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Nineteen Eighty-Four

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   1949 dystopian novel by George Orwell
   This article is about the 1949 novel by George Orwell. For the year,
   see 1984. For other uses, see 1984 (disambiguation).

   CAPTION: Nineteen Eighty-Four

   First-edition cover
            Author         George Orwell
         Cover artist      Michael Kennar
           Country         United Kingdom
           Language        English
     * Dystopian
     * political fiction
     * social science fiction

            Set in         London, Airstrip One, Oceania
          Publisher        Secker & Warburg
       Publication date
   8 June 1949 (1949-06-08)
          Media type       Print (hardback and paperback)
            Pages          328
             OCLC          470015866
        Dewey Decimal
         Preceded by       Animal Farm

   Nineteen Eighty-Four (also published as 1984) is a dystopian social
   science fiction novel and cautionary tale by English writer George
   Orwell. It was published on 8 June 1949 by Secker & Warburg as Orwell's
   ninth and final book completed in his lifetime. Thematically, it
   centres on the consequences of totalitarianism, mass surveillance and
   repressive regimentation of people and behaviours within
   society.^[2]^[3] Orwell, a democratic socialist, modelled the
   authoritarian state in the novel on Stalinist Russia and Nazi
   Germany.^[2]^[3]^[4] More broadly, the novel examines the role of truth
   and facts within societies and the ways in which they can be

   The story takes place in an imagined future in the year 1984, when much
   of the world is in perpetual war. Great Britain, now known as Airstrip
   One, has become a province of the totalitarian superstate Oceania,
   which is led by Big Brother, a dictatorial leader supported by an
   intense cult of personality manufactured by the Party's Thought Police.
   Through the Ministry of Truth, the Party engages in omnipresent
   government surveillance, historical negationism, and constant
   propaganda to persecute individuality and independent thinking.^[5]

   The protagonist, Winston Smith, is a diligent mid-level worker at the
   Ministry of Truth who secretly hates the Party and dreams of rebellion.
   He keeps a forbidden diary and begins a relationship with his colleague
   Julia, and they learn about a shadowy resistance group called the
   Brotherhood. However, their contact with the Brotherhood turns out to
   be a Party agent, and Smith is arrested. He is subjected to months of
   psychological manipulation and torture by the Ministry of Love and is
   released once he has come to love Big Brother.

   Nineteen Eighty-Four has become a classic literary example of political
   and dystopian fiction. It also popularised the term "Orwellian" as an
   adjective, with many terms used in the novel entering common usage,
   including "Big Brother", "doublethink", "Thought Police",
   "thoughtcrime", "Newspeak", and "2 + 2 = 5". Parallels have been drawn
   between the novel's subject matter and real life instances of
   totalitarianism, mass surveillance, and violations of freedom of
   expression among other themes.^[6]^[7]^[8] Time included the novel on
   its list of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005,^[9]
   and it was placed on the Modern Library's 100 Best Novels list,
   reaching number 13 on the editors' list and number 6 on the readers'
   list.^[10] In 2003, it was listed at number eight on The Big Read
   survey by the BBC.^[11]
   [ ]


     * 1 Writing and publication
     * 2 Plot
     * 3 Characters
          + 3.1 Main characters
          + 3.2 Secondary characters
     * 4 Setting
          + 4.1 History of the world
               o 4.1.1 The Revolution
               o 4.1.2 The War
          + 4.2 Political geography
          + 4.3 Ministries of Oceania
               o 4.3.1 Ministry of Peace
               o 4.3.2 Ministry of Plenty
               o 4.3.3 Ministry of Truth
               o 4.3.4 Ministry of Love
          + 4.4 Major concepts
               o 4.4.1 Big Brother
               o 4.4.2 Doublethink
               o 4.4.3 Newspeak
               o 4.4.4 Thoughtcrime
     * 5 Themes
          + 5.1 Nationalism
          + 5.2 Futurology
          + 5.3 Censorship
          + 5.4 Surveillance
          + 5.5 Poverty and inequality
     * 6 Sources for literary motifs
     * 7 Critical reception
     * 8 Adaptations in other media
     * 9 Translations
     * 10 Cultural impact
     * 11 Brave New World comparisons
     * 12 See also
     * 13 References
          + 13.1 Citations
          + 13.2 General and cited references
     * 14 Further reading
     * 15 External links
          + 15.1 Electronic editions
          + 15.2 Film versions

Writing and publication[edit]

   In January 1944, literature professor Gleb Struve introduced Orwell to
   Yevgeny Zamyatin's 1924 dystopian novel We. In his response Orwell
   expressed an interest in the genre, and informed Struve that he had
   begun writing ideas for one of his own, "that may get written sooner or
   later."^[12]^[13] In 1946, Orwell wrote about the 1931 dystopian novel
   Brave New World by Aldous Huxley in his article "Freedom and Happiness"
   for the Tribune, and noted similarities to We.^[12] By this time Orwell
   had scored a critical and commerical hit with his 1945 political satire
   Animal Farm, which raised his profile. For a follow-up he decided to
   produce a dystopian work of his own.^[14]^[15] In a meeting with
   Fredric Warburg, co-founder of his British publisher Secker & Warburg,
   shortly before the release of Animal Farm, Orwell announced that he had
   written the first 12 pages of his new novel. He could only earn a
   living from journalism, however, and predicted the book would not see a
   release before 1947.^[13] Progress was slow going; by the end of
   September 1945 Orwell had written some 50 pages.^[16] Orwell became
   disenchanted with the restrictions and pressures involved with
   journalism and grew to detest city life in London.^[17] His health also
   suffered, with the harsh winter worsening his case of bronchiectasis
   and a lesion in one lung.^[18]
   The novel was completed at Barnhill, Jura

   In May 1946, Orwell arrived on the Scottish island of Jura.^[15] He had
   wanted to retreat to a Hebridean island for several years, to which
   David Astor recommended he stay at Barnhill, a remote farmhouse on the
   island that his family owned.^[19] Barnhill had no electricity or hot
   water, but it was here where Orwell intermittently drafted and finished
   Nineteen Eighty-Four.^[15] His first stay lasted until October 1946,
   during which he made little progress on the few alredy completed pages
   and at one point, did no work on it for three months.^[20] After
   spending the winter in London Orwell returned to Jura; in May 1947 he
   reported to Warburg that despite progress being slow and difficult, he
   was roughly a third of a way through.^[21] He sent his "ghastly mess"
   of a first draft manuscript to London where Miranda Christen
   volunteered to type a clean version.^[22] Orwell's health took a turn
   in September, however, and was confined to bed with inflammation of the
   lungs. He lost almost two stone in weight and had recurring night
   sweats, but he decided not to see a doctor and continued writing.^[23]
   On 7 November 1947, he completed the first draft in bed and
   subsequently travelled to East Kilbride near Glasgow for medical
   treatment, where a specialist confirmed a chronic and infectious case
   of tuberculosis.^[24]^[22]

   Orwell was discharged in the summer of 1948, after which he returned to
   Jura and produced a full second draft of Nineteen Eighty-Four, which he
   finished in November. He asked Warburg to have someone come to Barnhill
   and retype the manuscript, which was so untidy the task was only
   possible if Orwell was present as only he could understand it. The
   previous volunteer had left the country and no other could be found at
   short notice, so an impatient Orwell retyped it himself at a rate of
   roughly 4,000 words a day during bouts of fever and bloody coughing
   fits.^[22] On 4 December 1948, Orwell sent the finished manuscript to
   Secker & Warburg and left Barnill for good in January 1949. He
   recovered at a sanitorium in the Cotswolds.^[22]
   A 1947 draft manuscript of the first page of Nineteen Eighty-Four,
   showing the editorial development

   Shortly before completion of the second draft, Orwell hesitated between
   two titles for the novel: The Last Man in Europe, an early title, and
   Nineteen Eighty-Four.^[25] Warburg suggested the latter, which he took
   to be a more commercially viable choice.^[26] The introduction to the
   2003 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt edition of Animal Farm and 1984 claims
   that the title Nineteen Eighty-Four was chosen simply as an inversion
   of the year 1948, the year in which it was being completed, and that
   the date was meant to give an immediacy and urgency to the menace of
   totalitarian rule.^[27] However, biographer Dorian Lynskey claims there
   is no evidence to support this "very popular theory": "This idea, first
   suggested by Orwell's US publisher, seems far too cute for such a
   serious book. [...] Scholars have raised other possibilities. [His
   wife] Eileen wrote a poem for her old school's centenary called 'End of
   the Century: 1984.' G. K. Chesterton's 1904 political satire The
   Napoleon of Notting Hill, which mocks the art of prophecy, opens in
   1984. The year is also a significant date in The Iron Heel. But all of
   these connections are exposed as no more than coincidences by the early
   drafts of the novel [...] First he wrote 1980, then 1982, and only
   later 1984. The most fateful date in literature was a late

