1984

A book by George Orwell

Overview of the Story

In the book 1984, by George Orwell, the protagonist, Winston, lives in a world where a government spies on its citizens. Big Brother, a symbol of the Party, supposedly watches over everyone and posters of him watch from around most of the nation. The fear of Big Brother keeps most people from doing anything against the Party's rules. While everyone follows and believes in what the Party tells them, Winston has doubts about the Party. He meets a woman named Julia and falls in love with her. Together, they decide to join a group called the Brotherhood, who plot against the Party. But they are both caught and captured by the Party, and are betrayed by the supposed leader of the Brotherhood. This book is a warning of how our future government could become similar to Orwell's vision.

Despair vs. Hope Motif

Despair vs. Hope is often a motif in 1984, where despair usually defeats hope. One example is when Winston looks at a man named O'Brien and shares a look with him. This shows his hope of someone in whom he can trust on page 18, "'I am with you,' O'Brien seemed to be saying to him. 'I know precisely what you are feeling. I know all about your contempt, your hatred, your disgust. But don't worry, I am on your side!'" A second example of hope in 1984 is when Winston thinks on page 60, "If there was hope, it must lie in the proles, because only there, in those swarming disregarded masses, eighty-five per cent of the population of Oceania, could the force to destroy the Party ever be generated." This shows his hope of someone being able to defeat the Party and create a new government.


Despair is a very poignant motif in this story, because of how the book is a warning of how horrible our government could become in the future. One example of despair in the story is on page 23, when Winston talks about children growing up to spy on everyone, including their own parents. One woman's despair was shown in this quote when she sees how her child has grown to be, "But what most struck Winston was the look of helpless fright on the woman's grayish face." Another example of despair is when Winston is locked in a cell in the Ministry of Love and he feels despair for what will happen to him. This quote is on page 189 and describes his fear, "When it grew better, panic took hold of him. There were moments when he foresaw the things that would happen to him with such actuality that his heart galloped and his breath stopped."

A third example of despair is shown through Room 101, a room in the Ministry of Love that is dreaded fearfully by prisoners. One man shows this on page 195,

"'Room 101,' he said.

There was a gasp and a flurry at Winston's side. There, the man had actually flung himself on his knees on the floor, with his hands clasped together.

'Comrade! Officer!' he cried. 'You don't have to take me to that place! Haven't I told you everything already? What else is it you want to know? There's nothing I wouldn't confess, nothing! Just tell me what it is and I'll confess it straight off. Write it down and I'll sign it- anything! Not Room 101!'"

This quote shows how the man fears Room 101 so much that he'll tell the officer whatever he needs to know.


Throughout the book, the Party uses fear and despair to control its citizens. While some people, like Winston, might have temporary hope that they can defeat the Party, the Party uses torture to make them fear the Party again. In the beginning of the story, Winston has hope to defeat the Party, but when he is captured and tortured, his way of thinking changes completely until he has no hope. In the end, despair won over hope.

Big image

This picture shows Big Brother, the leader of the Party, who destroys all hope.

Citation:

"Sites and Keywords Being Monitored by the DHS." Motley News. N.p., 30 Dec. 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.

My Rating

I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars. This is because while most of the book was well-written and was moderately interesting, it had some flaws. One large flaw that frustrated me a little was how the book that Winston received from O'Brien was 26 pages from 1984. This book had important information, but it was boring and I struggled to keep reading it. Another flaw was that I didn't find Winston to be very likeable and towards the end of the book, I didn't feel much emotion towards him.

But while there were some parts of 1984 that I didn't enjoy, there were other parts that were well-written. George Orwell's story tells a frightening vision of the future and a warning of what could happen. The idea of his vision becoming true made the story interesting and kept my attention throughout the book.

Overall, I think that the book was alright, a little better than a 3 star rating. I wouldn't recommend it to my peers.

Favorite Quotes

"We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness." -page 25



"If there is hope, wrote Winston, it lies in the proles." - page 60



"Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows." - page 69



"At the sight of the words I love you the desire to stay alive had welled up in him, and the taking of minor risks suddenly seemed stupid." - page 91



"But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself." - page 245