitler had succeeded in conquering most of the world. Orwell wanted to show through Winston that a government that instills fear in it's people is one that will not last

Some examples of these governments include Mussolini's reign during World War 2. He was shot next to his wife and around 15 other members and ministers of the Italian Social Republic. His corpse was then hung upside down and stoned.
Another example would be Joseph Stalin. Stalin ruled by making his people fear him. Millions of his own citizens died during his brutal reign. Like Big Brother, he plastered images of himself everywhere and made himself out to be a god like figure. Once he died of natural causes, the Soviets put in place a "de-Stalinization" process.

Finally, the most famous example of leading by fear and hatred and cruelty is the country of Germany under the power of Hitler. Hitler alienated people of Jewish faith and made his citizens hate them. He openly executed them and grouped them in concentration camps where they would await their death. Hitler's reign brought war upon his country and with the loss of this war came debt (reprimands) and the loss of many German lives.

Adolf Hitler is the one that most resembles Big Brother. They were both master propagandists. Hitler burned literature and made people believe what he told them. Big Brother did the same, he makes his people believe whatever he says is true and erases stories of the past.
This can be seen when one of the Inner Government states, "In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy — everything. Already we are breaking down the habits of thought which have survived from before the Revolution. We have cut the links between child and parent, and between man and man, and between man and woman."

Hitler also wanted uniformity across all of his nation. He wanted the perfect, Aryan race. This is similar to how B.B basically programmed his people to be all the same and have the same values
- 2x2x4 tower
- One tower is made of wood with 2 stone blocks and 2 brick blocks on top
- The other tower is made of stone blocks with 2 brick and 2 wood blocks
- Must be free standing
- No talking
- 45 seconds
- In the dark


- 2x2x4 tower
- One tower is made of wood with 2 stone blocks and 2 brick blocks on top
- The other tower is made of stone blocks with 2 brick and 2 wood blocks
- Must be free standing
- 45 seconds
- Lights on
When the lights were off, this represents the totalitarian government. They hide the truth from it's people. They instill fear into the body they are governing and filter what they want you to hear.
Fear is a common motive in totalitarian governments. This is because fear is used as a deterrent. When you do what the government wants you are rewarded but if you disobey them you are severely punished. This fear of being punished creates and alpha - omega relationship, giving all of the power to the government
In his first inauguration speech he stated that, "So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."
By this he means that fear causes all advancements and progress to stop in it's tracks. This may be one of the reasons that Winston hated the Party so passionately. O'Brien even confirms that the Party makes only progress towards more pain.
Orwell, like Roosevelt wanted to rid the world of totalitarianism and prevent the three major european dictators from conquering their desired land. By stating something so similar to what Roosevelt said, Orwell helps get across the message that the world would make no progress if totalitarianism took over.
Winston states that a society built on fear and hatred would crumble and not be able to sustain itself. He thinks this because as O'Brien said the only progress will be "progress towards more pain".
Orwell uses the novel to portray what life would be like if the dictators of World War II had won. He models Big Brother after characteristics seemingly from Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin.
Finally he discusses the increase in pain and the decrease in mercy. As previously mentioned this relates to Roosevelt's famous quote of "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself". This is how we interpreted the quote from Winston regarding a fearful society.
Lots and lots of words
Fear in governments is bad
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We definitely were able to fill all of the boxes...
Big brother is bad and he is watching you.
f

f

f

f

f

f

Summary Continued
Summary Continued
Summary Continued
Summary Continued
Summary Continued
O'Brien just wanted Winston to turn on Julia. After he did, they let him go because he was of no use to them anymore. He still met up with Julia but didn't feel any of the feelings he felt about her in the beginning.
Summary Finished (Finally)
Fear In Governments
Governing Using Fear
Benito Mussolini
Joseph Stalin
Adolf Hitler
Hitler and Big Brother
Comparison Between Hitler and Big Brother
Comparison Between Hitler and Big Brother
Activity Number 1
Activity Number 2
Moral of the Activity
Moral of the Activity
Fear
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt Continued
O'Brien Supports the Party
Orwell and Roosevelt Continued
Conclusion
Conclusion
Conclusion
Conclusion
Conclusion
Questions
T
T
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T
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One day, Winston receives a note from Julia that reads “I love you.” They begin to have a secret affair, always on the lookout for signs of Party monitoring. This relationship lasts for some time. As Winston and Julia continue with their affair, his hatred for the Party grows more and more intense. At last, he receives the message that he has been waiting for: O’Brien wants to see him.
When the lights are on, this represents an honest government. One that tells its people the truth and allows free communication and communities to build.
He states, "A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but MORE merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress towards more pain." This is very similar to what Roosevelt said and may be one of the reasons that Orwell included it. Roosevelt made the statement in 1933. This book was published in 1949 after WWII.
His dislike also comes from the idea that everybody is manipulated to being the same, almost like how Hitler wanted only the Aryan race to be in existence.
If we let fear overcome us, we submit ourselves to those who take advantage of others. If we remain unscathed in the face of fear than as a society progress will continue to be made in the proper direction.
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