1984 Summary Essay Research Paper 1984 SummaryNineteen

1984: Summary Essay, Research Paper

1984: Summary

Nineteen eighty four is a tale of future society, a society in which independent

thinking is a crime punishable by death. This is also a society who’s leaders

are self serving and don’t set their goals for the common good by which all of

the society will benefit. The party doesn’t need to justify its selfish ways

because it holds all of the power. The symbol of the party was Big Brother. The

idealism of blind loyalty was embodied in this symbol. It was the centre of

control. The Party has set its agenda of completely controlling every single

human mind by narrowing down the complexity of human thought. They will try

accomplish this through the elimination of speech to a form where humans can no

longer think for themselves. These future citizens would not be able to commit

any crimes against the Party. There is no possible way these humans would even

think “criminal” thoughts to begin with since they had no knowledge of any crime

from personal experience or history.

The main character of this book is Winston Smith. Even though he is portrayed as

a criminal, I believe that he is a victim of a system that is criminal. All

through this book Winston’s convictions lead us to believe that he is ethical

and the Party is unjust but it is left up to the readers discretion to decide

whether he is the criminal or just a victim of a totalitarian society. The first

instance of Winstons “criminal” nature was when he bought an illegal journal,

quill and bottle of ink to record his thoughts. Although he had so called

“criminal” thoughts before, the journal seemed to bring out the more daring

ideas in him as to how to get free from the Party’s reign. This all indirectly

led to his meeting with a woman called Julia who shared his feelings and was

either very brave or very foolish because she was more open then he about her

feelings. I believe that these and the other actions following his initial

“criminal” offence are justified and that Winston Smith is not a “criminal”.

My first set of examples as to the flaws in the Party government are how they

pitted family members against each other, and how the true nature of the family

was destroyed because of this. The controlling intentions of the Party were

reflected in how children were used to spy on their parents. The toys given to

the children such as ear horns were used to listen in on the conversations of

their parents. Through groups and activities that were provided , the children

were actually taught how to spy and were given justification for this act. They

were given the title of “Child Hero” when they denounced their parents and

reported them to the thought police. The children felt it was perfectly

acceptable to inform on their parents to the authorities even though it meant

punishment for their mothers and fathers. When Winston was in jail he met a

colleague named Mr. Parsons who’s child turned him in for saying ” down with big

brother ” in his sleep. Husbands and wives were also affected. They would

report their spouses or children if they said anything improper, did anything

improper, displayed a facial tick or any other abnormalities.

The Party took away the basic pleasures of their people, as another method of

control. One example of this is how the food was intentionally very bland and

tasteless. There is an account in the book where Winston is in a public

cafeteria and longingly remembers a better time and how food was pleasurable

then. Another example od pleasure deprivation is how they brought sex down to a

level where the general public was repulsed by the thought via the anti-sex

league. The public continued having sex as it was the will of the Party that

people must reproduce. The degradation of sex also kept the married and

unmarried alike brimming with energy for hate week, war marches and other

fascist public activities which the people had to attend. A specific example of

the degradation of sex in Winston’s life was the account he made in his journal

of his wife’s attitude towards sex and how she cringed at his touch. She called

sex “our duty to the Party” or “making a baby”. Because of his wife, he became

as repulsed at the idea of sex with her as she was with him. Winston recalls

becoming physically sick at the mention of it. Winston wasn’t satisfied with the

status quo regarding sex. It eventually led to their divorce.

It is important to mention that there were two classes of people, Party citizens

and Proles. What rules apply to the Party citizens did not necessarily apply to

the lower class Proles. They government did not care about the Proles who were

not important to them. Although Proles were allowed to drink any alcohol and

gamble, this was not acceptable for Party citizens. This was part of the denial

of pleasure.

In order for the people to believe the Party’s perversions of the truth, the

Party had to make their fiction reality. The Party slaughtered people ,burned

books, shredded and altered documents in order to control information. Winston

Smith’s job was to alter old government documents, birth certificates and many

other things. Winston was a willing part of this deception until his realization

that what he was doing was immoral. His troubling conscience drove him to record

his feelings in his illegal journal as part of his personal rebellion.

The ultimate deception that the Party perpetrated on the people was the war the

Party staged against it’s own citizens using a created villain named

Goldstein.( It’s interesting that this Jewish name was given to a villain in

this novel written in 1947 by a Party modelled after Hitler’s fascist Germany ).

To keep it’s economy going Oceania had to be in a constant state of war thus the

Party’s creation of Goldstein. This character broadcasted “criminal” thoughts

for two minutes each day and enraged the citizens to the point that they gladly

went to war. The Partys goal was achieved. This calculated deception lead to

senseless suffering and death of numerous Party citizens and Proles.

At the end of this novel the reader is left with the decision of where the crime

lies. This decision is subjective. Democracy is a model of government which I

have chosen to compare. It is the same style of government which both the author

and myself have experienced and it is the one which serves its people the most

effectively. If you believe in social order at any expense as do fascists, then

you will have to believe Winston Smith is a criminal. If one takes a more humane

approach, you will have to look at the numbers of people that were hurt or

killed by this “Party Government’s” actions.

Humans are a social animal and they need interaction and contact with other

humans to thrive. The uncontrollable need to belong to a group sometimes drives

people to compromise themselves. A common example of this is a teenagers choice

of music, clothing etc to belong to the group. A more extreme example are

religious cult members such as David Koresh’s Branch Dividians who even

voluntarily excepted the order to kill themselves. People become willing to

accept the unacceptable until there conscience will no longer allow it. This is

what happened to Winston Smith. He was a product of his humanity and it should

not be a crime to be a human.


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