Orwell - A comparative study of Burmese Days, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty- Four


A comparative study of "Burmese Days", "Animal Farm" and "Nineteen Eighty- Four"


Eric Arthur Blair (later George Orwell) was born in 1903 in the Village Motihari, which lies near the border of Nepal. At the time India was part of the British Empire. His father, Richard Blair, was an agent in the Opium Department of the Indian Civil Service. Eric's mother, Ida Mabel Blair was about eighteen years younger than her husband. Eric had an elder sister called Marjorie. The Blair's had a relatively priveleged and fairly pleasant existence. Orwell later describes them as "lower-upper-middle class". They owend no property and had no extensive investments. They were like many middle-class English families of the time. In 1907 moved with his mother and his sister to England. Richard Blair stayed in India. With some difficulty, Blair's parents sent their son to a private prepartory school in Sussex at the age of eight. At the age of thirteen he won a scholarship to Wellington, and soon another to Eton, the very famous public school. Since the age of five or six, he had known that he would be a writer. He neglected to win a university scholarship, and in 1922 Eric Blair joined the Indian Imperal Police and was trained in Burma. He served there for nearly five years but he resigned in 1928. There have been at least two reasons for this: firstly, his life as a policeman was a distraction from the life he really wanted, which was to be a writer; and secondly, he thought that as a policeman in Burma, he was supporting a political system in which he could not longer believe. Even as early as this his ideas about writing and his political ideas were closely linked. It was not simply that he wished to break away from British Imperalism in India, he wished to "escape from every form of man's domination over others"- not just over the Burmese, but over the English working class. Imperalism, he wrote, at the end of his change, was an evil thing, and the sooner he chucked his job and got out of it the better. He says, he was all for the Burmese and all against their British oppressors.

Back in London he settled down in a grotty bedroom in Potobello Road. There at the age of twenty- four, he started to teach himself how to write. In spring of

1928 he turned his back on his own inherited values, by taking a drastic step. For more than one year he went on living among poor, first in London, then in Paris. For him the poor were victims if injustice, playing the same part as the Burmese played in their country. One reason for going to live among the poor was to overcome a repulsion which he considered as typical for his own class.

In Paris he lived and worked in a working- class quarter. At that time, as he said, Paris was full of artists and would- be artists. There Orwell led a life that was far from bohemian, when he eventually got a job, he worked as a dishwasher. He wrote two novels, which have been lost, during his time in Paris, and published some articles in French and English.

When he came back to London, he lived for a couple of month among the tramps and poor people in London. In December 1929 Eric spent Christmas with his family. At his visit he announced that he was going to write a book abouthis time in Paris. The original version of Down And Out entitled A Scullion's Diary was completed in October 1930 and came to only 35 000 words because he had used only a part of his material. After two rejections from publishers Orwell wrote Burmese Days (published in 1934), a book based on his experiences in the colonial service.

We owe the rescue of Down and Out to Mabel Firez. She was asked to destroy the script, but she saved it. Instead she took the manuscript and brought it to Leonard Monroe, literary agent of the house Gollancz, and bullied him to read it. Soon it was accepted- on condition that all swearwords were deleted and certain names changed. Eric wrote to Victor Gonllancz: ". I would prefer the book to br published pseudonymously. I have no preputation that is lost by doing this and if the book has any kind of success I can always use this pseudonym again."

But Orwells reason for taking the name Orwell are much more complicated than those writers usually have when they adopt a penname. In effect it meant that Eric Blair would somehow have to shed his old identity and take a new. This is exactly what he tried to do. Hr tried to change himself Eric Blair, old Etonian and English colonial policeman, into George Orwell, classless antiauthoritaritan. Orwell was the name of a small river in East Anglia, and George was definitely a British Christian name.

Down And Out In Paris And London is a kind of documentary account of life unknown to most of his readers. And this was the point of it: he wished to bring the English middle class, of which he was a member, to an understanding of what life they led and enjoyed, was founded upon, the life under their very noses. Here we see two typical aspects of Orwell as a writer: his idea of himself as the exposer of painful truth, which people for various reasons don't wish to look at; and his idea of himself as a representative of the English moral conscience.

His next book was A Clergyman's daughter (1935) and Keep The Aspidistra Flying (1936). In 1936 he opened a village shop in Wallington, where he did business in the mornings and wrote in the afternoons. The ame year he married Elieen O' Shaughnessy. Orwell's reputation at this time, as writer and journalist, was based mainly on his accounts of poverty and depression. He had first broken his orthodox social relationship and then dropped out of them. He received a commision from the Left Book Club to examine the conditions od the poor and unemployed. This resulted in The Road To Wigan Pier.  He went on living among the poor about who he has to write the book. Once again it was a journey away from the comparative comfort of the middle class life. For while the first part of the book is the kind of reporting that he had been asked for and that he could do so well, the second part is an essay on class and socialism which is effectively the first statement of Orwell's basic political position. Repeating his opposition to imperalism and the class system, he now adds a commitment to socialist definitions of freedom and equality while at the same time attacking most forms of the organised socialist movement and especially various kinds of English middle- class socialists. The Left Book Club wasn't satisfied because Orwell criticised the English socialism.