   In the run up to publication Orwell called the novel "a beastly book"
   and expressed some disappointment towards it, thinking it would have
   been improved had he not been so ill. This was typical of Orwell, who
   had talked down his other books shortly before their release.^[28]
   Nevertheless, the book was enthusiastically received by Secker &
   Warburg, who acted quick; before Orwell had left Jura he rejected their
   proposed blurb that portrayed it as "a thriller mixed up with a love
   story."^[28] He also refused a proposal from the American Book of the
   Month Club to release an edition without the appendix and chapter on
   Goldstein's book, a decision which Warburg claimed cut off about
   -L-40,000 in sales.^[28]

   Nineteen Eighty-Four was published on 8 June 1949 in the UK; Orwell
   predicated earnings of around -L-500.^[28]^[29]^[30] A first print of
   25,575 copies was followed by a further 5,000 copies in March and
   August 1950.^[31] The novel had the most immediate impact in the US,
   following its release there on 13 June 1949 by Harcourt Brace, & Co. An
   initial print of 20,000 copies was quickly followed by another 10,000
   on 1 July, and again on 7 September.^[32] By 1970, over 8 million
   copies had been sold in the US and in 1984, it topped the country's
   all-time best seller list.^[33] In June 1952, Orwell's widow Sonia
   Bronwell sold the only surviving manuscript at a charity auction for
   -L-50.^[34] The draft remains the only surviving literary manuscript
   from Orwell, and is presently held at the John Hay Library at Brown
   University in Providence, Rhode Island.^[35]^[36]^[37]


   In 1984, civilisation has been ravaged by world war, civil conflict,
   and revolution. Airstrip One (formerly known as Great Britain) is a
   province of Oceania, one of the three totalitarian super-states that
   rule the world. It is ruled by "The Party" under the ideology of
   "Ingsoc" (a Newspeak shortening of "English Socialism") and the
   mysterious leader Big Brother, who has an intense cult of personality.
   The Party brutally purges out anyone who does not fully conform to
   their regime, using the Thought Police and constant surveillance
   through telescreens (two-way televisions), cameras, and hidden
   microphones. Those who fall out of favour with the Party become
   "unpersons", disappearing with all evidence of their existence

   In London, Winston Smith is a member of the Outer Party, working at the
   Ministry of Truth, where he rewrites historical records to conform to
   the state's ever-changing version of history. Winston revises past
   editions of The Times, while the original documents are destroyed after
   being dropped into ducts known as memory holes, which lead to an
   immense furnace. He secretly opposes the Party's rule and dreams of
   rebellion, despite knowing that he is already a "thought-criminal" and
   is likely to be caught one day.

   While in a prole neighbourhood he meets Mr. Charrington, the owner of
   an antiques shop, and buys a diary where he writes criticisms of the
   Party and Big Brother. To his dismay, when he visits a prole quarter he
   discovers they have no political consciousness. As he works in the
   Ministry of Truth, he observes Julia, a young woman maintaining the
   novel-writing machines at the ministry, whom Winston suspects of being
   a spy, and develops an intense hatred of her. He vaguely suspects that
   his superior, an Inner Party official O'Brien, is part of an enigmatic
   underground resistance movement known as the Brotherhood, formed by Big
   Brother's reviled political rival Emmanuel Goldstein.

   One day, Julia secretly hands Winston a love note, and the two begin a
   secret affair. Julia explains that she also loathes the Party, but
   Winston observes that she is politically apathetic and uninterested in
   overthrowing the regime. Initially meeting in the country, they later
   meet in a rented room above Mr. Charrington's shop. During the affair,
   Winston remembers the disappearance of his family during the civil war
   of the 1950s and his tense relationship with his estranged wife
   Katharine. Weeks later, O'Brien invites Winston to his flat, where he
   introduces himself as a member of the Brotherhood and sends Winston a
   copy of The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism by
   Goldstein. Meanwhile, during the nation's Hate Week, Oceania's enemy
   suddenly changes from Eurasia to Eastasia, which goes mostly unnoticed.
   Winston is recalled to the Ministry to help make the necessary
   revisions to the records. Winston and Julia read parts of Goldstein's
   book, which explains how the Party maintains power, the true meanings
   of its slogans, and the concept of perpetual war. It argues that the
   Party can be overthrown if proles rise up against it. However, Winston
   never gets the opportunity to read the chapter that explains 'why' the
   Party is motivated to maintain power.

   Winston and Julia are captured when Mr. Charrington is revealed to be a
   Thought Police agent, and imprisoned at the Ministry of Love. O'Brien
   arrives, also revealing himself as a Thought Police agent. O'Brien
   tells Winston that he will never know whether the Brotherhood actually
   exists and that Goldstein's book was written collaboratively by him and
   other Party members. Over several months, Winston is starved and
   tortured to bring his beliefs in line with the Party. O'Brien takes
   Winston to Room 101 for the final stage of re-education, which contains
   each prisoner's worst fear. When confronted with a cage holding
   frenzied rats, Winston betrays Julia by wishing the torture upon her

   Winston is released back into public life and continues to frequent the
   Chestnut Tree cafe. One day, Winston encounters Julia, who was also
   tortured. Both reveal that they betrayed the other and no longer
   possess mutual affections. Back in the cafe, a news alert celebrates
   Oceania's supposed massive victory over Eurasian armies in Africa.
   Winston finally accepts that he loves Big Brother.


Main characters[edit]

     * Winston Smith - the 39-year old protagonist who is a phlegmatic
       everyman harbouring thoughts of rebellion and is curious about the
       Party's power and the past before the Revolution.
     * Julia - Winston's lover who is a covert "rebel from the waist
       downwards" who publicly espouses Party doctrine as a member of the
       fanatical Junior Anti-Sex League. Julia enjoys her small acts of
       rebellion and has no interest in giving up her lifestyle.
     * O'Brien - A mysterious character, O'Brien is a member of the Inner
       Party who poses as a member of The Brotherhood, the
       counter-revolutionary resistance, to catch Winston. He is a spy
       intending to deceive, trap, and capture Winston and Julia. O'Brien
       has a servant named Martin.

Secondary characters[edit]

     * Aaronson, Jones, and Rutherford - former members of the Inner Party
       whom Winston vaguely remembers as among the original leaders of the
       Revolution, long before he had heard of Big Brother. They confessed
       to treasonable conspiracies with foreign powers and were then
       executed in the political purges of the 1960s. In between their
       confessions and executions, Winston saw them drinking in the
       Chestnut Tree Cafe--with broken noses, suggesting that their
       confessions had been obtained by torture. Later, in the course of
       his editorial work, Winston sees newspaper evidence contradicting
       their confessions, but drops it into a memory hole. Eleven years
       later, he is confronted with the same photograph during his
     * Ampleforth - Winston's one-time Records Department colleague who
       was imprisoned for leaving the word "God" in a Kipling poem as he
       could not find another rhyme for "rod";^[39] Winston encounters him
       at the Ministry of Love. Ampleforth is a dreamer and intellectual
       who takes pleasure in his work, and respects poetry and language,
       traits which cause him disfavour with the Party.
     * Charrington - an officer of the Thought Police posing as a
       sympathetic antiques dealer amongst the proles.
     * Katharine Smith - the emotionally indifferent wife whom Winston
       "can't get rid of". Despite disliking sexual intercourse, Katharine
       married Winston because it was their "duty to the Party". Although
       she was a "goodthinkful" ideologue, they separated because the
       couple could not conceive children. Divorce is not permitted, but
       couples who cannot have children may live separately. For much of
       the story Winston lives in vague hope that Katharine may die or
       could be "got rid of" so that he may marry Julia. He regrets not
       having killed her by pushing her over the edge of a quarry when he
       had the chance many years previously.
     * Tom Parsons - Winston's naive neighbour, and an ideal member of the
       Outer Party: an uneducated, suggestible man who is utterly loyal to
       the Party, and fully believes in its perfect image. He is socially
       active and participates in the Party activities for his social
       class. He is friendly towards Smith, and despite his political
       conformity punishes his bullying son for firing a catapult at
       Winston. Later, as a prisoner, Winston sees Parsons is in the
       Ministry of Love, as his daughter had reported him to the Thought
       Police, saying she heard him speak against Big Brother in his
       sleep. Even this does not dampen his belief in the Party, and he
       states he could do "good work" in the hard labour camps.
     * Mrs. Parsons - Parsons's wife is a wan and hapless woman who is
       intimidated by her own children.
          + The Parsons children - a nine-year-old son and seven-year-old
            daughter. Both are members of the Spies, a youth organization
            that focuses on indoctrinating children with Party ideals and
            training them to report any suspected incidents of
            unorthodoxy. They represent the new generation of Oceanian
            citizens, without memory of life before Big Brother, and
            without family ties or emotional sentiment; the model society
            envisioned by the Inner Party.
     * Syme - Winston's colleague at the Ministry of Truth, a
       lexicographer involved in compiling a new edition of the Newspeak
       dictionary. Although he is enthusiastic about his work and support
       for the Party, Winston notes, "He is too intelligent. He sees too
       clearly and speaks too plainly." Winston predicts, correctly, that
       Syme will become an unperson.

