George Orwell 1984 summary



George Orwell 1984 summary


The following texts are the property of their respective authors and we thank them for giving us the opportunity to share for free to students, teachers and users of the Web their texts will used only for illustrative educational and scientific purposes only.



The information of medicine and health contained in the site are of a general nature and purpose which is purely informative and for this reason may not replace in any case, the council of a doctor or a qualified entity legally to the profession.



George Orwell 1984 summary


George Orwell 1984


The novel 1984 is a story about Winston Smith, a member of the Party that is ruling over the state of Oceania. The Party rules under the dictatorship of Big Brother.

Winston is shown to be leading a lonely life in what used to be known as London before the Party came to power following a revolution. Moreover, the society created by the Party is based upon hatred, suspicion, and fear; it lacks all the finer emotions like love, trust, and friendship.

There are strict rules laid down for Party members, and members of the opposite sex cannot meet freely. All movements and activities of the members are under constant surveillance through telescreens. Neighbors and children are taught to keep an eye on others and report on what they observe.

Winston, who is an intelligent and sensitive person, begins to hate everything the Party stands for; but he knows he cannot openly express his feelings, for questioning the Party means death. As a result, Winston leads a double life, privately abhorring everything the Party says or does, while publicly putting on a facade of loyalty and enthusiasm towards the ideas of the Party.

Winston meets Julia, who is also a Party member. She is working in the Fiction department at the Ministry of Truth, where Winston is working in the Records department. They fall in love and meet away from the prying eyes of the microphones, telescreens, and patrols.

Young Julia gives the lonely Winston a purpose for living and an ally. Since she also hates the restrictions and controls of the Party, they discuss ways of overthrowing Big Brother. Both of them are aware of the secret organization known as the Brotherhood, whose head is Goldstein; he is the chief enemy of the ruling Party. Winston and Julia think of joining the Brotherhood, but do not know how to go about it. They meet with O'Brien at his flat, where he tells them about the Brotherhood.

The Thought Police soon catch Julia and Winston together. Arrested and sent separately to the Ministry of Love, they are made to confess their sins and mistakes. Here, Winston meets O'Brien, who reveals his true identity. O'Brien tortures and punishes Winston until he agrees to accept the ideas of the Party unquestioningly.

After nearly one year of solitary confinement, Winston is released. Before he is allowed to leave, O'Brien warns Winston that the Party will kill him whenever it thinks it is appropriate. Once released, Winston is no longer allowed to work in the Ministry of Truth's Records department. Instead, he is given a job as part of the subcommittee of a subcommittee appointed to study and prepare an interview report on some minor problems faced in the preparation of the eleventh edition of the 'Newspeak' (the new language) dictionary. Winston spends any spare time at the Chestnut Tree Cafe, the chief haunt of all rebels.

The end comes unexpectedly when Winston is listening to the news of Oceania's victory over Africa. Amidst the cheers and screams of the crowd, Winston is shot with a thought bullet as he is sitting at the Chestnut Tree Cafe. As he dies, he has a feeling of reverence for Big Brother.

Note: Others interpret the events in the final chapter as a dream in which Winston comes to peace with Big Brother and finally learns to love Big Brother. In that interpretation, Winston does not literally die and the ending is a dream. The bullet is imaginary. That said, your interpretation may differ. In reading the original text, it is not specifically clear.


The novel is divided into three parts with 8 to 10 chapters each. The story of the new society, under a single-Party dictatorship, unfolds in the Part I. In the second part, Julia and Winston are attracted to each other and resist the Party's oppression. Part III dwells on Winston's imprisonment, torture, and brainwashing. He is finally released from prison when O'Brien thinks that he was totally crushed Winston's spirit and made him a true believer in the Party. When Winston reveals that he still has human emotions in his continued lover for Julia, the Party puts him to death with a thought-bullet at the back of his head.

The plot of 1984 is really rather simple. The protagonist fights against his enemy, Big Brother and all he represents in the totalitarian society. He forms a relationship with Julia, who thinks similarly to himself. They defy the Party with their acts of companionship and sexual intimacy. They are arrested by the Party and imprisoned. Winston is tortured and brainwashed; verbally, he espouses the beliefs of the Part and wins his release. He is shot by the enemy when he reveals that he still harbors human emotions. There are no strange twists or wild surprises in the story, except for learning the true identities of Charrington and O'Brien. In retrospect, even these characters are not truly surprising, for they behave in a manner expected of true Party member.

The plot is deliberately simple so that Orwell can clearly convey his negative ideas on the new society. Totalitarianism and excessive control of people are horrors to the author, and he succeeds in clearly revealing the depth of the horror within the pages of the short novel. He is fearful that government can too easily seize 'power over all men'. In fact, Orwell's story is a warning about what dictatorship of any form can do to mankind.

Finally, Orwell's simple plot is allegorical, He uses Winston Smith, a common man, to represent all mankind. Winston tries harder than most in the new society to resist the control of Big Brother. In truth, he is powerless to fight against the Party in any large way. His only defense is to hold on to some small shred of his humanity. When he does, he is murdered by the Party. Orwell is trying to indicate to the reader that what happens to Winston Smith can happen to any man if the wrong leaders come to power.

To bring his plot and setting to life, Orwell uses imaginative descriptions, a racy style, and harsh language to make the reader live through everything that the main character in the novel experiences. His detailed negative descriptions of the society and the Party influence the reader to react like Winston and hate the system. His subtle use of imagery, smells, colors, and sounds, especially in the scenes of torture, make the plot more meaningful. In spite of the many descriptions, the story of Winston unfolds in a rapid enough manner to make the plot interesting for the reader from beginning to end. As a result, 1984 is a memorable novel with a plot that fully involves the reader and a theme that still has meaning for contemporary times.