After completed The Road To Wigan Pier he went to Spain at the end of 1936, with the idea of writing newspaper articles on the Civil War which had broken out there. The conflict in Spain was between the communists, socialists Republic and General Franco's Fascist military rebellion. When Orwell arrived in Barcelona he was astonished about the atmosphere he found there. What had seemed impossible in England seemed a fact of daily life in Spain. Class distiction seemed to have vanished. Ther was a shortage of everything but there was equality. Orwell joined the militia of the POUM (partido Obrero de Unificación de Marxista), which was associated with the British Labour Party. For the first time in his life socialism seemed reality, something for which it was worth fighting for. Orwell received a basic military training and was send to the front on Aragon, near Zaragoza. He spent a couple of months there and he was wounded it the throat. Three and a half months later when he returned to Barcelona, he found it a changed city. No longer a place where the communist word comrade was really felt to mean something, it was a city returning to "normal". He became confronted fo the first time with the viciousness of the Republican internal struggle for power when the Stalinist- controlled Government forces unsuccessfully attempted to supress their unruly Anarchist comrades- in- arms, and there were some confused street fightings in which Orwell played a part.

Even  worse, he was to find that the group he was with, the POUM, was now accused of being a Fascist militia, secretly helping Franco.

As soon as he returned from Spain, he began writing Homage to Catalonia, which completed his break with the orthodox Left. The book was published in in April 1938, and in June Orwell joined the Independent Labour Party, in which he stayed until the early months of the war. His experiences in Spain left two impressions on Orwell's mind: fistly, they showed him that socialism in action was a human possibility, if only a temporary one. He never forget the exhilaration of those first days in Barcelona, when a new society seemed possible, where "comradship" instead of being just a socialist abuse of language, was reality. But secondly he saw the experience of the city returning to normal as a gloomy confirmation of the fact that there will always be different classes, that there is something in the human nature that seeks violance, conflict, power over others. What he has criticised among socialists and Marxists in Britain he found in the POUM as much as in the communist Party in Spain. His experiences during the Civil War convinced him more than ever of the need for radical socialist upheaval in England, while creating a longstanding appalled fascination with the methods of totalitarian rule and a disgust for Stalinist Communism.

In 1938 Orwell became ill with tuberculosis, and spent the winter in Marocco. While being there he wrote his fourth novel Coming Up From Air, published in 1939, the year the long threatened war between England and Germany broke out. Orwell wanted to fight, as he has done in Spain against the fascist enemy, but he was unfit. He moved back to London in May 1940, and in the autumn of that year he wrote The Lion And The Unicorn, an essay subtitled Socialism And The Endlish Genius.

In 1944 he joined the BBC as talks producer in the Indian section of the Eastern Service. He served at that time in the Home Guard and as a firewatcher. In 1943 he left the BBC to become literary editor of Tribune, and began writing Animal Farm.

The extraordinary commercial success of Animal Farm was the end of the financial worries which he had suffered as a writer.

In 1944 the Orwells adopted a son, but in 1945 his wife died during an operation. Towards the end of the war Orwell went to Europe asa reporter. Late in 1945 he went to the island of Jura, off the Scottish coast, and setteled ther in 1946. He wrote Nineteen Eighty- Four there. The islands climate was unsiutable for someone suffering from tuberculosis and Nineteen Eighty- Four reflects the bleakness of human suffering, the indignity of pain. Indeed he said that the book wouldn't have been so gloomy had he not been so ill.  In September 1949 he went into hospital in London, and in October he married Sonia Brownwell.

George Orwell died in January 1950.

Burmese Days

The story takes place in 1930, Kyauktada, Upper Burma. Protagonist James Flory is a timber merchant, whose facial birthmark serves as an outward exp-ression of the ironic habits of mind that make him different from his British friends.

Flory is a man of about thirty- five. He was born in Britain and he was about twenty years when he came to Burma. Flory is a good friend of Dr. Veraswami, a small black man with fuzzy hair and round, credulous eyey. Flory is a member of one of the European Clubs in Burma, like Mr. McGregor, Maxwell, Mr. Lackersteen, Ellis and some others. Most of them, except Flory, really hate Orientals. The British in Burma spend most of their time in these local European Clubs, playing bridge and getting drunk. Flory and most of the other british man keep a Burmese mistress but they only for sex. The relationship with Flory's mistress Ma Hla May is based on mutal benefit, Flory doesn't expect her to be the partner he is looking for and keeps her only because he is physically attracted to her. But he is the only one who feels quilty, none of the others never shows any kinf of regret for forcing native girls into intimate contact with them.

The plot of the novel follows the conflict between U Po Kyin and Flory's friend Dr. Veraswami over who will be admitted as the first and only native member of the European Club. U Po Kyin as well as Dr. Veraswami admission to the Club would be the ultimative success. None of them dream of going to the Club, it would perfectly be enaugh just to be an official member. Flory is the only one who befriend natives but he doesn't always possess the moral courage or the energy to it. Imperalism forces Flory to hold back his true opinions because voicing them would undermine the unity of the Britishers. The crocodile U Po Kyin is a direct product of imperalism. He has the most actual power in the english outpost of progress and he controlls his rulers.