   Additionally, the following characters, mentioned in the novel, play a
   significant role in the world-building of 1984. Whether these
   characters are real or fabrications of Party propaganda is something
   that neither Winston nor the reader is permitted to know:
     * Big Brother - the leader and figurehead of the Party that rules
       Oceania. A deep cult of personality is formed around him.
     * Emmanuel Goldstein - ostensibly a former leading figure in the
       Party who became the counter-revolutionary leader of the
       Brotherhood, and author of the book The Theory and Practice of
       Oligarchical Collectivism. Goldstein is the symbolic enemy of the
       state--the national nemesis who ideologically unites the people of
       Oceania with the Party, especially during the Two Minutes Hate and
       other forms of fearmongering.


   This section includes a list of general references, but it lacks
   sufficient corresponding inline citations. Please help to improve this
   section by introducing more precise citations. (June 2021) (Learn how
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History of the world[edit]

The Revolution[edit]

   See also: The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism
   This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this
   section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may
   be challenged and removed. (June 2022) (Learn how and when to remove
   this template message)

   Many of Orwell's earlier writings clearly indicate that he originally
   welcomed the prospect of a socialist revolution in the UK, and indeed
   hoped to himself take part in such a revolution. The concept of
   "English Socialism" first appeared in Orwell's 1941 essay "The Lion and
   the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius", in which Orwell
   outlined a relatively humane revolution--establishing a revolutionary
   regime which "will shoot traitors, but give them a solemn trial
   beforehand, and occasionally acquit them" and which "will crush any
   open revolt promptly and cruelly, but will interfere very little with
   the spoken and written word"; the "English Socialism" which Orwell
   foresaw in 1941 would even "abolish the House of Lords, but retain the

   In the novel, Winston Smith's memories and his reading of the
   proscribed book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism
   by Emmanuel Goldstein, reveal that after the Second World War, the
   United Kingdom became involved in a war during the early 1950s in which
   nuclear weapons destroyed hundreds of cities in Europe, western Russia
   and North America. Colchester was destroyed, and London also suffered
   widespread aerial raids, leading Winston's family to take refuge in a
   London Underground station. The United States absorbed the British
   Commonwealth and Latin America, resulting in the superstate of Oceania.
   The new nation fell into civil war, but who fought whom is left unclear
   (there is a reference to the child Winston having seen rival militias
   in the streets, each one having a shirt of a distinct colour for its
   members). It is also unclear what The Party's name was while there were
   more than one, and whether it was a radical faction of the British
   Labour Party or a new formation arising during the turbulent 1950s.
   Eventually, Ingsoc won and gradually formed a totalitarian government
   across Oceania. Orwell does not explain in the novel how the US came to
   embrace "English Socialism" as its ruling ideology; in his lifetime, a
   socialist revolution was a concrete possibility in the UK, and taken
   seriously, but socialism of any kind was a marginal phenomenon in the
   United States.

   Meanwhile, Eurasia was formed when the Soviet Union conquered mainland
   Europe, creating a single state stretching from Portugal to the Bering
   Strait, under a Neo-Stalinist regime. In effect, the situation of
   1940-1944--the UK facing an enemy-held Europe across the Channel--was
   recreated, and this time permanently--neither side contemplating an
   invasion, their wars held in other parts of the world. Eastasia, the
   last superstate established, emerged only after "a decade of confused
   fighting". It includes the Asian lands conquered by China and Japan.
   (The book was written before the 1949 victory of Mao Zedong's Chinese
   Communist Party in the Civil War). Although Eastasia is prevented from
   matching Eurasia's size, its larger populace compensates for that

   While citizens in each state are trained to despise the ideologies of
   the other two as uncivilised and barbarous, Goldstein's book explains
   that in fact the superstates' ideologies are practically identical and
   that the public's ignorance of this fact is imperative so that they
   might continue believing otherwise. The only references to the exterior
   world for the Oceanian citizenry are propaganda and (probably fake)
   maps fabricated by the Ministry of Truth to ensure people's belief in
   "the war".

   However, due to the fact that Winston only barely remembers these
   events as well as the Party's constant manipulation of historical
   records, the continuity and accuracy of these events are unknown, and
   exactly how the superstates' ruling parties managed to gain their power
   is also left unclear. Winston notes that the Party has claimed credit
   for inventing helicopters and aeroplanes, while Julia theorises that
   the perpetual bombing of London is merely a false-flag operation
   designed to convince the populace that a war is occurring. If the
   official account was accurate, Smith's strengthening memories and the
   story of his family's dissolution suggest that the atomic bombings
   occurred first, followed by civil war featuring "confused street
   fighting in London itself" and the societal postwar reorganisation,
   which the Party retrospectively calls "the Revolution".

   It is very difficult to trace the exact chronology, but most of the
   global societal reorganisation occurred between 1945 and the early
   1960s. Winston and Julia meet in the ruins of a church that was
   destroyed in a nuclear attack "thirty years" earlier, which suggests
   1954 as the year of the atomic war that destabilised society and
   allowed the Party to seize power. It is stated in the novel that the
   "fourth quarter of 1983" was "also the sixth quarter of the Ninth
   Three-Year Plan", which implies that the first three-year plan began in
   1958. By that same year, the Party had apparently gained control of

   Among other things, the Revolution completely obliterates all religion.
   While the underground "Brotherhood" might or might not exist, there is
   no suggestion of any clergy trying to keep any religion alive
   underground. It is noted that, since the Party does not really care
   what the proles think or do, they might have been permitted to have
   religious worship had they wanted to--but they show no such
   inclination. Among the manifestly absurd "confessions" extracted from
   "thought criminals" is religious belief--however, but no one takes this
   seriously. Churches have been demolished or converted to other uses--St
   Martin-in-the-Fields has become a military museum, while Saint Clement
   Danes, destroyed in a WWII bombing, is in this future never rebuilt.
   The idea of a revolutionary regime totally destroying religion, with
   relative ease, is shared with the otherwise very different future of
   H.G.Wells' The Shape of Things to Come.

The War[edit]

   See also: Perpetual war

   In 1984, there is a perpetual war between Oceania, Eurasia and
   Eastasia, the superstates that emerged from the global atomic war. The
   Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, by Emmanuel
   Goldstein, explains that each state is so strong that it cannot be
   defeated, even with the combined forces of two superstates, despite
   changing alliances. To hide such contradictions, the superstates'
   governments rewrite history to explain that the (new) alliance always
   was so; the populaces are already accustomed to doublethink and accept
   it. The war is not fought in Oceanian, Eurasian or Eastasian territory
   but in the Arctic wastes and a disputed zone comprising the sea and
   land from Tangiers (Northern Africa) to Darwin (Australia). At the
   start, Oceania and Eastasia are allies fighting Eurasia in northern
   Africa and the Malabar Coast.

   That alliance ends, and Oceania, allied with Eurasia, fights Eastasia,
   a change occurring on Hate Week, dedicated to creating patriotic
   fervour for the Party's perpetual war. The public are blind to the
   change; in mid-sentence, an orator changes the name of the enemy from
   "Eurasia" to "Eastasia" without pause. When the public are enraged at
   noticing that the wrong flags and posters are displayed, they tear them
   down; the Party later claims to have captured the whole of Africa.

   Goldstein's book explains that the purpose of the unwinnable, perpetual
   war is to consume human labour and commodities so that the economy of a
   superstate cannot support economic equality, with a high standard of
   life for every citizen. By using up most of the produced goods, the
   proles are kept poor and uneducated, and the Party hopes that they will
   neither realise what the government is doing nor rebel. Goldstein also
   details an Oceanian strategy of attacking enemy cities with atomic
   rockets before invasion but dismisses it as unfeasible and contrary to
   the war's purpose; despite the atomic bombing of cities in the 1950s,
   the superstates stopped it for fear that it would imbalance the powers.
   The military technology in the novel differs little from that of World
   War II, but strategic bomber aeroplanes are replaced with rocket bombs,
   helicopters were heavily used as weapons of war (they were very minor
   in World War II) and surface combat units have been all but replaced by
   immense and unsinkable Floating Fortresses (island-like contraptions
   concentrating the firepower of a whole naval task force in a single,
   semi-mobile platform; in the novel, one is said to have been anchored
   between Iceland and the Faroe Islands, suggesting a preference for sea
   lane interdiction and denial).

