122 votes
Accepted

Why was 1984 set in 1984?

Nobody knows. I've been doing some Internet research, and the only thing that people agree on is that we don't know. There are, however, three theories. One (slightly convoluted) theory is that he ...
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45 votes

Why was 1984 set in 1984?

The year 1984 was probably chosen to sound like 1948 while still being in the future. Anthony Burgess, in his book 1985, part novel and part commentary on Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, gives the ...
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  • 63.1k
30 votes

Why did George Orwell name himself after the River Orwell?

We don't know for sure, but he may have known the river. Blair originally submitted a list of four possible pseudonyms to his agent, Leonard Moore, telling Moore that he could make pick of the four1: ...
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  • 5,634
29 votes

Why is the UK called Airstrip One?

I'm pretty sure it's a satirical jab at the perceived takeover of Britain by the United States. Just as in real life the US has filled Britain with its airbases, in the world of 1984 the entire ...
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  • 63.1k
24 votes
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Why was the book Animal Farm banned in non-communist countries?

The UAE banned it because: "it contained text or images that goes against Islamic values, most notably the occurrence of an anthropomorphic, talking pig." - from Wikipedia Vietnam has the book ...
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  • 1,253
24 votes

In 1984, why did O'Brien wait so long?

As well as Riker's answer, which focuses on why O'Brien would wait so long from the point of view of crushing Winston specifically, there's also a different motivation which applies regardless of ...
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  • 63.1k
24 votes

What's the significance of "Oranges and Lemons" in 1984?

Oranges and Lemons is not just a nursery rhyme, it is also a children's dance or game. Two children place their hands together to form an arch - an arch of sanctuary. The other children pass under ...
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  • 2,068
23 votes
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Was there a reason Room 101 was called Room 101?

Room 101 is named after a conference room at Broadcasting House. Orwell used to sit through boring meetings there. When it was to be demolished at the BBC, Rachel Whiteread made a plaster cast and it ...
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23 votes

Why was 1984 set in 1984?

A variety of other possible answers have been put forth, put succinctly in a Guardian column from 2009: Why '1984'? Orwell's title remains a mystery. Some say he was alluding to the centenary of the ...
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22 votes
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What's the significance of "Oranges and Lemons" in 1984?

This is really more of an extended comment, than an answer. But my feeling about that rhyme is that part of the reason why Orwell used it in the story, was as another example of Winston being "...
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19 votes

What's the significance of "Oranges and Lemons" in 1984?

The song represents the successful eradication of shared English culture by The Party. It's a nursery rhyme the majority of British people would be familiar with, but in 1984 characters can only ...
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18 votes
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In 1984, why does O'Brien expect Winston to know what Room 101 is?

Initially, Winston has no idea what room 101 is. However, because Winston realizes how people would rather die than go to room 101, O'Brien expects Winston to think the worst possible torture appartus ...
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  • 4,197
18 votes

Is there any evidence the Party was atheistic?

The Party and State appear to be atheistic, or rather fully in worship of Big Brother. Countless other words such as honour, justice, morality, internationalism, democracy, science, and religion ...
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  • 4,340
16 votes

Who does the cat represent in Animal Farm?

Yes. In the words of Jesse McDevitt-Irwin: suggests that she could represent the educated of Russia, more specifically, the educated who did not believe that communism was the correct path. She also ...
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16 votes
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Does "Animal Farm" explicitly state anywhere in the text that it is in fact a political allegory?

The closest thing to a statement of allegory is the often-ignored subtitle of the book "A Fairy Story". This was on the cover of the original editions, but was dropped by U.S. publishers and most ...
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  • 14.3k
14 votes

Why is the superstate Winston lives in named Oceania in 1984?

Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia are all named for their geographical features. The best description we have of the three superpowers and their geography comes from Chapter III (War is Peace) of ...
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  • 63.1k
14 votes

Is there any evidence that George Orwell read 'For whom the bell tolls'? Did Hemingway read 'Homage to Catalonia' or (later) '1984'?

I don't know if he read them, but Hemingway owned two copies of 1984, see this list (p 275) of his books, cataloged by the JFK library. Here is a catalog of books Orwell owned at his death; it is not ...
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  • 3,253
14 votes

Who first said this quote about how we only sleep safely because "rough men stand ready" to fight on our behalf?

Actually? Neither. In conclusion, QI believes that this saying was introduced by Richard Grenier who was attempting to provide a pithy representation of an idea he ascribed to George Orwell. ...
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  • 5,556
14 votes
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In 1984, did Julia ever reach room 101? If so, what was her worst fear?

Did Julia really betray Winston almost immediately? I think that what you call a revelation was, more likely, nothing more than a torturer's ploy. ‘What have you done with Julia?’ said Winston. O’...
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  • 63.1k
13 votes

Do we know what prompted Orwell to write 1984?

George Orwell feared totalitarianism. He wanted to fight it and the book reads as a (dire) warning. There is at least one letter by his hand that goes into this in detail. "I must say I believe, ...
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  • 1,155
13 votes

Who does the cat represent in Animal Farm?

The cat does have significance, but it's hard to say who exactly she represents. She skulks around and doesn't do any work, votes for both sides, and makes people satisfied enough that she never ...
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  • 4,179
13 votes
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Terminology and examples for what George Orwell calls "good bad poetry"?

TL;DR: Orwell’s ‘good bad’ poetry is ‘bad’ because it is superficial (lacking in aesthetic, intellectual, psychological or moral depth), but ‘good’ because it is skilfully written and enjoyable to ...
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  • 38.8k
13 votes
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Does Winston Smith die at the end of 1984?

He does not literally die at the end of the novel. The concluding paragraphs make it clear that his death is metaphorical. Winston is in the Chestnut Tree Café, listening to the news of the victory ...
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  • 15.3k
11 votes

Who does the cat represent in Animal Farm?

As acknowledged above, the cat probably represents opportunistic, underground criminals who persisted after the revolution. Her attempts to lure the wild birds by offers of camaraderie are simply a ...
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  • 111
11 votes
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Did Winston and Julia oversleep?

Almost certainly yes. First of all, let's look at a few quotes from the previous chapter, just to set the scene: Winston was gelatinous with fatigue. [...] He had worked more than ninety hours in ...
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  • 63.1k
11 votes
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How does the Ministry of Love know your worst fear?

The Thought Police know everyone intimately. This is strongly hinted at all the way back in the very beginning of the novel: There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at ...
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  • 63.1k
11 votes

Is Winston Smith in Orwell's 1984 an unreliable narrator?

Winston is the only character whose point of view we have access to in the novel, a necessary precursor for the potential of an unreliable narrator. After all, without an external perspective, we can ...
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