Elizabeth Lackersteen is a girl coming to India in search of a husband. She is silly, snobbish and heartless. Neverteless Flory was fascinated by her. Elizabeth knows exactly whatt she wants and what not. The is nothing that interests her more than social precedence, gossip and snubbing persons that seem to be lower on the social ladder. She, like so many other British women, refuses to learn more than a few words of the local language.

In the end Flory is blackmailed and finally ruined with the help of Ma Hla May. After his death, Elizabeth marries the much older Deputy Commissioner Mr. McGregor. She turns out to be a typical British woman in te colonies.


McGregor       - turtle

Ellis                - goat

Elizabeth        - lizard

Maxwell         - carthorse

U Po Kyin       - crocodile

Flory               - dog

Orwell criticsm is directed against the system of imperalism which turns normal people into beasts. When Orwell lived in nBurma he never really came to love the natives. Maybe that's the reason why Flory and Dr. Veraswami are the only two main characters who are granted some positive qualities by the author. The Burmese, apart from Veraswami, are lazy, corrupt and power- lusty. The only thing they have learnt from their European rulers is the wish for unlimited power.

Orwell wants Britain to give up her colonies and the whole policy of imperalism because no form of oppression can ever be accepted by a man like Orwell. But anti- imperalism doesn't mean anti- patriotism for Orwell. He loved his country but he didn't want his country to commit a crime he was personally ashamed of.

Orwell makes no secret out of his belief that an empire is a money- making concern. His experiences as a policeman in Burma opened his eyes for the true nature of imperalism.

Animal Farm


Mr. Jones is the owner of the 'Manor Farm', he is often drunk and treats his animals badly. One night Major, an old pig, calls out for all animals to come to the big barn. He tells them about his vision of freedom and Animalism. The main facts are that human beings are the enemies, and that the animals could only survive with a rebellion. After the speech he teaches them the song 'Beasts of England'. Three days later Major dies, but the animals keep his vision in mind. One day Mr. Jones comes home late and drunk and forgets to feed the animals. So the animals start the rebellion and Mr. Jones and his family have to leave. Now the farm belongs to the animals. There are two pigs Napoleon and Snowball who follow the thought of old Major and work out 'The seven Commandments':

1.     Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy

2.     Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend

3.     No animal shall wear clothes

4.     No animal shall sleep in a bed

5.     No animal shall drink alcohol

6.     No animal shall kill another animal

7.     All animals are equal

The pigs are more intelligent than the other animals and so they do the thinking part, the organisation, on the farm. Each Sunday there is a meeting in the barn where the solutions for the problems are decided by voting, and the song 'Beasts of England' is sung. Snowball tries to teach the animals reading and Napoleon takes nine puppies and brings them up hidden. There are two farms next to the Animal Farm. One day Jones comes back with a few men, leading an attack against the farm. But the animals led by Snowball defeat it bravely. That day is called then the day of 'The Battle of Cowshed'. Everytime Snowball makes a suggestion for anything Napoleon is against it. As Snowball has the idea to build a windmill, to have later on a better live, because of the electrical power, the light and the warm water, Napoleon disagrees and lets his nine dogs attack Snowball. He has to flee and just escapes with his life. Napoleon forbids the Sunday meetings and decides all problems by himself. Some animals are against it and ask why Snowball was driven away. But Squealer, who becomes more and more the right hand of Napoleon argues that Snowball was on Mr. Jones side, and they all don't want Mr. Jones to come back. The dogs are like a security guard and every time any animal doesn't agree with the pigs, it is warned by the dogs. Napoleon even decides to let the windmill be built. During the next summer the animals work like slaves, building the windmill and working on the fields. There isn't more food than before the rebellion, it is equal or even less, but the animals mostly don't recognise, and those who do, they say: 'it's better having less food, than Mr. Jones coming back'. The pigs behave more and more like humans. They also sleep in beds. Also the animals changed the fourth rule into 'No animal shall sleep in beds with sheets'. Napoleon, called the leader, starts dealing with the humans of the other farms through Mr. Whymper. In autumn the windmill is half-built as it is destroyed by a great storm. The leader says it was Snowball who came back. There is less food in winter and so the hens have to give away their eggs for selling. The animals start to rebuilt the windmill. One day four pigs are sentenced to death and killed by the dogs, because they alleged have been in league with Snowball. A few days later the animals find the sixth rule changed into 'No animal shall kill any other animal without cause'. In autumn the windmill is finished and named 'Napoleon Mill'. Some days later it is destroyed by the farmers of the neighbour farm and about a dozen men with guns and dynamite. A lot of animals are killed, but they win again. One day a pig finds some whiskey and so they drink it. And from now on the fifth rule is changed into 'No animal shall drink alcohol to excess'. And again the animals start rebuilding the mill. One day Boxer, who is twelve years old, brakes down. Instead of bringing him to a hospital as he said, Napoleon gets Boxer to a slaughter house.
Years later only some of the animals are alive who were there before the rebellion. The farm is richer than before and the windmill has been finished, but it isn't used for electrical power, but for milling corn, which is sold. One day Squealer takes some sheeps and teaches them the new rule 'Four legs good, two legs better'. From that day on the pigs walk on their hind legs. Clover and Benjamin, who are both very old, go to the barn and find just one rule is left 'All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others'. A week later some humans come to the farm to celebrate a feast with the pigs, and as the other animals look through the window into the farmhouse they can't divide the pigs form the humans.