   Claude Rozenhof notes that:

     None of the war news in Nineteen Eighty-Four can be in any way
     trusted as a report of something which actually happened (within the
     frame of the book's plot). Winston Smith himself is depicted as
     inventing a war hero who never existed and attributing to him
     various acts which never took place.^[40] After Oceania's shift of
     alliance, fighting Eastasia rather than Eurasia, the entire Ministry
     of Truth staff is engaged in an intensive effort to eradicate all
     reports of the war with Eurasia and "move the war to another part of
     the world"^[41]--so we do know for a fact that all records of the
     previous five years of war are henceforward false, depicting battles
     which never happened in places where there had been no war--but it
     might well be that the earlier records of a war with Eurasia, which
     were destroyed and eradicated, had been just as false. (...) The
     same doubts apply also to the major piece of war news in the final
     chapter^[42]--a titanic battle engulfing the entire continent of
     Africa, won by Oceania due to a brilliant piece of strategic
     surprise and finally proving to Smith the genius of Big Brother.
     There is no way of knowing whether any such battle "really" took
     place in Africa. Nor can we know if this piece of spectacular war
     news was broadcast all over Oceania, or whether it was an exclusive
     "show" broadcast solely into the telescreen in the Chestnut Tree
     Cafe, with the sole purpose of having on Winston Smith exactly the
     psychological effect which it did have. Indeed, there is the passage
     where Julia doubts that any war is taking place at all, and suspects
     that the rockets falling occasionally on London are fired by the
     government of Oceania itself, to keep the population on their
     toes--though Winston does not let his doubts of the official
     propaganda go that far. (...) And how much can we, living in a
     supposedly free and democratic society, objectively check the verity
     of what our supposedly Free press tells us?^[43]

Political geography[edit]

   Map Depicting the Three Superstates of Nineteen Eighty-Four, with the
   "disputed area" in light yellow

   Main article: Political geography of Nineteen Eighty-Four

   Three perpetually warring totalitarian superstates control the world in
   the novel:^[44]
     * Oceania (ideology: Ingsoc, known in Oldspeak as English Socialism),
       whose core territories are "the Americas, the Atlantic Islands,
       including the British Isles, Australasia and the southern portion
       of Africa."
     * Eurasia (ideology: Neo-Bolshevism), whose core territories are "the
       whole of the northern part of the European and Asiatic landmass
       from Portugal to the Bering Strait."
     * Eastasia (ideology: Obliteration of the Self, also known as
       Death-Worship), whose core territories are "China and the countries
       south to it, the Japanese islands, and a large but fluctuating
       portion of Manchuria, Mongolia and Tibet."

   The perpetual war is fought for control of the "disputed area" lying
   between the frontiers of the superstates, which forms "a rough
   quadrilateral with its corners at Tangier, Brazzaville, Darwin and Hong
   Kong",^[44] which includes Equatorial Africa, the Middle East, India
   and Indonesia. The disputed area is where the superstates capture slave
   labour. Fighting also takes place between Eurasia and Eastasia in
   Manchuria, Mongolia and Central Asia, and between Eurasia and Oceania
   over various islands in the Indian and Pacific Ocean.

  Ministries of Oceania[edit]

   Main article: Ministries of Nineteen Eighty-Four

   In London, the capital city of Airstrip One, Oceania's four government
   ministries are in pyramids (300 m high), the fac,ades of which display
   the Party's three slogans - "WAR IS PEACE", "FREEDOM IS SLAVERY",
   "IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH". As mentioned, the ministries are deliberately
   named after the opposite (doublethink) of their true functions: "The
   Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with
   lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with
   starvation." (Part II, Chapter IX - The Theory and Practice of
   Oligarchical Collectivism).

   While a ministry is supposedly headed by a minister, the ministers
   heading these four ministries are never mentioned. They seem to be
   completely out of the public view, Big Brother being the only,
   ever-present public face of the government. Also, while an army
   fighting a war is typically headed by generals, none is ever mentioned
   by name. News reports of the ongoing war assume that Big Brother
   personally commands Oceania's fighting forces and give him personal
   credit for victories and successful strategic concepts. This goes much
   further than Soviet propaganda ever did, even at the height of Stalin's
   cult of personality.

    Ministry of Peace[edit]

   The Ministry of Peace supports and engages in Oceania's perpetual war
   against either of the two other superstates:

     The primary aim of modern warfare (in accordance with the principles
     of doublethink, this aim is simultaneously recognised and not
     recognised by the directing brains of the Inner Party) is to use up
     the products of the machine without raising the general standard of
     living. Ever since the end of the nineteenth century, the problem of
     what to do with the surplus of consumption goods has been latent in
     industrial society. At present, when few human beings even have
     enough to eat, this problem is obviously not urgent, and it might
     not have become so, even if no artificial processes of destruction
     had been at work.

    Ministry of Plenty[edit]

   The Ministry of Plenty rations and controls food, goods, and domestic
   production; every fiscal quarter, it claims to have raised the standard
   of living, even during times when it has, in fact, reduced rations,
   availability, and production. The Ministry of Truth substantiates the
   Ministry of Plenty's claims by manipulating historical records to
   report numbers supporting the claims of "increased rations". The
   Ministry of Plenty also runs the national lottery as a distraction for
   the proles; Party members understand it to be a sham process in which
   winnings are never paid out.

    Ministry of Truth[edit]

   The Ministry of Truth controls information: news, entertainment,
   education, and the arts. Winston Smith works in the Records Department,
   "rectifying" historical records to accord with Big Brother's current
   pronouncements so that everything the Party says appears to be true.

    Ministry of Love[edit]

   The Ministry of Love identifies, monitors, arrests and converts real
   and imagined dissidents. This is also the place where the Thought
   Police beat and torture dissidents, after which they are sent to Room
   101 to face "the worst thing in the world"--until love for Big Brother
   and the Party replaces dissension.

  Major concepts[edit]

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   Ingsoc (English Socialism) is the predominant ideology and philosophy
   of Oceania, and Newspeak is the official language of official
   documents. Orwell depicts the Party's ideology as an oligarchical
   worldview that "rejects and vilifies every principle for which the
   Socialist movement originally stood, and it does so in the name of

    Big Brother[edit]

   Main article: Big Brother (Nineteen Eighty-Four)

   The Big Brother is a fictional character and symbol in the novel. He is
   ostensibly the leader of Oceania, a totalitarian state wherein the
   ruling party Ingsoc wields total power "for its own sake" over the
   inhabitants. In the society that Orwell describes, every citizen is
   under constant surveillance by the authorities, mainly by telescreens
   (with the exception of the proles). The people are constantly reminded
   of this by the slogan "Big Brother is watching you": a maxim that is
   ubiquitously on display.^[citation needed]

   In modern culture, the term "Big Brother" has entered the lexicon as a
   synonym for abuse of government power, particularly in respect to civil
   liberties, often specifically related to mass surveillance.^[citation


   Main article: Doublethink

     The keyword here is blackwhite. Like so many Newspeak words, this
     word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an
     opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is
     white, in contradiction of the plain facts. Applied to a Party
     member, it means a loyal willingness to say that black is white when
     Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to
     believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white,
     and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary. This demands
     a continuous alteration of the past, made possible by the system of
     thought which really embraces all the rest, and which is known in
     Newspeak as doublethink. Doublethink is basically the power of
     holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and
     accepting both of them.

   -- Part II, Chapter IX - The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical


   Main articles: Newspeak and List of Newspeak words

   The Principles of Newspeak is an academic essay appended to the novel.
   It describes the development of Newspeak, an artificial, minimalistic
   language designed to ideologically align thought with the principles of
   Ingsoc by stripping down the English language in order to make the
   expression of "heretical" thoughts (i.e. thoughts going against
   Ingsoc's principles) impossible.^[citation needed] The idea that a
   language's structure can be used to influence thought is known as
   linguistic relativity.

   Whether or not the Newspeak appendix implies a hopeful end to Nineteen
   Eighty-Four remains a critical debate. Many claim that it does, citing
   the fact that it is in standard English and is written in the past
   tense: "Relative to our own, the Newspeak vocabulary was tiny, and new
   ways of reducing it were constantly being devised" (p. 422). Some
   critics (Atwood,^[46] Benstead,^[47] Milner,^[48] Pynchon^[49]) claim
   that for Orwell, Newspeak and the totalitarian governments are all in
   the past.


   Main article: Thoughtcrime

   Thoughtcrime describes a person's politically unorthodox thoughts, such
   as unspoken beliefs and doubts that contradict the tenets of Ingsoc
   (English Socialism), the dominant ideology of Oceania. In the official
   language of Newspeak, the word crimethink describes the intellectual
   actions of a person who entertains and holds politically unacceptable
   thoughts; thus the government of the Party controls the speech, the
   actions, and the thoughts of the citizens of Oceania.^[50] In
   contemporary English usage, the word thoughtcrime describes beliefs
   that are contrary to accepted norms of society, and is used to describe
   theological concepts, such as disbelief and idolatry,^[51] and the
   rejection of an ideology.^[52]



   Nineteen Eighty-Four expands upon the subjects summarised in Orwell's
   essay "Notes on Nationalism"^[53] about the lack of vocabulary needed
   to explain the unrecognised phenomena behind certain political forces.
   In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the Party's artificial, minimalist language
   'Newspeak' addresses the matter.
     * Positive nationalism: For instance, Oceanians' perpetual love for
       Big Brother. Orwell argues in the essay that ideologies such as
       Neo-Toryism and Celtic nationalism are defined by their obsessive
       sense of loyalty to some entity.
     * Negative nationalism: For instance, Oceanians' perpetual hatred for
       Emmanuel Goldstein. Orwell argues in the essay that ideologies such
       as Trotskyism and Antisemitism are defined by their obsessive
       hatred of some entity.
     * Transferred nationalism: For instance, when Oceania's enemy
       changes, an orator makes a change mid-sentence, and the crowd
       instantly transfers its hatred to the new enemy. Orwell argues that
       ideologies such as Stalinism^[54] and redirected feelings of racial
       animus and class superiority among wealthy intellectuals exemplify
       this. Transferred nationalism swiftly redirects emotions from one
       power unit to another. In the novel, it happens during Hate Week, a
       Party rally against the original enemy. The crowd goes wild and
       destroys the posters that are now against their new friend, and
       many say that they must be the act of an agent of their new enemy
       and former friend. Many of the crowd must have put up the posters
       before the rally but think that the state of affairs had always
       been the case.

