The novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, commonly known as 1984, by George Orwell, was published in 1949 as a warning against authoritarianism. The dismal dystopia created an indelible impression on readers, and his ideas entered popular culture in a way that only a few books have done.
Several of the concepts in the novel, such as Big Brother and the Thought Police, are well-known and understood, and they are routinely used as catchphrases for current social and political problems.
The story is set in Oceania in 1984, one of three totalitarian countries that are always at conflict (the other two are Eurasia and Eastasia). Oceania is dominated by the all-powerful Party, which has brainwashed the public into mindlessly obeying Big Brother’s commands.
The Party has created Newspeak, a propagandistic language designed to suppress free thought and promote the Party’s ideas. Its slogans include the phrases “War is peace,” “Freedom is slavery,” and “Ignorance is Strength,” all of which demonstrate doublethink. The Party uses the Thought Police and continual monitoring to maintain power.
Winston Smith, the novel’s protagonist, is a minor party functionary living in a London that is still scarred by a nuclear war that happened shortly after World War II. He’s an Outer Party member, and his job at the Ministry of Truth is to rewrite history to meet current political ideals.
Winston, on the other hand, is motivated by a passion for truth and morality to rebel against authority in a subtle manner. He initiates an unlawful connection with Julia, a like-minded woman, and the two rent a room in a Prole-dominated area.
Winston’s interest in the Brotherhood, a dissident organisation, develops as well. Winston and Julia, on the other hand, have no idea they are being watched.
As Winston is approached by O’Brien, an Inner Party official who appears to be a clandestine Brotherhood member, the trap is laid. Winston and Julia are ultimately apprehended and detained at the Ministry of Love for cruel reeducation.
O’Brien is a spy for the Party looking for “thought-criminals,” and Winston and Julia are finally apprehended and brought to the Ministry of Love for brutal reeducation. Winston’s subsequent imprisonment, torture, and reeducation are intended to root out his independence and undermine his dignity and humanity, rather than to physically break him or force him to comply.
Winston becomes terrified as a cage of rats is attached to his head in Room 101, where captives are forced to surrender by exposing them to their worst nightmares. “Do it to Julia!” he yells, stating that he doesn’t care what happens to her. As a result of this betrayal, Winston is set free. He meets Julia afterwards, but none of them is interested in the other. Winston, on the other hand, is a huge fan of Big Brother.