Main Characters:

Mr. Jones: He is irresponsible to his animals and cruel. He stands for Czar NicholasII, a poor leader, compared to western kings.

Old Major: Without the pig there wouldn't have been any revolution. He gives the other animals a vision, a hope for a better life an for that he is very respected. He stands for Lenin and Karl Marx. They spread their ideas of the new world to the other people.


Animalism: it means that there are no owners, no rich and no poor. Everyone owens the farm and all animals are equal. It is the same like Communism is Russia

Snowball, another pig: he is young, smart idealistic and a good speaker. He wamts to makr life better for all. He represents Leon Trotsky, one leader of the October Revolution. He followed Marx and wanted to improve life for all in Russia

Napoleon, also a pig: isn't a good speaker. He is cruel, selfish and his ambition is for power. He uses dogs, moses and Squealer to control the animals. He stands for Joseph Stalin. He didn't follow Marx's ideas.

Boxer, cart-horse: strong, hard working horse who believes in Animalism. He always says: "Napoleon is always right" and "I have to work harder": He stands for the working class who believed in Stalin.

The nine dogs: They are a private army to fear animals. They represent the KGB- the secret police..

Squealer: The pig stands for the general manipulation of facts with help of the media and the whole propaganda of the Bolsheviks. He changes the bad things into good things just by telling them different. So the animals mostly believe that everything is alright.

Benjamin: The donkey represents the old, resigned and experienced part of the people, which think that nothing will change, everything will stay that bad as it is.

Mollie: she represents that part of the people which already had a nice life before the revoultion.

Moses, the raven: he stands for the religion and is always preaching about Sugar candy mountain, which is something like heaven.

Orwell's political message

During the war in Spain Orwell began to realise the true nature of Stalin's rule in Russia. The actions of the Communists in Spain exposed to him how false the idea was that Russia was a Socialist State. He then went on to write Animal Farm as a way to remind people about the true facts of the Russian Revolution and the nature of Stalin's rise to power, becoming a totalitarian dictator.

Orwell wrote 'Animal Farm' primarily as an allegory of the Russian Revolution thinly disguised as an animal fable. Orwell specifically had Russia in mind but also draws from his experiences in Spain to show that all well-meant societies are at risk. The major theme of 'Animal Farm' is the betrayal of the Russian Revolution and the way that good will can fall prey to ambition, selfishness and hypocrisy. 'Animal Farm' also addresses the abuse of powerssentially Orwell wanted to save Socialism from Communism. Orwell's message is that any society which has leaders with absolute power is ultimately doomed to failure due to the inevitability of leaders manipulating power for their own personal benefit.

The philosophy of 'Animalism' in 'Animal Farm' quite clearly is designed to represent Marxist-Communism. The parallels between the commandment 'Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy' and Marxism's hatred of Capitalism is obvious. The pigs straight away take their places 'immediately in front of the platform' (Ch.I) when the animals meet to hear Old Major's speech, thus signalling the fact that they are seen as more important than other animals.

Animal Farm follows the events of the Russian Revolution quite closely with characters from the book representing real life people or groups. The way that Orwell presents these real-life people in the book gives an insight into his political feelings. Orwell shows Old Major in a sympathetic light - Old Major is seen as having good intentions but too much of a naive idealism to realise that not all animals share the same public-spiritedness that he has.

Orwell himself believed that revolution was not the answer - he believed that revolution was not a way of changing society.

The answer according to Orwell was reform, not revolution : Reform really changes. Orwell believed that The Left in Russia had been tricked into revolution by its enemies.

Orwell is very critical of religion, describing Moses as being 'a spy, a tale, bearer but also a clever talker'. At first Moses was loyal to Jones, just as the Russian Church had been to the Czarist Regime. Orwell showed how Moses's tales of a heaven called 'Sugarcandy Mountain' were useful to Jones as a way of keeping the animals in order - religion gave them hopes of a better life after they died and their belief made them more willing to accept their current harsh lives.

Orwell's views about Trotsky were mixed and these contrasting feelings are shown in the way he describes Snowball. Snowball is shown to have been a key factor in the success of the Battle of the Cowshed - his bravery was inspirational to animals around him. Orwell clearly preferred Trotsky to Stalin, but saw him as merely the lesser of two evils - the main difference between the two being that Stalin used terror

and force in order to assert his authority over the animals and Trotsky main support was gained from his inspiring speeches.

Orwell is keen to try and show how evil Stalin was and how far removed the way he ran Russia was from the original Marxist Socialist beliefs which had been the inspiration for the revolution in the first place.

Nineteen Eighty- Four


The story starts, as the title tells us, in the year 1984, and it takes place in England or how it is called at that time, Airstrip One. Airstrip One itself is the mainland of a huge country, called Oceania, which consists of North America, South Africa and Australia. The world is divided up into three super states of Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia, each in a permanent state of war with the other. Airstrip is governed by the Party through the Ministry of Peace (which runs the war), the Ministry of Love (headquarters of the secrete police), the Ministry of Plenty (which deals in scarcities), and the Ministry of Truth (which handles propaganda). The leader, who is never seen in person, is Big Brother and his face looks down from every wall. The enemy of the people is Emmanuel Goldstein, who directs the activities of the Brotherhood, Oceania's enemies in the other super- states.