   O'Brien concludes: "The object of persecution is persecution. The
   object of torture is torture. The object of power is power."^[55]


   In the book, Inner Party member O'Brien describes the Party's vision of
   the future:

     There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All
     competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always--do not forget
     this, Winston--always there will be the intoxication of power,
     constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at
     every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of
     trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the
     future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face--forever.

   -- Part III, Chapter III, Nineteen Eighty-Four


   One of the most notable themes in Nineteen Eighty-Four is censorship,
   especially in the Ministry of Truth, where photographs and public
   archives are manipulated to rid them of "unpersons" (people who have
   been erased from history by the Party).^[56] On the telescreens, almost
   all figures of production are grossly exaggerated or simply fabricated
   to indicate an ever-growing economy, even during times when the reality
   is the opposite. One small example of the endless censorship is Winston
   being charged with the task of eliminating a reference to an unperson
   in a newspaper article. He also proceeds to write an article about
   Comrade Ogilvy, a made-up party member who allegedly "displayed great
   heroism by leaping into the sea from a helicopter so that the
   dispatches he was carrying would not fall into enemy hands."^[57]


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   In Oceania, the upper and middle classes have very little true privacy.
   All of their houses and apartments are equipped with telescreens so
   that they may be watched or listened to at any time. Similar
   telescreens are found at workstations and in public places, along with
   hidden microphones. Written correspondence is routinely opened and read
   by the government before it is delivered. The Thought Police employ
   undercover agents, who pose as normal citizens and report any person
   with subversive tendencies. Children are encouraged to report
   suspicious persons to the government, and some denounce their parents.
   Citizens are controlled, and the smallest sign of rebellion, even
   something as small as a suspicious facial expression, can result in
   immediate arrest and imprisonment. Thus, citizens are compelled to

  Poverty and inequality[edit]

   According to Goldstein's book, almost the entire world lives in
   poverty; hunger, thirst, disease, and filth are the norms. Ruined
   cities and towns are common: the consequence of perpetual wars and
   extreme economic inefficiency. Social decay and wrecked buildings
   surround Winston; aside from the ministries' headquarters, little of
   London was rebuilt. Middle class citizens and proles consume synthetic
   foodstuffs and poor-quality "luxuries" such as oily gin and
   loosely-packed cigarettes, distributed under the "Victory" brand, a
   parody of the low-quality Indian-made "Victory" cigarettes, which
   British soldiers commonly smoked during World War II.

   Winston describes something as simple as the repair of a broken window
   as requiring committee approval that can take several years and so most
   of those living in one of the blocks usually do the repairs themselves
   (Winston himself is called in by Mrs. Parsons to repair her blocked
   sink). All upper-class and middle-class residences include telescreens
   that serve both as outlets for propaganda and surveillance devices that
   allow the Thought Police to monitor them; they can be turned down, but
   the ones in middle-class residences cannot be turned off.

   In contrast to their subordinates, the upper class of Oceanian society
   reside in clean and comfortable flats in their own quarters, with
   pantries well-stocked with foodstuffs such as wine, real coffee, real
   tea, real milk, and real sugar, all denied to the general
   populace.^[58] Winston is astonished that the lifts in O'Brien's
   building work, the telescreens can be completely turned off, and
   O'Brien has an Asian manservant, Martin. All upper class citizens are
   attended to by slaves captured in the "disputed zone", and "The Book"
   suggests that many have their own cars or even helicopters.

   However, despite their insulation and overt privileges, the upper class
   are still not exempt from the government's brutal restriction of
   thought and behaviour, even while lies and propaganda apparently
   originate from their own ranks. Instead, the Oceanian government offers
   the upper class their "luxuries" in exchange for them maintaining their
   loyalty to the state; non-conformant upper-class citizens can still be
   condemned, tortured, and executed just like any other individual. "The
   Book" makes clear that the upper class' living conditions are only
   "relatively" comfortable, and would be regarded as "austere" by those
   of the pre-revolutionary elite.^[59]

   The proles live in poverty and are kept sedated with pornography, a
   national lottery whose winnings are rarely paid out, which fact is
   obscured by propaganda and the lack of communication within Oceania,
   and gin, "which the proles were not supposed to drink". At the same
   time, the proles are freer and less intimidated than the upper classes:
   they are not expected to be particularly patriotic and the levels of
   surveillance that they are subjected to are very low. They lack
   telescreens in their own homes and often jeer at the telescreens that
   they see. "The Book" indicates that because the middle class, not the
   lower class, traditionally starts revolutions, the model demands tight
   control of the middle class, with ambitious Outer-Party members
   neutralised via promotion to the Inner Party or
   "reintegration"^[clarification needed] by the Ministry of Love, and
   proles can be allowed intellectual freedom because they are deemed to
   lack intellect. Winston nonetheless believes that "the future belonged
   to the proles".^[60]

   The standard of living of the populace is extremely low overall.^[61]
   Consumer goods are scarce, and those available through official
   channels are of low quality; for instance, despite the Party regularly
   reporting increased boot production, more than half of the Oceanian
   populace goes barefoot.^[62] The Party claims that poverty is a
   necessary sacrifice for the war effort, and "The Book" confirms that to
   be partially correct since the purpose of perpetual war is to consume
   surplus industrial production.^[63] As "The Book" explains, society is
   in fact designed to remain on the brink of starvation, as "In the long
   run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and

Sources for literary motifs[edit]

   Nineteen Eighty-Four uses themes from life in the Soviet Union and
   wartime life in Great Britain as sources for many of its motifs. Some
   time at an unspecified date after the first American publication of the
   book, producer Sidney Sheldon wrote to Orwell interested in adapting
   the novel to the Broadway stage. Orwell wrote in a letter to Sheldon
   (to whom he would sell the US stage rights) that his basic goal with
   Nineteen Eighty-Four was imagining the consequences of Stalinist
   government ruling British society:

     [Nineteen Eighty-Four] was based chiefly on communism, because that
     is the dominant form of totalitarianism, but I was trying chiefly to
     imagine what communism would be like if it were firmly rooted in the
     English speaking countries, and was no longer a mere extension of
     the Russian Foreign Office.^[64]

   According to Orwell biographer D. J. Taylor, the author's A Clergyman's
   Daughter (1935) has "essentially the same plot of Nineteen Eighty-Four
   ... It's about somebody who is spied upon, and eavesdropped upon, and
   oppressed by vast exterior forces they can do nothing about. It makes
   an attempt at rebellion and then has to compromise".^[65]

   A 1931 poster for the first five-year plan of the Soviet Union by Yakov
   Guminer [ru] reading "The arithmetic of an industrial-financial
   counter-plan: 2 + 2 plus the enthusiasm of the workers = 5"

   The statement "2 + 2 = 5", used to torment Winston Smith during his
   interrogation, was a communist party slogan from the second five-year
   plan, which encouraged fulfilment of the five-year plan in four years.
   The slogan was seen in electric lights on Moscow house-fronts,
   billboards and elsewhere.^[66]

   The switch of Oceania's allegiance from Eastasia to Eurasia and the
   subsequent rewriting of history ("Oceania was at war with Eastasia:
   Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia. A large part of the
   political literature of five years was now completely obsolete"; ch 9)
   is evocative of the Soviet Union's changing relations with Nazi
   Germany. The two nations were open and frequently vehement critics of
   each other until the signing of the 1939 Treaty of Non-Aggression.
   Thereafter, and continuing until the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union
   in 1941, no criticism of Germany was allowed in the Soviet press, and
   all references to prior party lines stopped--including in the majority
   of non-Russian communist parties who tended to follow the Russian line.
   Orwell had criticised the Communist Party of Great Britain for
   supporting the Treaty in his essays for Betrayal of the Left (1941).
   "The Hitler-Stalin pact of August 1939 reversed the Soviet Union's
   stated foreign policy. It was too much for many of the
   fellow-travellers like Gollancz [Orwell's sometime publisher] who had
   put their faith in a strategy of construction Popular Front governments
   and the peace bloc between Russia, Britain and France."^[67]

   Photograph portrait of Leon Trotsky
   Photograph Joseph Stalin
   Descriptions of Emmanuel Goldstein and Big Brother evoke Leon Trotsky
   and Joseph Stalin respectively.

   The description of Emmanuel Goldstein, with a "small, goatee beard",
   evokes the image of Leon Trotsky. The film of Goldstein during the Two
   Minutes Hate is described as showing him being transformed into a
   bleating sheep. This image was used in a propaganda film during the
   Kino-eye period of Soviet film, which showed Trotsky transforming into
   a goat.^[68]^[page needed] Like Goldstein, Trotsky was a formerly
   high-ranking party official who was ostracized and then wrote a book
   criticizing party rule, The Revolution Betrayed, published in 1936.

