1984 by George Orwell


This novel introduces many terms that have now are in common usage in our language. Orwellian, Big Brother, Doublethink, 1984, Thoughtcrime, Newspeak, Room 101, 2+2 =5, and Memory Hole are now common terms.

It takes place in  Oceania in a town called Airstrip One where London once was and during the time of an ongoing war. The government oversees their lives with surveillance and cameras. Even the language is being changed to further insures loyalty and devotion. Condensing the speech and writing leads to the complete subjection of every thought, action and word and then  even to the elimination of truth and history. Newspeak is replacing Oldspeak and the “Thought Police” enforce it, and watch for other thought crimes. Things are run by the Party and the Party is run by Big Brother.


Winston Smith is not a Party member. He works in the Ministry of Truth and works on historical revisionism, but he justifies what he does because he has been told he is correcting mistakes. He secretly hates the Party and wants to get away from it.  He begins a sexual relationship, a rule violation, with Julia, who works in the Fiction Department. He makes friends with O’Brien who he believes has the same thoughts as he does, but he is a double agent, and he is arrested.  O’Brien works at the Ministry of Love and his main job is torturing those he catches being disloyal. The most feared torture is Room 101 where people are confronted with their worst fears. He confesses and betrays Julie. For the balance of the story he evolves, and the book ends with him watching a TV story about Big Brother and his strong feelings of love for him. 

The novel was considered one of the top 100 of the last century. The very term, 1984, has taken on an influence of its own pointing to the entire book and the total control of the mind that takes place.  

"1984", a dystopian novel, vs's "Animal Farm", an allegorical novella, are both satires on society. They both focus on corruption of power and the adoption of collectivism-Stalin's Russia inspired much about both of them.  Link to the review on Animal Farm & Orwell's book on book covers click to link or use Past Reviews. 

Quotes by George Orwell


“Big Brother is Watching You.” 

"Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.” 

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” 

“War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” 

“In the face of pain there are no heroes.”

 We do not merely destroy our enemies; we change them.”

“Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else.” 

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By Gorge Orwell