1984 by George Orwell
1984 is a science fiction story with a heed warning as its purpose. The themes of the story are censorship, control, and freedom. 1984 was published in 1949 and is the last book George Orwell wrote before dying in 1950. The book follows the lives of Winston, the protagonist, Julia, his lover, and O'Brien, the antagonist.
1984 book complete Summary
The story starts with Winston, a low-ranking worker at a Ruling Party in London, Oceania. In Winston's world, everyone, including him, is being watched through telescreens by "Big Brother ." The Big Brother organization controls their lifestyle, thoughts, history, and even language. To banish any personal opinion or rebellious act, the organization plans to develop a new language for people called "Newspeak ." In this world, if anybody does or even think about rebelling, they are contained by the Big Brother organization.
In the story, Winston feels frustrated and oppressed with all the control and wants to be free. He wants to be in a society with freedom of thought, personal space, and the expression of individuality. Winston works in the Ministry of Truth section of the Ruling Party. His work includes altering the original history with made-up ones according to the Big Brother organization's order. Concealing the truth made Winston judge the real intention of the organization many times and finally drove him to hate it.
He buys a diary illegally to relieve his stress and share his feelings. He writes his journal every day about all the rebellious actions he wants to do and the hateful thoughts about the organization. Although he constantly fears and knows that the organization will surely catch him and contain him. To be completely free, he tries to find out about O'Brien. There's a rumor in the party that O'Brien is a secret member of Big Brother's rival organization named 'Brotherhood.' Brotherhood is supposed to be completely different from Big Brother. There is freedom and a sense of opinion in this society.
One day while working, Winston notices a girl in his team named Julia. They both are attracted to each other and share love notes in the office. Winston rented a room on the top story of an old building in a poor neighborhood of London. He knew the poorest neighborhoods were where the proletarians lived, and Big Brother did not monitor this part of town. Winston continued his relationship with Julia and met her secretly in the rented room. Julia and Winston both wanted to be free from the organization. Winston showed her the journal he writes daily and stated how much he hates the Ruling Party and Big Brother. Julia is more optimistic than Winston and assures him everything will be fine.
Winston has been patiently waiting for news from O'Brien, and one day he received a secret message. Winston takes Julia to meet O'Brien in his luxury apartment. Winston feels inferior and wants the same luxury O'Brien has. O'Brien also confirms to Julia and Winston that he hates Big Brother and joins Brotherhood to be a free individual. He officially includes Winston and Julia in Brotherhood and hands, Winston, a copy of Emmanuel Goldstein's book. Emmanuel Goldstein is known to be the founder of the Brotherhood organization. Winston remembers how the Ruling Party declared him the most dangerous man alive but did not trust them.
Winston goes back into his rented room and reads the book to Julia. Suddenly a bunch of police guards barges in and capture both Winston and Julia for their act of rebellion. It is later revealed that the building owner, Mr. Charrington was an undercover Thought Police officer. O'Brien, too was not any secret member of the Brotherhood organization but a loyal agent of the Ruling Party and Big brother.
Winston realized he was now caught, and there was no way out. O'Brien tortured and brainwashed Winston for months to get rid of his rebellious thoughts, but Winston survived them. As the last measure, O'Brien used Winston's biggest fear. Winston was sent to Room 101 for interrogation when O'Brien brought a cage of rats. Winston's fear of rats is evident throughout the book through his constant nightmares. Winston knew he was right all along. Big Brother will catch him sooner or later, and they did.
O'Brien set the cage over Winston's head and threatened to open the cage door, so the rats could tear up his face and eat it. Winston finally cracked and urged the agent to torture Julia, not him. He finally gave in and betrayed Julia for his own sake. O'Brien released Winston without any further charges as he now became a new person. His free spirit is broken. Winston now feels nothing for Julia and has no rebellious thoughts about the organization or the Ruling Party. Even after seeing Julia again, he acted as if nothing had happened and ignored her. The story ends with Winston learning to love Big Brother.