The population of Oceania is divided into three parts:

1. The Inner Party (1% of the population)

2. The Outer Party (18% of the population)

3. The Proles

The book is written in third person. The protagonist is Winston Smith, a member of the Outer Party, working in the Record Department of the Ministry of Truth. The action starts when Winston develops critic thoughts against the ruling dictatorship of the Party, for the first time. Doing so he buys himself a book, a very rare thing these days, to use it as diary. Individual expression was forbidden by the Party, so having a diary was a crime, which could even be punished with death. There were so- called telescreens in each room, showing propaganda and can see what people are doing in their private lives. Therefore keeping a secret book was not only forbidden, but also very dangerous. When Winston makes the first entry in the diary, he thinks about an experience he has made during the Two Minutes Hate, a propaganda film, that was repeated each day. During this film he caught the eye of O'Brien, a member of the Inner Party, of whom he thought that he might also stand critic to the regime, or that there is some kind of bond between them. After the reflection, he finds that he has written the sentence: "Down with Big Brother", all over the page.

In the same night Winston dreams about his mother and sister, who had starved to death in the war, because he had been so greedy. Then he dreams of having sex with a girl he has seen in the Records Department, during the Two Minutes Hate. Early in the morning Winston is waken up by the harsh voice from the telescreen. During the performance of the exercises, Winston's thought move back to his childhood. The last thing he remberes clearly, is the World War. After the World War the Party has taken control of the country, and from then on it was difficult to remember anything because the Party changed the history to their own benefit.

After the exercises Winston goes to work, to the Minitrue (Ministry of Truth), where his job is to alter records, and once altered, to throw them into the Memory Hole where they are burnt. For example Big Brother has promised that there will be no reduction of the chocolate ration, but there has been one, so Winston has to rewrite an old article where the speech of Big Brother is written down.

At dinner Winston meets Syme who is working on the 11th edition of the Newspeak Dictionary. During their conversation the telescreen announces that the chocolate ration has been risen. Winston wonders whether he is the only person with memory, that isn't inflicted by Doublethink.

Back home again he makes an entry into his diary about his meeting with a prostitute three years ago. Winston had a wife but she was very stupid and just following the orders of the Party, which said that there may only be sex to produce "new material" for the Party and that sex for the personal pleasure is a crime. Then Winston thinks about the Party and believes that the only hope lies in the Proles who pose over 80% of Oceania's population. Laterhe remembers another fact of his past, Jones, Aaronson and Rutherford, the last three survivors of the original leaders of the Revolution. They were arrested in 1965 and confessed all kind of sabotage on trial, they were pardoned, reinstated bu not long after they were arrested again and executed. During the brief period Winston has seen them in the Chestnut Tree Café. In the same year a half page torn out of The Times came to Winston trough the transport tube in Minitrue. This page of The Times showed the three man in Eastasia on a certain day. But Winston remembered clearly that they have confessed being in Eurasia on that day (at this time Eurasia was at war with Oceania, and Eastasia was an allied). So Winston could proof that the confessions were lies. But Winston had sent this paper down to the Memory Hole (a kind of paper basket). The last entry Winston writes in his diary is that freedom is to say that two and two makes four. The next day Winston decides not to participate in the community actions but take a walk in the quarter of the Proles. During the walk a Rocket- Bomb explodes nearby. After a while Winston finds himself in front of the junk- shop, where he has bought the diary. There he sees an old man just entering a pub. He decides to follow the man and to ask him about the time before the Revolution but the old man has already forgotten nearly everything about this time. Winston leaves the pub and goes to the shop. Mr. Carrington, the owner of the shop leads him upstairs to show him an old room. Winston likes the room because there are no telescreens. When Winston leaves the shop he suddenly meets the dark- haired girl in the street. He now believes that this girl is a spy or even a member of the Thought Police, spying on him. The next morning he meets the girl in the Ministry of Truth and in the moment she passed, she falls down and cries out in pain. When Winston helps her up, she has pressed a piece of paper into his hand. At the first opportunity he opens it and finds the message: "I love you" written on it. Some time later they meet on the fixed place, there th girl gives Winston instructiones how to get to a secret place on Sunday. It is Sunday and Winston follows the girls directions. She comes up behind him, telling him to be quiet because there might be some microphones hidden somewhere. They kiss and he learns her name: Julia. She leads him to another place where they cannot be observed. Julia tells Winston that she is attracted to him by something in his face which shows that he is against the party. Winston rents the room above Mr. Carrington's junk shop, a place where they can meet and talk without the fear of being observed. It is summer and the preparations for "Hate Week", an propaganda event, are well forthcoming and in this time Winton meets Julia more often than ever before. One day O'Brien invites Winston to his flat, to see the latest edition of he Newspeak dictionary. Winston now feels sure that the conspiracy against the Party he had longed to know about- the Brotherhood, as it is called- does exist and that in the encounter with O' Brien he has come into contact with its outer edge. Some days later Winston and Julia meet each other to go to the flat of O'Brien, which lies in the district of the Inner Party. To their astonishment O'Brien switches off the telescreen in the room (normally it's impossiple to turn it off). Winston blurts out why they have come. They want to work against the Party, they believ in the existence of the Brotherhood and that O'Brien is involved with it. They drink wine and toast to Emanuel Goldstein, the leader of the Brotherhood. They leave and some days lter Winston gets a copy of "The Book", a book written by Emanuel Goldstein about his political ideas. Now it is Hate Week and suddenly the war with Eurasia stops and a war with Eastasia starts. Winston has to change dozens of articles about the war with Eurasia. Nevertheless Winston finds time to read the book. The book has three chapters titled: "War is Peace", "Ignorance is Strenght" and "Freedom is Slavery", which were also the main phrases of the Party. The main ideas of the book are:

