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1984 by George Orwell

One of the best English-language books of all times, the dystopian novel 1984 was written by George Orwell and published in 1949. This book is a warning for the terrible dangers that humans can create on their way to build a utopian society. Many concepts of the book such as Big Brother, Newspeak, Memory hole or doublethink are now part of the contemporary vernacular.

Plot summary

After an atomic global war, in 1984 the world is divided into three superstates – Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia – led by Big Brother who has to power to censor everybody`s behavior, including their thoughts. Winston Smith lives in London, Oceania, and feels disgust for his life governed by oppression. He wishes to join Brotherhood, a group of underground rebels who want to overthrow the government.

Winston falls in love with Julia and they have an affair, in the context in which having an affair is seen as a crime. Winston has the impression that O`Brian, an inner party member, was in the Brotherhood. Winston and Julia, both hating the party, go to O`Brian`s house and enter the Brotherhood. But O`Brian, a faithful member of the party, uses the Brotherhood excuse only to set up a trap for Winston.

Ministry of Love is a rehabilitation center for criminals where Winston and Julia are sent to. Tortured and separated from Julia, Winston is obliged to submit his belief to those of the party and let go his love for Julia. After his release, Winston spends his days drinking gin at the Chestnut Tree.

Themes and style

1984 is written in a descriptive and informative style. The main themes are dangers of Totalitarianism, sexual repression, censorship, surveillance, futurology, psychological manipulation and physical control.

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