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125 votes
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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 ...
Mithical's user avatar
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47 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 ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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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 ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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25 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 ...
JackArbiter's user avatar
25 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 ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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24 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 "...
Faheem Mitha's user avatar
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 ...
Chenmunka's user avatar
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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 ...
Beastly Gerbil's user avatar
20 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 ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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19 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 ...
fi12's user avatar
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19 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’...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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19 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 ...
verbose's user avatar
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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 ...
Valorum's user avatar
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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 ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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14 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, ...
Bookeater's user avatar
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14 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 ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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12 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 ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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11 votes

What did O'Brien mean when he said "They got me a long time ago" in the book 1984?

There are a few possible explanations of this line, which I've arranged below in what I think is increasing order of likelihood. O'Brien really was a former dissident who'd been completely turned to ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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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 ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
  • 23.1k
10 votes
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How does Room 101 reset for each person who enters?

Seems it was indeed a false recollection, my mistake. The cold-faced young officer stepped into the cell. With a brief movement of the hand he indicated Ampleforth. "Room 101," he said...What ...
fi12's user avatar
  • 4,615
9 votes

Why was 1984 set in 1984?

In Orwell's manuscript of the novel, the action took place first in 1980, then 1982, and finally 1984. See The masterpiece that killed George Orwell by Robert McCrum (The Observer, 10 May 2009). ...
Chris Pollard's user avatar
9 votes

Are there regional variations of Newspeak?

Probably not. War prisoners apart, the average citizen of Oceania never sets eyes on a citizen of either Eurasia or Eastasia, and he is forbidden the knowledge of foreign languages (George Orwell, ...
VicAche's user avatar
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8 votes

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

I always assumed it was because it touched every single ocean in the world: Pacific (US), Atlantic (US), Indian (Australia), Southern/Antarctic (Australia), and Arctic Oceans (Canada). You can also ...
Gaurav's user avatar
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8 votes
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Why does O'Brien claim that the party didn't believe in solipsism?

"Classic" solipsism states that only one's own mind can be certain to exist. It's at least partially an attempted solution to the problem of other minds: given that we can only observe other peoples' ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
8 votes
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Why wasn't O'Brien considered a thought criminal?

One of the primary ways that the Party differs from other dictatorships is that they know full well what they are doing (seeking power for its own sake), so it's perfectly natural that O'Brien would ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
7 votes
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Is there strong evidence that "room 5" in V for Vendetta was a conscious reference to Room 101?

I've just finished reading V for Vendetta in its collected trade paperback edition. At the end, there is a short essay by Alan Moore, titled "Behind the Painted Smile", which explains the creative ...
Gallifreyan's user avatar
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7 votes
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How did the Thought Police prevent themselves from becoming Thought Criminals?

They don't because they don't need to. Neither in 1984 or in Orwell's memoirs are the inner workings of the Thought Police described in detail. Aside from stray comments about the selection of new ...
rodentry's user avatar
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