1. War is important for consuming the products of human labour, if this work would be used to increase the standard of living, the control of the Party over the people would decrease. War is the economy basis for a hierarchical society.

2. There is an emotional need to believe in the ultimative victory of Big Brother

3. In becoming continues was has ceased to exist. The continuity of the war guarantees the permanence of he current order. In other words: War is Peace

4. There have always been three main grades of society: the High, the Middle and the Low and no change has brought human equality a millimetre nearer.

5. Collectivism doesn't lead to socialism. In the evnt the wealth now belongs to the new "high- class", the administrators. Collectivism has ensured the permanence of inequality.

6. Wealth is not inherited from person to person, but it is kept within the ruling group

7. The masses (Proles) are given freedom of thought because they don't think. A Party member is not allowed the slightest deviation of thought and there is an elaborate mental training to ensure this, a training that can be summerised in the concept of doublethink.

So far the book analyses how the Party works. The next morning Winston is again filled with the conviction that the future lies with the Proles. But suddenly reality crashes in: "We are the dead", he says to Julia. An iron voice behing them repeats the phrase. Uniformed man thunder into the room and thy carry Winston and Julia out. Winston is in a cell in what he presumes is the Ministry of Love. He is sick with hunger and fear and when he makes a movement or a sound, a harsh voice will bawl at him from the telescreen. A prisoner who is dyinf of starvation is brought in and later this man is brought to Room 101 after screaming and struggling. O'Brien enters. Winston thinks that they must got him too, but O'Brien turns out to be the head of the Ministry. When Winston wakes up, O'Brien stand besides the bed, and Winston feels that O'Brien, who is the torturer, is also somehow a friend. The aim of O'Brien is to teach Winston the technique of Doublethink and he does it by inflicting pain in ever increasing intensity. He reminds Winston that he wrotes the sentence: "Freedom is Freedom to say that two plus two makes four". O'Brien holds up four fingers of his left hand and he asks Winston how many there are. Winston answers for a couple of times and each time the pain increases (this is not done to make Winston lie, but to make him really see five fingers instaed of four). At the end of the session, under heavy influence of drugs and agony, Winston really see five fingers. Now Winston is ready to enter the second stage of his integration (1. Learning, 2. Understanding, 3. Acceptance). O'Brien now explains why the Party works. The imaginethat he gives of the future is that of a boot stamping on a human face- forever.

Winston protest because he thinks that there is something in the humn nature that will not allow this, he calls it "The Spirit of Man". O'Brien points out that Winston is the last humanist, he is the last guardian of the human spirit. Then O'Brien gets Winston to look at himself in the mirror. Winston is horrified what he sees. The only degratation that Winston has not been trough, is that he has not betrayed Julia. He has said anything under torture but inside he has remained true to her. Winston is much better now. For some time he has not been beaten and tortured, he has been fed quite well and allowed wash. Winston now realises that he now accepts all the lies of the Party, that for example Oceania was always at war with Eastasia and that he never had to photograph of Jones, Aaronson and Rutherford that disproved their guilty. But nevertheless Winston has some unorthodox thoughts that cannot suppress. But now it's time for the last of the three steps, reintegration. Winston is taken to Room 101. O'Brien says that the Room 101 is the worst thing in the world. For each person it is his own hell. For some it is death by fire or burial alive. For Winston it is a cage containing two rats, with a fixture like a fencing mask attached, into which the face of the victim is strapped. Then there is a lever, that opens the cage so that the rats can get to the face. O'Brien is approaching nearer with the cage and Winston gets the bad smell of the rats. He screams. The only way to get out of this is to put someone else between him and the horror. "Do it to Julia", he screams in a final betrayal of himself. Winstin is released and he is often sitting in the Chestnut Tree Café, drinking Victory Gin and playing chess. He now has a job in a sub- committee that is made up for others like himself. On a cold winter day he meets Julia, they speak briefly but have little to say to each other, except that they have betrayed each other. A memory od a day in his childhood comes to Winston's mind. It is false, he is often troubled by false memories. He looks forward to the bullet, they will kill him some day. Now he realises how pointless it was to resist. He loves Big Brother.


