Summary of 1984 by George Orwell

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What do you think a normal human being needs to have a good, hearty life? I believe that you need the freedom of thought, the rights of love, the right to express yourself on paper, and freedom of speech. In Orwell’s world of totalitarianism you don’t have any of these freedoms. You are to obey the party and do nothing but obey the party. The only way of temporarily escaping totalitarianism is through conspiracy and lies. The characters in 1984 give us readers an idea of how INGSOC ruins lives and makes the very idea of conspiracy hopeless. Winston Smith is your “average Joe” in Oceania. He struggles with how to determine what is true or not. Winston is a fatalist because, “no matter what he does, he believes that the party will eventually kill him. At the beginning of the book, Winston buys a diary from a junk shop, which is against the party’s will because he buys the diary he is committing a crime against the party. Simply by purchasing the diary made no difference if he wrote in it or not he would still be killed. On pg. 19 of the book Orwell wrote, “Whether he wrote DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER, or whether he refrained from writing it, made no difference. Whether he went on with the diary or whether he did not go on with it, made no difference. The thought police would get him the same.” This shows Winston’s sense of fatalism. While in the shop where Winston bought the diary, he spies a piece of coral enclosed in glass. He immediately takes an interest in it and decides to buy it. This piece of coral symbolizes his ability to connect to the past. Winston’s first inclination once he sees Julia following him is to kill her, and smash her head on the cobblestone. Winston thinks to himself, “I could keep on her track till they were in some quiet place, and then smash her skull with a cobblestone. The piece of glass in my pocket should do the job.” By smashing the piece of glass into Julia’s head Winston would be destroying two things. One is Julia and his hopes of having a decent life but his obsessive desire to know the truth and the second is the piece of coral which is Winston’s way of linking the past to the present. Winston is afraid that Julia could be part of the thought police.
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