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George Orwell's
1984
Background Information
and Context
JC Clapp: English 102
About the Author
“George Orwell” was the pen name
of Eric Blair.
Orwell was an Englishman born in
India in 1903. He died a...
More About the Author
Orwell decided to skip college and
work as a British Imperial
Policeman in Burma
He hated working in...
Orwell’s Political Views
He considered himself a
democratic socialist and was
critical of communism
He hated intellectuals...
1984: Setting and Genre
Futuristic, cautionary novel
Setting: London, in the mythical
country of Oceania, 1984 (in the
fut...
Characters: Winston Smith
Winston Smith: Main character and
the narrator of the story.
Winston is a 39 year old low-rankin...
Characters: Julia
Julia is Winston’s 25 year old
lover
She is a beautiful, dark-haired
woman who enjoys sex and
claims to ...
Characters: O’Brien
A mysterious, powerful, and
sophisticated member of the Inner
Party
Winston believes O’Brien is a
memb...
Characters: Mr. Charrington
A kind and encouraging old man
who runs a second-hand shop in
the prole district
He rents Wins...
Characters: Big Brother
Big Brother is the perceived ruler
of Oceania -- he looks like a
combination of Hitler and Stalin
...
1984: Oceania’s Ranks
Oceania is a huge country ruled by The Party,
which is led by a figure called “Big Brother”
The Inne...
1984: Newspeak
Newspeak is the official
language of Oceania
The goal of the Party is to
have Newspeak replace
Oldspeak (st...
1984: Doublethink
Doublethink is the manipulation of
the mind by making people accept
contradictions
Doublethink makes peo...
1984: Story Overview
Winston is sick of his job fabricating and
changing history at the “Ministry of Truth”
Winston has a ...
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  1. 1. George Orwell's 1984 Background Information and Context JC Clapp: English 102
  2. 2. About the Author “George Orwell” was the pen name of Eric Blair. Orwell was an Englishman born in India in 1903. He died at age 47. Orwell was educated at Eton, a prestigious boarding school in England.
  3. 3. More About the Author Orwell decided to skip college and work as a British Imperial Policeman in Burma He hated working in Burma and returned to English on sick-leave Once back in England he dedicated himself to writing full time. 1984 was written in 1948
  4. 4. Orwell’s Political Views He considered himself a democratic socialist and was critical of communism He hated intellectuals, lying, cruelty, political authority, and totalitarianism He strongly opposed Stalin and Hitler -- he was very outspoken during WWII
  5. 5. 1984: Setting and Genre Futuristic, cautionary novel Setting: London, in the mythical country of Oceania, 1984 (in the future)
  6. 6. Characters: Winston Smith Winston Smith: Main character and the narrator of the story. Winston is a 39 year old low-ranking member of the ruling Party He secretly hates Big Brother and harbors revolutionary dreams Winston is thin, frail, contemplative, intellectual
  7. 7. Characters: Julia Julia is Winston’s 25 year old lover She is a beautiful, dark-haired woman who enjoys sex and claims to have had affairs with many Party members She is optimistic and her rebellion is small and personal
  8. 8. Characters: O’Brien A mysterious, powerful, and sophisticated member of the Inner Party Winston believes O’Brien is a member of the “Brotherhood” -- a legendary group of anti-Party rebels Winston trusts and admires O’Brien, but never quite figures him out
  9. 9. Characters: Mr. Charrington A kind and encouraging old man who runs a second-hand shop in the prole district He rents Winston and Julia a room without a telescreen so they can carry on their love affair He seems supportive of Winston’s rebellion against the Party
  10. 10. Characters: Big Brother Big Brother is the perceived ruler of Oceania -- he looks like a combination of Hitler and Stalin Big Brother’s God-like image is stamped on coins and projected on telescreens -- his face is unavoidable
  11. 11. 1984: Oceania’s Ranks Oceania is a huge country ruled by The Party, which is led by a figure called “Big Brother” The Inner Party (1% of pop.) control the country The Outer Party (18% of pop.) are controlled by the Inner Party The Proles (81% of pop.) are the labor power who live in poverty The Brotherhood is an underground rebellion organization lead by Emmanuel Goldstein
  12. 12. 1984: Newspeak Newspeak is the official language of Oceania The goal of the Party is to have Newspeak replace Oldspeak (standard English) Newspeak eliminates undesirable words and invents new words -- all to force Party conformity
  13. 13. 1984: Doublethink Doublethink is the manipulation of the mind by making people accept contradictions Doublethink makes people believe that the Party is the only institution that knows right from wrong “The Ministry of Truth” (where Winston works) changes history, facts, and memories to promote Doublethink
  14. 14. 1984: Story Overview Winston is sick of his job fabricating and changing history at the “Ministry of Truth” Winston has a sexual affair with Julia -- he trusts her and shares his rebellious thoughts with her Winston wants to get involved with O’Brien, who he thinks is part of the Brotherhood rebellion Eventually both Winston and Julia are captured by the Party
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