Society and Polity in the Novel

1984 is a scathing criticism of past, present, and future societies. In particular, it alludes to totalitarianism as found in both right wing fascist and left wing communist governments that arose between the two World Wars and in the post-war periods. The portrayal of Big Brother and his Party brings up images of the Soviet Union under the leadership of Stalin. The description of Emmanuel Goldstein, as the enemy of the Party and the State of Oceania, conjures up the image of Leon Trotsky, who was branded as an anti-revolutionary in the Soviet Union. In fact, Goldstein's Black Book on 'The Brotherhood' is a parody on Trotsky's book The Revolution Betrayed. In addition, the celebration of 'Hate Week', with the description of a public meeting where mass hysteria is created by an enflamed speaker, brings to mind the image of Hitler, who had the ability to arouse mass frenzy against the Jews.

The society created in Orwell's novel is a society totally controlled by the Party, which strips the individual of all freedom. All activities, words, facial expressions, and thoughts are closely monitored by Big Brother through telescreens and Thought Police. Anyone who criticizes or questions the government, even mentally, is branded as a criminal, guilty of committing a 'thought crime'; and criminals are "vaporised" or put to death. Only those who blindly accept everything that the Party does or says is a 'law abiding citizen of Oceania'. Freedom of thought and expression, a basic democratic right of all men, does not exist in the new society.

Further, the Party under Big Brother systematically falsifies facts and records, especially those related to history. Winston Smith works at the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth. His main jobs are to change historical information to reflect the Party's perception of it and to alter the speeches of Big Brother to match previous forecasts to actual production numbers. Truth, to Big Brother, is whatever he wants it to be, and what he wants can change from day to day.

The Party claims that it is a proletarian government, working in the interests of people to create a classless society. In reality, the working class of Oceania is shown living in miserable conditions. There is a scarcity of essential items, especially food and clothing; cheap labor is exploited. Class is strictly identified, and Party members are not allowed to mix with the proles. In fact, the Party's contempt for the masses is evident from its slogan: 'Animals and Proles are free'. At the same time, the Party officials live the life of the privileged few basking in the lap of luxury, as evidenced by the lovely apartment owned by O'Brien and the expensive wine served by him.

The most terrifying phenomenon related to the polity in the novel is that the entire world is divided into three superstates: 1) Oceania, comprising the American continents and stretching to the British Isles; 2) Eurasia, which comprises the entire region of Europe; and 3) East Asia, including the Far East and South-East regions of the world. In the novel, Oceania is permanently at war with either East Asia or Eurasia, with constant air raids and bombings. It is not a pleasant view of the world and a picture that everyone feared greatly during the Cold War of the 1950's.

Alienation and Love in the Novel

The new society created in 1984 is a society that is stripped of all human bonds and finer human emotions. Friendship is not tolerated, as evidenced by Winston's reaction to Syme. When he meets Syme in the staff canteen of the Ministry of Truth, he cautiously talks to him and does not dare refer to him as his friend. Everyone in Oceania, including children, are taught to keep an eye on one other and report misconduct to the Party. Two-minute hate sessions are directed by the Party. It is a society that values hatred, suspicion, and fear.

Oceania is a picture of cold alienation. It is a fully armed and highly automated world of machines. Even humans are treated like machinery and expected to act like them. They are awakened by the telescreen, directed in mandatory physical workouts, told which facial expression to wear, and placed in jobs that are directed by the Party. Friendly contact with other humans is discouraged, and sexual relationships are banned. If a person fails to follow Party orders, Big Brother will be watching, and punishment will be imposed.

The alienation is heightened by the Party's stance on sex. Girls from a very young age are taught in schools that sex is dirty. Extramarital relationships are strictly forbidden. Married couples participate in sex without love, joy, or emotion. Winston's wife is so indoctrinated by the Party rules that her body stiffens even at being hugged. Sex as a means to reproduce does not exist. Artificial insemination or 'artsem' (in Newspeak language) takes care of producing the babies.

The author's depiction of alienation in the novel is still relevant to contemporary times. Although there is not an exact Orwellian Oligarchy in existence, the highly industrialized society and extremely competitive world of today make a person feel alienated from others. In spite of automation and communication advances, people seem to have less time for families and friends, creating a sense of loneliness, similar to that experienced by Winston.


1984 is an anti-Utopian novel in which Orwell depicts a society four decades into the future. It is a society that has been perverted, rather than perfected, by a government that strips humans of their basic rights. Even though the year of 1984 has now passed without the creation of a Big Brother state, the novel still has relevance today. Although the cold war is over and the fascist governments no longer exist, man still feels alienated.

The heavily automated society of today has stripped people of human contact. Prejudice and hatred still exist in many forms. Political maneuvers are still made throughout the world, often without the interest of people in mind. The threat of war still hangs heavy. As a result, 1984 is as relevant now as it was in the post-war period. It is still a warning to humankind that it can never let down its guard; it must protect precious human rights, both today and in the future.


Source :

Web site link:

Google key word : George Orwell 1984 summary file type : doc

Author : not indicated on the source document of the above text

If you are the author of the text above and you not agree to share your knowledge for teaching, research, scholarship (for fair use as indicated in the United States copyrigh low) please send us an e-mail and we will remove your text quickly.


George Orwell 1984 summary


If you want to quickly find the pages about a particular topic as George Orwell 1984 summary use the following search engine:




George Orwell 1984 summary


Please visit our home page Terms of service and privacy page




George Orwell 1984 summary