   The omnipresent images of Big Brother, a man described as having a
   moustache, bears resemblance to the cult of personality built up around
   Joseph Stalin. ^[69]

   The news in Oceania emphasized production figures, just as it did in
   the Soviet Union, where record-setting in factories (by "Heroes of
   Socialist Labour") was especially glorified. The best known of these
   was Alexey Stakhanov, who purportedly set a record for coal mining in

   The tortures of the Ministry of Love evoke the procedures used by the
   NKVD in their interrogations,^[71]^[page needed] including the use of
   rubber truncheons, being forbidden to put your hands in your pockets,
   remaining in brightly lit rooms for days, torture through the use of
   their greatest fear, and the victim being shown a mirror after their
   physical collapse.^[citation needed]

   The random bombing of Airstrip One is based on the area bombing of
   London by Buzz bombs and the V-2 rocket in 1944-1945.^[69]

   The Thought Police is based on the NKVD, which arrested people for
   random "anti-soviet" remarks.^[72]^[page needed] The Thought Crime
   motif is drawn from Kempeitai, the Japanese wartime secret police, who
   arrested people for "unpatriotic" thoughts.^[citation needed]

   The confessions of the "Thought Criminals" Rutherford, Aaronson, and
   Jones are based on the show trials of the 1930s, which included
   fabricated confessions by prominent Bolsheviks Nikolai Bukharin,
   Grigory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev to the effect that they were being
   paid by the Nazi government to undermine the Soviet regime under Leon
   Trotsky's direction.^[73]

   The song "Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree" ("Under the spreading
   chestnut tree, I sold you, and you sold me") was based on an old
   English song called "Go no more a-rushing" ("Under the spreading
   chestnut tree, Where I knelt upon my knee, We were as happy as could
   be, 'Neath the spreading chestnut tree."). The song was published as
   early as 1891. The song was a popular camp song in the 1920s, sung with
   corresponding movements (like touching one's chest when singing
   "chest", and touching one's head when singing "nut"). Glenn Miller
   recorded the song in 1939.^[74]

   The "Hates" (Two Minutes Hate and Hate Week) were inspired by the
   constant rallies sponsored by party organs throughout the Stalinist
   period. These were often short pep-talks given to workers before their
   shifts began (Two Minutes Hate),^[75] but could also last for days, as
   in the annual celebrations of the anniversary of the October revolution
   (Hate Week).

   Orwell fictionalised "newspeak", "doublethink", and "Ministry of Truth"
   based on both the Soviet press, and British wartime usage, such as
   "Miniform".^[76] In particular, he adapted Soviet ideological discourse
   constructed to ensure that public statements could not be

   Winston Smith's job, "revising history" (and the "unperson" motif) are
   based on censorship of images in the Soviet Union, which airbrushed
   images of "fallen" people from group photographs and removed references
   to them in books and newspapers.^[79] In one well-known example, the
   second edition of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia had an article about
   Lavrentiy Beria. After his fall from power and execution, subscribers
   received a letter from the editor^[80] instructing them to cut out and
   destroy the three-page article on Beria and paste in its place enclosed
   replacement pages expanding the adjacent articles on F. W. Bergholz (an
   18th-century courtier), the Bering Sea, and Bishop

   Big Brother's "Orders of the Day" were inspired by Stalin's regular
   wartime orders, called by the same name. A small collection of the more
   political of these have been published (together with his wartime
   speeches) in English as "On the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet
   Union" By Joseph Stalin.^[84]^[85] Like Big Brother's Orders of the
   day, Stalin's frequently lauded heroic individuals,^[86] like Comrade
   Ogilvy, the fictitious hero Winston Smith invented to "rectify"
   (fabricate) a Big Brother Order of the day.

   The Ingsoc slogan "Our new, happy life", repeated from telescreens,
   evokes Stalin's 1935 statement, which became a CPSU slogan, "Life has
   become better, Comrades; life has become more cheerful."^[72]

   In 1940, Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges published "Tloen, Uqbar,
   Orbis Tertius", which describes the invention by a "benevolent secret
   society" of a world that would seek to remake human language and
   reality along human-invented lines. The story concludes with an
   appendix describing the success of the project. Borges' story addresses
   similar themes of epistemology, language and history to 1984.^[87]

   During World War II, Orwell believed that British democracy as it
   existed before 1939 would not survive the war. The question being
   "Would it end via Fascist coup d'etat from above or via Socialist
   revolution from below?"^[88] Later, he admitted that events proved him
   wrong: "What really matters is that I fell into the trap of assuming
   that 'the war and the revolution are inseparable'."^[89]

   Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and Animal Farm (1945) share themes of the
   betrayed revolution, the individual's subordination to the collective,
   rigorously enforced class distinctions (Inner Party, Outer Party,
   proles), the cult of personality, concentration camps, Thought Police,
   compulsory regimented daily exercise, and youth leagues. Oceania
   resulted from the US annexation of the British Empire to counter the
   Asian peril to Australia and New Zealand. It is a naval power whose
   militarism venerates the sailors of the floating fortresses, from which
   battle is given to recapturing India, the "Jewel in the Crown" of the
   British Empire. Much of Oceanic society is based upon the USSR under
   Joseph Stalin--Big Brother. The televised Two Minutes Hate is ritual
   demonisation of the enemies of the State, especially Emmanuel Goldstein
   (viz Leon Trotsky). Altered photographs and newspaper articles create
   unpersons deleted from the national historical record, including even
   founding members of the regime (Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford) in the
   1960s purges (viz the Soviet Purges of the 1930s, in which leaders of
   the Bolshevik Revolution were similarly treated). A similar thing also
   happened during the French Revolution's Reign of Terror in which many
   of the original leaders of the Revolution were later put to death, for
   example Danton who was put to death by Robespierre, and then later
   Robespierre himself met the same fate.^[citation needed]

   In his 1946 essay "Why I Write", Orwell explains that the serious works
   he wrote since the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) were "written, directly
   or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic
   socialism".^[3]^[90] Nineteen Eighty-Four is a cautionary tale about
   revolution betrayed by totalitarian defenders previously proposed in
   Homage to Catalonia (1938) and Animal Farm (1945), while Coming Up for
   Air (1939) celebrates the personal and political freedoms lost in
   Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). Biographer Michael Shelden notes Orwell's
   Edwardian childhood at Henley-on-Thames as the golden country; being
   bullied at St Cyprian's School as his empathy with victims; his life in
   the Indian Imperial Police in Burma and the techniques of violence and
   censorship in the BBC as capricious authority.^[91]

   Other influences include Darkness at Noon (1940) and The Yogi and the
   Commissar (1945) by Arthur Koestler; The Iron Heel (1908) by Jack
   London; 1920: Dips into the Near Future^[92] by John A. Hobson; Brave
   New World (1932) by Aldous Huxley; We (1921) by Yevgeny Zamyatin which
   he reviewed in 1946;^[93] and The Managerial Revolution (1940) by James
   Burnham predicting perpetual war among three totalitarian superstates.
   Orwell told Jacintha Buddicom that he would write a novel stylistically
   like A Modern Utopia (1905) by H. G. Wells.^[94]

   Extrapolating from World War II, the novel's pastiche parallels the
   politics and rhetoric at war's end--the changed alliances at the "Cold
   War's" (1945-91) beginning; the Ministry of Truth derives from the
   BBC's overseas service, controlled by the Ministry of Information; Room
   101 derives from a conference room at BBC Broadcasting House;^[95] the
   Senate House of the University of London, containing the Ministry of
   Information is the architectural inspiration for the Minitrue; the
   post-war decrepitude derives from the socio-political life of the UK
   and the US, i.e., the impoverished Britain of 1948 losing its Empire
   despite newspaper-reported imperial triumph; and war ally but
   peace-time foe, Soviet Russia became Eurasia.^[citation needed]

   The term "English Socialism" has precedents in Orwell's wartime
   writings; in the essay "The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the
   English Genius" (1941), he said that "the war and the revolution are
   inseparable... the fact that we are at war has turned Socialism from a
   textbook word into a realisable policy"--because Britain's
   superannuated social class system hindered the war effort and only a
   socialist economy would defeat Adolf Hitler. Given the middle class's
   grasping this, they too would abide socialist revolution and that only
   reactionary Britons would oppose it, thus limiting the force
   revolutionaries would need to take power. An English Socialism would
   come about which "will never lose touch with the tradition of
   compromise and the belief in a law that is above the State. It will
   shoot traitors, but it will give them a solemn trial beforehand and
   occasionally it will acquit them. It will crush any open revolt
   promptly and cruelly, but it will interfere very little with the spoken
   and written word."^[96]

   In the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four, "English Socialism" (or "Ingsoc"
   in Newspeak) is a totalitarian ideology unlike the English revolution
   he foresaw. Comparison of the wartime essay "The Lion and the Unicorn"
   with Nineteen Eighty-Four shows that he perceived a Big Brother regime
   as a perversion of his cherished socialist ideals and English
   Socialism. Thus Oceania is a corruption of the British Empire he
   believed would evolve "into a federation of Socialist states, like a
   looser and freer version of the Union of Soviet
   Republics".^[97]^[verification needed]