Winston Smith

Orwell named his hero after Winston Churchill, England's great leader during World War II. He added a common last name- Smith. The action of this novel is built around the main character, Winston Smith. The understanding of his personality and his character is very important for the understanding of the whole book. Winston was born before World War II. During the war there was a lack of food and Winston has taken nearly all of the food that was allocated to the family, although his younger sister was starving to death. In 1984 Winston often dreams of this time and he also remembers how he once has stolen the whole chocolate tht was given to the family. Winston sees a kind of link between his behaviour and the behaviour of the children that are educated by the Party. These children prosecute their own family. He finally realises his and the Party's guilt. Winston is some kind of hero because he is aware of the dang that he has encountered. So for example he knew it from the very beginning that his diary would be found. He also knew tht his illegal love affair was an act of revolution and that would be disclosed by the Thought Police. But nevertheless he is also a little bit incautious as he has opened his mind to O'Brien before he was sure that he was also against the Party.


Julia is a woman around the age of 25. She works in a special department of the Minitrue, producing cheap pornography for the Proles. She has already had a couple of illegal love affairs. Unlike Winston, she is basically a simple woman that uses sex for fun as well as for rebellion. She accepts the overnight changes in Oceania's history and doesn't trouble her head about it. If Big Brother says black is white, she accepts it, if he says two and two make five, she accepts it too. When she reads Winstons treasured book by Goldstein, she falls asleep. She is lovingly, sharp, funny and attractive. All in all she may be a reflectin of Orwell's limited view of the other sex.


Probably the most interesting thing about O'Brien is tht we have only Winston's opinion of him. He is fairly sturdy but also, as the leader of the Inner Party, very sophisticated. He is supposed to be the head of the secret Brotherhood dedicated to the overthrow of Big Brother. Another very interesting thing about O'Brien is that the reader doesn't precisely know if he is a friend or an enemy of Winston. O'Brien, the powerful and mighty Party member, is a kind of fath for Winston. Before Winston's capture, O'Brien "helps" Winston to get in contact with the Brotherhood, moreover he teaches him the Ideology and the rules of this secret organisation. After the capture O'Brien gives Winston the feeling that he is somehow protecting him. The relation between O'Brien and Winston has all attributes of a typical relation between father and child. The fahter is all- knowing, all- mighty; he teaches, punishes and educates his child, and he is protecting it, from anything that could harm the child. But O'Brien is only playing his role to reintegrate Winston.

Big Brother

Big Brother is not a real person. All- present he is, all- powerful and forever watching, he is only seen on TV. Although his pictures glares out from huge posters that shout: "Big Brother is watching you", nobody sees Big Brother in in person. Orwell had several things in mind when he created Big Brother.

He was certainly thinking of Russian leader Joseph Stalin; the pictures of Big Brother even look like him. He was also thinking of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. Big Brother stand for all dictators everywhere. Orwell may have been thinking about figures in certain religious faiths when he drew Big Brother. The mysterious, powerful, God- like figure who sees and knows everything- but never appears in person. For Inner Party members, Big Brother is a leader, a bogeyman they can use to scare the people, and their authorisation for ding whatever they want. If anybody asks, tey can say that they are uner orders from Big Brother. For the unthinking Proles, Big Brother is a distant authority figure. For Winston, Big Brother is an inspiration. Big Brother excitres and energises Winston, who hates him. He is aslo fascinated by Big Brother and drawn to him in some of the same ways that he is drawn to O'Brien, developing a love- hate response to both of them that leads to his downfall.


The Plot has three main movements, corresponding to the division of the book in three parts. The first part, the first eight chapters, creates the world of 1984, a totalitarian world where the Party tries to control everything, even thought and emotion. In this part Winston develops his first unorthodox thoughts. The second part of the novel deals with the development of his love to Julia, someone with whom he can share his private emotions. For a short time they create a small world of feelings for themselves. They are betrayed however. O'Brien, whom Winston thought being a rebel like himself, is in reality a member of the Inner Party.

The third part deals with Winston's punishment. Finally he comes to love Big Brother. Generally the plot is very simple: a rebell, a love affair, capture, torture and finally the capitulation. Apart from Julia, O'Brien, and of course Winston, there are no important characters. Indeed one of Orwell's points is that life in 1984 has become totally uniform. So the traditional novel would be unthinkable. In fact Winston is the only character worth writing about, all the other characters are half roboters already. So one could say that the plot was built around Winstons mind and life. This gave Orwell the opportunity to focus on the reaction of the individual to totalitarianism, love and cruelty.

Political System


The Party of Oceania includes about 19% of thw whole population of Oceanias mainland. Generally the Party is devided into the Inner Party and the Outer Party. Winston Smith himself is a member of the Outer Party. The members of the Inner Party hold high posts in the administration of the country. They earn much money and there isn't a lack of anything in their homes, which looked like palaces. The people of the Outer Party live in dull grey and old flats. Because of the war there is often a lack of the most essential things. The life of the Outer Party is dictated by the Party, even their spare time is used by the Party. There are so called community hikes, community games and all sort of other activities. And refusing the participation at this activities is even dangerous. The life of a Party member is dictated from his birth to his death. The Party even takes children away from their prents to educate them in the sense of Ingsoc (you can find it also in the communist future plans). The children are taught in school, to report it to the police (Thought Police) when their parents have unorthodox thoughts, so- called  "Thoughtcrimes". After the educatin the Party members start to work mainly for one of the Ministries. The further life of the comraes continues under the watchful eyes of the Party. Everything the people do is target by the telescreen. Even in their homes people have telescreens. Each unorthodox action is then punished by "joycamps" (Newspeak word for forced labour camps).

