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Nineteen Eighty-Four manuscript
A 1947 draft manuscript of the first page of Nineteen Eighty-Four, showing the editorial development.

Nineteen Eighty-Four is a novel written by George Orwell in 1948. The main character is Winston Smith, who lives in Oceania, under the rule of The Party and Big Brother. He becomes friends with the character O'Brien. He also falls in love with Julia, who hates Big Brother and The Party.

Winston's job is to change or rectify printed news stories and articles. No one in Oceania can look at the old changes. They are not allowed to even think about them again, or else they will be in big trouble. This is called thoughtcrime. Thoughtcrime and Facecrime are punished by death. Another thing they are trying to do is cut all the hard words out of the English language. They are changing it to make it more simple so that people will not be too clever or think too much. They are not allowed to have families. Other people who live on the outside of the system have more freedoms. They are called proles. There is an endless war going on with another nation, Eurasia. In other parts of the world, large wars are being fought to keep the people busy. The sides in the wars sometimes change. When this happens, they pretend there was no change and that the sides were always the same. This means that all the articles will have to be changed by people like Winston who are not supposed to think about what they are doing. When news is rectified, the old copies are destroyed.

Political satire

Orwell got the idea for the book when he saw in the newspapers of London that they listed how much the country's supplies increased (more supplies) during World War II when they were actually very low on supplies and were getting smaller. He started writing a political satire of the possible condition of Britain in 50 years. He wrote the book over several years, finishing, mostly in Jura, Scotland. At last he sent the manuscript to his publishers in December 1948.

The book was not an attack on socialism, which Orwell supported, but on communism. He once wrote

"Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it".

Later he repeated that idea, writing about 1984

as a show-up of the perversions . . . which have already been partly realized in Communism and Fascism


At the end of Nineteen-Eighty Four, Winston is taken to the "Ministry of Love". This is the prison of Oceania. While he is there, he is tortured and constantly watched by four telescreens, which he can not escape from. The only place he is safe is in his own mind. Soon he loses control over it as well. At the start he thought that O'Brien was an ally (friend) against the Party. This is not true because O'Brien is his questioner. He thinks O'Brien betrayed him. So that he is not executed, Winston must answer many questions. He also worried about the bond (agreement) of love he made with Julia. He is not sure if she betrayed him or not. In the end, Winston is faced with his worst fear: a cage filled with rats, which can eat his face. He then breaks down (stops fighting). He dies as only another member of the Party.


Details of the Endless War:

  • Date: early 1970s–present
  • Location: North Africa
  • Fighters: Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia.


Newspeak is a fictional (not real) language that appears in the book Nineteen Eighty-Four. It is the official language of Oceania. At the end of his book, George Orwell described Newspeak. It started out as the English language, but the number of words gets smaller each year. The Party are trying to stop people from rebelling, so it destroys words like "freedom" and "love", saying that people can not think of it if there is no word for it. In the society, this is supposed to prevent thoughtcrime, which is thinking against the Party, or thinking about the past. For example, a person could not say "I want to be free", because there was no word for "free" any more, so the person could not describe what he or she was feeling. At the time, it was supposed to make fun of what was later called "politically correct" speech, and "thoughtcrime" made fun of censorship. "Newspeak" is also used for military reasons, such as Oceania's Ministry of Peace (in Newspeak: "Minipax"), really the war department. Words like "Peace", "Truth", "Love", and "Plenty" were used in Newspeak a lot to mean their exact opposites. Another "Newspeak" word, joycamp, means "forced labor camp". Other "Newspeak" words were used for political reasons. Words like "crimethink" were defined by the "Party", and became laws of the land.

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: 1984 (novela) para niños

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