Critical reception[edit]

   When it was first published, Nineteen Eighty-Four received critical
   acclaim. V. S. Pritchett, reviewing the novel for the New Statesman
   stated: "I do not think I have ever read a novel more frightening and
   depressing; and yet, such are the originality, the suspense, the speed
   of writing and withering indignation that it is impossible to put the
   book down."^[98] P. H. Newby, reviewing Nineteen Eighty-Four for The
   Listener magazine, described it as "the most arresting political novel
   written by an Englishman since Rex Warner's The Aerodrome."^[99]
   Nineteen Eighty-Four was also praised by Bertrand Russell, E. M.
   Forster and Harold Nicolson.^[99] On the other hand, Edward Shanks,
   reviewing Nineteen Eighty-Four for The Sunday Times, was dismissive;
   Shanks claimed Nineteen Eighty-Four "breaks all records for gloomy
   vaticination".^[99] C. S. Lewis was also critical of the novel,
   claiming that the relationship of Julia and Winston, and especially the
   Party's view on sex, lacked credibility, and that the setting was
   "odious rather than tragic".^[100]

   Throughout its publication history, Nineteen Eighty-Four has been
   either banned or legally challenged as subversive or ideologically
   corrupting, like the dystopian novels We (1924) by Yevgeny Zamyatin,
   Brave New World (1932) by Aldous Huxley, Darkness at Noon (1940) by
   Arthur Koestler, Kallocain (1940) by Karin Boye, and Fahrenheit 451
   (1953) by Ray Bradbury.^[101]

   On 5 November 2019, the BBC named Nineteen Eighty-Four on its list of
   the 100 most influential novels.^[102]

   According to Czesl/aw Mil/osz, an exile from Stalinist Poland, the book
   also made an impression behind the Iron Curtain. Writing in The Captive
   Mind, he stated "[a] few have become acquainted with Orwell's 1984;
   because it is both difficult to obtain and dangerous to possess, it is
   known only to certain members of the Inner Party. Orwell fascinates
   them through his insight into details they know well [...] Even those
   who know Orwell only by hearsay are amazed that a writer who never
   lived in Russia should have so keen a perception into its
   life."^[103]^[104] Writer Christopher Hitchens has called this "one of
   the greatest compliments that one writer has ever bestowed upon another
   [...] Only one or two years after Orwell's death, in other words, his
   book about a secret book circulated only within the Inner Party was
   itself a secret book circulated only within the Inner Party."^[105]

Adaptations in other media[edit]

   Main article: Adaptations of Nineteen Eighty-Four

   In the same year as the novel's publishing, a one-hour radio adaptation
   was aired on the United States' NBC radio network as part of the NBC
   University Theatre series. The first television adaptation appeared as
   part of CBS's Studio One series in September 1953. BBC Television
   broadcast an adaptation by Nigel Kneale in December 1954. The first
   feature film adaptation, 1984, was released in 1956. A second
   feature-length adaptation, Nineteen Eighty-Four, followed in 1984, a
   reasonably faithful adaptation of the novel. The story has been adapted
   several other times to radio, television, and film; other media
   adaptations include theater (a musical^[106] and a play), opera, and


   The first Simplified Chinese version was published in 1979. It was
   first available to the general public in China in 1985, as previously
   it was only in portions of libraries and bookstores open to a limited
   number of people. Amy Hawkins and Jeffrey Wasserstrom of The Atlantic
   stated in 2019 that the book is widely available in Mainland China for
   several reasons: the general public by and large no longer reads books;
   because the elites who do read books feel connected to the ruling party
   anyway; and because the Communist Party sees being too aggressive in
   blocking cultural products as a liability. The authors stated "It
   was--and remains--as easy to buy 1984 and Animal Farm in Shenzhen or
   Shanghai as it is in London or Los Angeles."^[108] They also stated
   that "The assumption is not that Chinese people can't figure out the
   meaning of 1984, but that the small number of people who will bother to
   read it won't pose much of a threat."^[108]

   By 1989, Nineteen Eighty-Four had been translated into 65 languages,
   more than any other novel in English at that time.^[109]

Cultural impact[edit]

   Further information: Nineteen Eighty-Four in popular media

   "Happy 1984" (in Spanish or Portuguese) stencil graffito, denoting mind
   control via a PlayStation controller, on a standing piece of the Berlin
   Wall, 2005

   The effect of Nineteen Eighty-Four on the English language is
   extensive; the concepts of Big Brother, Room 101, the Thought Police,
   thoughtcrime, unperson, memory hole (oblivion), doublethink
   (simultaneously holding and believing contradictory beliefs) and
   Newspeak (ideological language) have become common phrases for denoting
   totalitarian authority. Doublespeak and groupthink are both deliberate
   elaborations of doublethink, and the adjective "Orwellian" means
   similar to Orwell's writings, especially Nineteen Eighty-Four. The
   practice of ending words with "-speak" (such as mediaspeak) is drawn
   from the novel.^[110] Orwell is perpetually associated with 1984; in
   July 1984, an asteroid was discovered by Antonin Mrkos and named after
     * In 1955, an episode of BBC's The Goon Show, 1985, was broadcast,
       written by Spike Milligan and Eric Sykes and based on Nigel
       Kneale's television adaptation. It was re-recorded about a month
       later with the same script but a slightly different cast.^[111]
       1985 parodies many of the main scenes in Orwell's novel.
     * In 1970, the American rock group Spirit released the song "1984"
       based on Orwell's novel.
     * In 1973, ex-Soft Machine bassist Hugh Hopper released an album
       called 1984 on the Columbia label (UK), consisting of instrumentals
       with Orwellian titles such as "Miniluv," "Minipax," "Minitrue," and
       so forth.
     * In 1974, David Bowie released the album Diamond Dogs, which is
       thought to be loosely based on the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. It
       includes the tracks "We Are The Dead", "1984" and "Big Brother".
       Before the album was made, Bowie's management (MainMan) had planned
       for Bowie and Tony Ingrassia (MainMan's creative consultant) to
       co-write and direct a musical production of Orwell's Nineteen
       Eighty-Four, but Orwell's widow refused to give MainMan the
     * In 1977, the British rock band The Jam released the album This Is
       the Modern World, which includes the track "Standards" by Paul
       Weller. This track concludes with the lyrics "...and ignorance is
       strength, we have God on our side, look, you know what happened to
     * In 1984, Ridley Scott directed a television commercial, "1984", to
       launch Apple's Macintosh computer.^[115] The advert stated, "1984
       won't be like 1984", suggesting that the Apple Mac would be freedom
       from Big Brother, i.e., the IBM PC.^[116]

   "Big Brother is watching you" painted onto the wall of an industrial
   building in Donetsk, Ukraine

     * An episode of Doctor Who, called "The God Complex", depicts an
       alien ship disguised as a hotel containing Room 101-like spaces,
       and quotes the nursery rhyme as well.^[117]
     * The two part episode Chain of Command on Star Trek: The Next
       Generation bears some resemblances to the novel.^[118]
     * Radiohead's 2003 single "2 + 2 = 5", from their album Hail to the
       Thief, is Orwellian by title and content. Thom Yorke states, "I was
       listening to a lot of political programs on BBC Radio 4. I found
       myself writing down little nonsense phrases, those Orwellian
       euphemisms that [the British and American governments] are so fond
       of. They became the background of the record."^[114]
     * In September 2009, the English progressive rock band Muse released
       The Resistance, which included songs influenced by Nineteen
     * In Marilyn Manson's autobiography The Long Hard Road Out of Hell,
       he states: "I was thoroughly terrified by the idea of the end of
       the world and the Antichrist. So I became obsessed with it...
       reading prophetic books like... 1984 by George Orwell..."^[120]
     * English band Bastille references the novel in their song "Back to
       the Future," the fifth track on their 2022 album Give Me the
       Future, in the opening lyrics: "Feels like we danced into a
       nightmare/We're living 1984/If doublethink's no longer
       fiction/We'll dream of Huxley's Island shores."^[121]
     * Released in 2004, KAKU P-Model/Susumu Hirasawa's song Big Brother
       directly references 1984, and the album itself is about a fictional
       dystopia in a distant future.