Ministries in which the government is divided:

- Ministry of Truth (Minitrue), entertainment, education, fine arts

- Ministry of Peace (Minipax).. War

- Ministry of Love (Miniluv), order

- Ministry of Plenty (Miniplenty)..economic, affairs


The Proles make about 81% of the population of Oceania. The Party itself is only interested in their labour power because the Proles are mainly employed in the industry and in the farms. Without their labour force Oceania would break down. Despite this fact the Party ignores this social caste. The curios thing about this behaviour is, that the Party calls a Socialistic Party, and generally socialism is a movement of the proletariat. So one could say that the Party abuses the word "Ingsoc". Orwell again had pointed again at an other regime, the Nazis, who had put socialism into their name. One of the main phrases of the Party is "Proles and animals are free". In Oceania the Proles live in very desolate and poor quarters. Compared to the districts where the members of the Party live, there are much fewer telescreens and policeman. And as long as the Proles don't commit a crime (crime in our sense, noz in the sense of the Party) they don't have any contact with the state. Therefor in the districts of the proletarians one can find things that are abolished and forbidden fo the Party members. For example old books, old furniture, prostitution and alcohol( mainly beer). Except Victory Gin all of these things are not available for the Party members. The Proles don't participate in the technical development. They live like they used to do many years ago. The Party ignores the Proles because they see no danger in them. The working class is too uneducated and too unorganised to be a real threat. So there is not really a need to change the political attitudes of this class.


Newspeak is the official language of Oceania, and had been devised to meet ideological needs of Ingsoc, or English Socialism. In the year 1984, there is nobody, who really uses Newspeak in speech nor in writing. Only the leading articles are written in this 'language'. The purpose of Newspeak is not only to provide medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other methods of thought impossible. With Newspeak ,Doublethink would be even easier. Generally Newspeak words are divided into three groups: the A,B(also called compound words) and the C Vocabulary.
A-Vocabulary: The A-Vocabulary consist of the words needed in business and everyday life, for such things as drinking, working, and the like. The words of this group are nearly entirely composed of Oldspeak words, but in comparison, their number is very small.

B-Vocabulary: The B-Vocabulary consist of words which have been constructed for political purpose. The B-Vocabulary are in all cases compound words, and they consisted of two or more words, merged together in an easy pronounceable form. Example: goodthink - Goodthink means very roughly orthodoxy, or if it is regarded as a verb 'to think in a good manner'. Such words for instance as joycamp (forced labour camp) or Minipax (Ministry of Peace in charge of the army ), mean almost exact opposite of what they appear to mean. Generally the name of any organisation, building, and so on is cut down to a minimum number of syllables and to a minimum of length, in an easy pronounceable way. This isn't only in Newspeak, already other, especially totalitarian systems, tended to used abbreviations for political purpose (Nazi, Comintern, Gestapo, .).

C-Vocabulary: The C-Words are consisting of technical and scientific terms.
In Newspeak the expression of unorthodox opinions, above a very low level, is impossible. It is only possible to say 'Big Brother is ungood'. But this statement can't be sustained by reasoned arguments, because the necessary words are not available. In 1984, when Oldspeak is still the normal mean of communication, the danger theoretically exists that in using Newspeak words one might remember their original meanings. It is obvious that after some time Newspeak words would become fewer and fewer, their meanings more and more and more rigid.


Doublethink is a kind of manipulation of the mind. Generally Doublethink makes people accept contradictions, and it makes them also believe, that, the party is the only institution that can see the difference between right and wrong. This manipulation is mainly done by the Minitrue (Ministry of Truth), where Winston Smith works. When a person that is well grounded in Doublethink recognizes a contradiction or a lie of the Party, then the person thinks that he is remembering a false fact. The use of the word Doublethink involves doublethink. With the help of the Minitrue it is not only possible to change written facts, but also facts that are remembered by the people. So complete control of the country and it's citizens is provided. The fact of faking the history had already been used by the Nazis, who told the people that already German Knights believed in the principles of National Socialism.


In 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' Orwell draws a picture of a totalitarian future. Although the action deals in the future, there are a couple of elements and symbols, taken from the present and past. So for example Emanuel Goldstein, the main enemy of Oceania, is, as one can see in the name, a Jew. Orwell draws a link to other totalitarian systems of our century, like the Nazis and the Communists, who had anti-Semitic ideas, and who used Jews as so-called scapegoats, who were responsible for all bad and evil things in the country. Emanuel Goldstein somehow also stands for Trotsky, a leader of the Revolution, who was later declared as an enemy. Another symbol that can be found in Nineteen Eighty-Four is the fact that Orwell divides the fictional superstates in the book according to the division that can be found in the Cold War. So Oceania stands for the United States of America , Eurasia for Russia and Eastasia for China. The 'Golden Country' is another symbol. It stands for the old European pastoral landscape. The place where Winston and Julia meet for the first time to make love to each other, is exactly like the 'Golden Country' of Winstons dreams.

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