Origins of the book• Orwell’s experience with the war in Spain leads him tocondemn both Fascism and Communism• Later, during WW2, Orwell ﬁrst works for the BBC• Has to write propaganda• ‘Ministry of Truth’ in 1984 based on British wartime Ministryof Propaganda• 1984 is an anti-utopian or ‘dystopian’ novel.• Dystopias examine a (future) society that is far from ideal.• Title: year of completion of the novel – 1948 (?)
Elements in 1984• Elements of Fascist-Communist struggle, WW2but also the recently started ‘Cold War’• Background of the book taken from the (V1and V2) bombing of London during WW2• Television was already some 10 years old• Propaganda. Compare: Hitler, Stalin using Jewsas scapegoats (Goldstein!)• Art, esp. architecture reflects nation’s pride
Elements in 1984• Rallies/’Hate meetings’ (~Hitler’s speeches)• Slogans (think of “Arbeit macht Frei”)• Rewriting of history (~Stalin)• Language used to brainwash the‘Proles’:• Ingsoc = English socialism• Ingsoc is a Newspeak word, Newspeak is anattempt to purify the language so it can onlymean what the Party wants it to mean.
Newspeak• Doublethink is the word for the ability to holdtwo opposing ‘truths’ and then to chooseautomatically for the Party’s truth:2+2=4 or 5, or..• Thoughtcrime is the term for any thoughts that• question the Party’s ideas and policies• Facecrime is when one looks doubtful….
Society in 1984• Inner Party members, the elite who have privileges• Party members, all middle class people who are notpart of the elite• The Proles, 85 % of the population, who live withoutconstantly being watched as they have no inﬂuenceanyway.• Winston hopes one day they will rise…
Society in 1984• Freedom of speech (or even thought) vscontrol over mind and body – ‘ﬁtness’sessions, the constant watching (Big Brother)Image of BigBrother: Hitler andStalin combined.
Society in 1984• Language as a tool of mind control(doublethink)• Betrayal (of colleagues, friends, lovers, family)• True love is subversive, sexuality must beeradicated, anti-sex league
Society in 1984• Quality of life: Shortages denied (seechocolate propaganda)• Razor blades are blunt, cigarettes fall apart,gin is undrinkable• Party members live in luxury• Beauty exists in memory and in artifacts fromthe past