   References to the themes, concepts and plot of Nineteen Eighty-Four
   have appeared frequently in other works, especially in popular music
   and video entertainment. An example is the worldwide hit reality
   television show Big Brother, in which a group of people live together
   in a large house, isolated from the outside world but continuously
   watched by television cameras.
     * In November 2011, the US government argued before the US Supreme
       Court that it wants to continue utilising GPS tracking of
       individuals without first seeking a warrant. In response, Justice
       Stephen Breyer questioned what that means for a democratic society
       by referencing Nineteen Eighty-Four. Justice Breyer asked, "If you
       win this case, then there is nothing to prevent the police or the
       government from monitoring 24 hours a day the public movement of
       every citizen of the United States. So if you win, you suddenly
       produce what sounds like Nineteen Eighty-Four... "^[122]

   The book touches on the invasion of privacy and ubiquitous
   surveillance. From mid-2013 it was publicised that the NSA has been
   secretly monitoring and storing global internet traffic, including the
   bulk data collection of email and phone call data. Sales of Nineteen
   Eighty-Four increased by up to seven times within the first week of the
   2013 mass surveillance leaks.^[123]^[124]^[125] The book again topped
   the Amazon.com sales charts in 2017 after a controversy involving
   Kellyanne Conway using the phrase "alternative facts" to explain
   discrepancies with the media.^[126]^[127]^[128]^[129]

   Nineteen Eighty-Four was number three on the list of "Top Check Outs Of
   All Time" by the New York Public Library.^[130]

   In accordance with copyright law, Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm
   both entered the public domain on 1 January 2021 in most of the world,
   70 calendar years after Orwell died. The US copyright expiration is
   different for both novels: 95 years after publication.^[131]^[132]

Brave New World comparisons[edit]

   Further information: Brave New World S: Comparisons with George
   Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four

   In October 1949, after reading Nineteen Eighty-Four, Huxley sent a
   letter to Orwell in which he argued that it would be more efficient for
   rulers to stay in power by the softer touch by allowing citizens to
   seek pleasure to control them rather than use brute force. He wrote

     Whether in actual fact the policy of the boot-on-the-face can go on
     indefinitely seems doubtful. My own belief is that the ruling
     oligarchy will find less arduous and wasteful ways of governing and
     of satisfying its lust for power, and these ways will resemble those
     which I described in Brave New World.


     Within the next generation I believe that the world's rulers will
     discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more
     efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and
     that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by
     suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and
     kicking them into obedience.^[133]

   In the decades since the publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four, there
   have been numerous comparisons to Huxley's Brave New World, which had
   been published 17 years earlier, in 1932.^[134]^[135]^[136]^[137] They
   are both predictions of societies dominated by a central government and
   are both based on extensions of the trends of their times. However,
   members of the ruling class of Nineteen Eighty-Four use brutal force,
   torture and mind control to keep individuals in line, while rulers in
   Brave New World keep the citizens in line by drugs and pleasurable
   distractions. Regarding censorship, in Nineteen Eighty-Four the
   government tightly controls information to keep the population in line,
   but in Huxley's world, so much information is published that readers do
   not know which information is relevant, and what can be
   disregarded.^[citation needed]

   Elements of both novels can be seen in modern-day societies, with
   Huxley's vision being more dominant in the West and Orwell's vision
   more prevalent with dictatorships, including those in communist
   countries (such as in modern-day China and North Korea), as is pointed
   out in essays that compare the two novels, including Huxley's own Brave
   New World Revisited.^[138]^[139]^[140]^[129]

   Comparisons with later dystopian novels like The Handmaid's Tale,
   Virtual Light, The Private Eye and The Children of Men have also been

See also[edit]

     * Authoritarian personality
     * Closed-circuit television (CCTV)
     * Culture of fear
     * Fahrenheit 451, a similar novel revolving around censorship
     * The Glass Fortress (2016 film)
     * Ideocracy
     * Language and thought
     * List of stories set in a future now past
     * Mass surveillance
     * Moscow 2042
     * New World Order (conspiracy theory)
     * Psychological projection
     * Scapegoating
     * Totalitarianism
     * Utopian and dystopian fiction
     * V for Vendetta, a similar graphic novel and film
     * We, a similar novel



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   Cite error: A list-defined reference with group name "" is not used in
   the content (see the help page).

  General and cited references[edit]


   Aubrey, Crispin; Chilton, Paul, eds. (1983). Nineteen Eighty-four in
   1984: Autonomy, Control, and Communication (repr. ed.). London: Comedia
   Pub. Group. ISBN 978-0-906890-42-4.

     Bowker, Gordon (2003). Inside George Orwell: A Biography. Palgrave
   Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-312-23841-4.

     Hillegas, Mark R. (1967). The Future as Nightmare: H. G. Wells and
   the Anti-Utopians. Southern Illinois University Press.
   ISBN 978-0-8093-0676-3

     Howe, Irving, ed. (1983). 1984 Revisited: Totalitarianism in Our
   Century. New York: Harper Row. ISBN 978-0-06-080660-6.

     Lynskey, Dorian (2019). The Ministry of Truth: The Biography of
   George Orwell's 1984. Doubleday. p. 167. ISBN 978-0-385-54406-1.

     Meyers, Jeffery. Orwell: Wintry Conscience of a Generation. W. W.
   Norton. 2000. ISBN 978-0-393-32263-7

     Orwell, George (1949). Nineteen Eighty-Four. A novel. London: Secker
   & Warburg.

     ------ (1984). Davison, Peter (ed.). Nineteen Eighty-Four: The
   Facsimile Manuscript. London, United Kingdom: Secker and Warburg.
   ISBN 978-0-436-35022-1.

     ------ (1977). 1984. Erich Fromm (foreword) (reissue ed.). Signet
   Classics. ISBN 978-0-451-52493-5.

     ------ (2003). Animal Farm and 1984. Christopher Hitchens (Foreword)
   (1st ed.). HMH. ISBN 978-0-15-101026-4.

     ------ (2003). Nineteen Eighty-Four. Thomas Pynchon (foreword); Erich
   Fromm (afterword). Plume. ISBN 978-0-452-28423-4.

          Afterword by Erich Fromm (1961), pp. 324-37.
          Orwell's text has a "Selected Bibliography", pp. 338-39; the
          foreword and the afterword each contain further references.
          The Plume edition is an authorised reprint of a hardcover
          edition published by Harcourt, Inc.
          The Plume edition is also published in a Signet edition. The
          copyright page says this, but the Signet ed. does not have the
          Pynchon foreword.
          Copyright is explicitly extended to digital and any other means.

     * Orwell, George. 1984 (Vietnamese edition), translation by D/a(-.ng
       Phu9o9ng-Nghi, French preface by Bertrand Latour

   ISBN 978-0-9774224-5-6.

     Shelden, Michael (1991). Orwell: The Authorised Biography. London:
   Heinemann. ISBN 978-0-434-69517-1.

     Smith, David; Mosher, Michael (1984). Orwell for Beginners (1st ed.).
   [London], Eng.: Writers and Readers Pub. Cooperative.
   ISBN 978-0-86316-066-0.

     Steinhoff, William R. (1975). George Orwell and the Origins of 1984.
   Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 978-0-472-87400-2.

     Tuccille, Jerome (1975). Who's afraid of 1984? The case for optimism
   in looking ahead to the 1980s. New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House
   Publishers. ISBN 978-0-87000-308-0.

     West, W. J. (1992). The Larger Evils - Nineteen Eighty-Four: the
   Truth Behind the Satire. Edinburgh: Canongate Press.
   ISBN 978-0-86241-382-8.

Further reading[edit]

     * Bloom, Harold, George Orwell's 1984 (2009), Facts on File, Inc.

   ISBN 978-1-4381-1468-2

     Di Nucci, Ezio and Storrie, Stefan (editors), 1984 and Philosophy: Is
   Resistance Futile? (2018), Open Court Publishing Company.
   ISBN 978-0-8126-9985-2

     Goldsmith, Jack and Nussbaum, Martha, On Nineteen Eighty-Four: Orwell
   and Our Future (2010), Princeton University Press.
   ISBN 978-1-4008-2664-3

     Plank, Robert, George Orwell's Guide Through Hell: A Psychological
   Study of 1984 (1994), Borgo Pres. ISBN 978-0-89370-413-1

     Taylor, D. J. On Nineteen Eighty-Four: A Biography (2019), Abrams.
   ISBN 978-1-68335-684-4

     Waddell, Nathan (editor), The Cambridge Companion to Nineteen
   Eighty-Four (2020), Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-108-84109-2

External links[edit]

   Nineteen Eighty-Four at Wikipedia's sister projects
     * Definitions from Wiktionary
     * Media from Commons
     * Quotations from Wikiquote
     * Textbooks from Wikibooks
     * Data from Wikidata

   Scholia has a profile for Nineteen Eighty-Four (Q208460).

     * Nineteen Eighty-Four at Curlie
     * Nineteen Eighty-Four at the Internet Book List
     * Nineteen Eighty-Four at the British Library
     * 1984: The Opera
     * Nineteen Eighty-Four at the Open Library
     * Nineteen Eighty-Four title listing at the Internet Speculative
       Fiction Database
     * 1953 Theatre Guild on the Air radio adaptation at Internet Archive
     * Historian Sarah Wise on the London of Nineteen Eighty-Four on the
       London Fictions website

   Asimov, Isaac (1980). "Review Of 1984". Field Newspaper Syndicate.

  Electronic editions[edit]

     * 1984 (Nineteen Eighty-Four) at Faded Page (Canada)
     * George Orwell - Eric Arthur Blair
     * Project Gutenberg Australia (e-text)
     * HTML and EPUB editions from The University of Adelaide Library
     * Nineteen Eighty-Four (Canadian public domain Ebook - PDF)

  Film versions[edit]

     * Studio One: 1984 (1953) (public domain)

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