1. The book is about Winston Smith, a citizen of the nation of Oceania. In Oceania the Party is everywhere. They control everything and see everything. Big Brother, the Party’s leader, even controls the thoughts and languages of the people. Winston dislikes the way the Party works and records his thoughts in an illegal diary. Winston works at the Ministry of Truth, the organization that alters history and facts to fit the Party’s image of a perfect world. Winston receives a note from Julia, a coworker of Winston’s, which reads “I love you”. Their love affair continues for some time until both Winston and Julia are called before O’Brein, a high-ranking member of the Party. Winston and Julia are seized by soldiers and taken to the Ministry of Love where they are subjected to their worst fear until they wish the torture upon their lover. Winston and Julia are released and now feel nothing but love for Big Brother. The author’s purpose was to warn society of the effect that the “perfect” society will have on people and what happens when the government gets involved in our lives.
2. The theme of the novel is the dangers of Totalitarianism. The novel was written in a time when the totalitarian government of communist Russia was looking to expand its power. Essentially the novel warns of the dangers that a controlling government, like the Party, may have.
3. Orwell’s tone throughout the novel would be considered dark, gloomy, and desperate. In chapter eight Winston comments “If there is hope, it lies in the proles.” The proles are the lowest class of the nation of Oceania and for them to be the hope of the nation shows the amount of despair and hopelessness that is present throughout the novel.
v Symbolism – Big Brother is the face of the Party and the symbol of totalitarianism. Big Brother is ever-present in the novel.
v Irony – The most prominent example of irony is the names of the ministries. The Ministry of Love and the Ministry of Truth are both ironically named since they specialize in destroying what they are named for. The Ministry of Love focuses on the destruction of free love and brainwashing while the Ministry of Truth augments history to fit the vision of the Party.
v Irony (II) – The “Victory Mansions” contain no victory for Winston, in fact there is no victory for anyone in this novel except for Big Brother.
v Irony (III) – I felt that this one had to be added, the Party’s slogan is “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength.” The sentence itself is quite ironical.
v Personification – The Party is generally portrayed as a person, an all-knowing ever present person. “If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say this or that even, it never happened – that, surely, was most terrifying than mere torture and death.”
v Repetition – Repetition is used to reinforce Orwell’s ideas throughout the book. “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the future controls the past.”
v Allusion – The phrase “2 + 2 = 5” is used in the novel as one of Winston’s torments. The phrase was the Russian Communist party slogan and appeared throughout Moscow. The phrase was referenced Russia’s second five-year plan.
v Allusion (II) – The Party is a reference to the Soviet Union’s Communist Party of the Cold War Era. The ministries, the torture, nearly everything that the Party represents is from a Western view of Communism in Russia.
v Foreshadowing – Near the beginning of the novel Winston comments on how people would be taken into the Ministry of Love but would then go missing just afterwards. This would similarly happen to Winston later on in the novel.
v Allegory – The piece of glass that Winston carries with him throughout the novel is an allegory for the image of beauty found in capitalist materialism.