This novel is based on totalitarianism, hope, despair, love, power, oppression and suppression.
This novel revolves around Winston Smith and his stubborn and rebellious attitude towards the Party. The party is established by Big Brother who is a fictional character in the novel, a character whose description or visibility is not mentioned.
The Party controls people’s lives, what they read, speak, do or think. It restricts the freedom of thought so that they could eliminate the rebellious minds. For this, they coin their own language named Newspeak. The main purpose behind coining a new language is to reduce/ control the thoughts of people (like there is no word for equality, free, liberty, or justice). They invent the audiovisual device Telescreen to monitor every action of people. They use doublespeak/ doublethink, to hold two contradictory ideas simultaneously and believe both of them, to forget the past and lose their independent thoughts. The past is supposed to be rewritten in such a way that the party smells strong. The character of Goldstein is created for that purpose. It believes in “who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” There are three slogans the Party holds:
“War is peace.” It means that constant warfare circumstances are necessary to keep society at peace. “Freedom is slavery.” It depicts the only way to be free is to avoid independent thoughts and coalesce with the party. “Ignorance is strength.” It means the division of class can never be changed. The middle wants to replace the high and they pretend to support the low and then a new middle class arises but the plight of the low will never change. Low/Proles are too fools to stand up for themselves.
In general, the party detects and interdicts every belief that contradicts the party. People are intimidated that if they were found disobeying the party, they would be sent to dreadful room 101 as severe punishment.
Winston grows up hating the party. He is frustrated by the all-time present Big Brother and Telescreen which detects his every action. He knows whatever the world he lives in is invasive and repressive and he fears the consequences of his revolt but he cannot do anything against it. He keeps a diary where he writes their thoughts and feelings which is a severe thought crime. He sees hopes in proles to overthrow the Party one day and writes in his diary “If the only hope lies, it is in proles.”
With loving Julia, he starts to find a new purpose. Julia possesses the same attitude as Winston. She is anti-party, rebellious and stubborn and she is also afraid in a similar way to Winston. Afterwards, during the days spent with Julia, one day he is arrested by the Party where he is being castigated physically, emotionally and psychologically by the Party. In the prison, he thinks about Julia and wishes to double his sufferings for Julia. He meets O’Brien in the prison who enlightens Winston about the Party and its purposes. He tells him about the goal of holding doublespeak slogans, how three states are in constant Warfare State, and how the party controls everything. When O’Brien utters the words Winston wrote in his diary, Winston gets shocked at how the Party controls even the bottled-up thoughts he wrote in his diary. He asks certain questions to Winston and tries to change his answers. Winston keeps suffering till he confesses, changes his beliefs favouring the Party and loves Big Brother. At last, he accepts the Brotherhood and starts loving Big Brother.
This novel is so frightening and depressing yet it is worth reading. It is something that depicts that it is possible to be ruled by one dictator who controls everything happening in life. This novel has changed my vision of society. It sounds warning to the human race. It is not easy to get this novel since it contains a plethora of jargon but once we start it, we can’t keep this out of hands. I was expecting the happy end but no it is not like that. The ending is also terrifying because Winston who revolts against the Party gives in to the Party at the end and starts doing what the Party wants. But it is a read which would change your views about society.
This is highly recommended. Go for it.
Lemme share some quotes I loved about this:
“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”
“Freedom is to say 2+2=4”
“If they could make me stop loving you-that would be the real betrayal.”
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