We’re rewarding the question askers & reputations are being recalculated! Read more.
114

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 took the date from Alexander Chayanov's Путешествие моего брата Алексея в страну крестьянской утопии (My Brother Alexei's Journey Into the Land of Peasant Utopia)...


41

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 following explanation of the title: You have to remember what it was like in 1948 to appreciate Nineteen Eighty-Four. Somebody in 1949 told me - that was the ...


33

The reality is that, from the perspective of a pro-government stance, 1984 promotes the idea that the government shouldn't be involved in your private lives, and that it's a quick step from government monitoring to government abuse and overreach. It promotes civil disobedience, and fighting for human rights and liberties in your own personal way. It promotes ...


31

Most likely he wanted to crush Winston's spirit. Look at it this way: Winston has an affair with Julia. He begins to think there's a chance of a successful rebellion. He's finally feeling good about life. And BOOM! all his dreams are crushed when he's arrested, especially knowing that he was observed. The Party doesn't just want to stop him, they want to ...


22

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 Fabian Society, founded in 1884. Others suggest a nod to Jack London's novel The Iron Heel (in which a political movement comes to power in 1984), or ...


22

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 whether a personal victory over Winston is really seen as an important goal. It's common practice, for an intelligence officer who's detected one or two possible ...


21

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 the arch in pairs as the song is sung. At the end Here comes a chopper to chop off your head, a pair of children is caught. That caught pair makes another arch. ...


20

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 country is seen as just a minor offshoot of US military power, a mere "airstrip" for the USAF to launch their warplanes from. We already know that the United States ...


18

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 was displayed in the Victoria and Albert Museum, from November 2003 to June 2004. Sources - Wikipedia, BBC, Public Art Online, The Times (You'll need an ...


18

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 had simply ceased to exist. and 'These things happen,' he began vaguely. 'I have been able to recall one instance — a possible instance. It was an ...


17

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 "betrayed" by something he trusted. Basically one of the themes of the book is inescapable doom, and even the things that seemed good and seemed "on his side", O'Brien ...


16

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 was contained within the room. For each person, this worst form of torture would be different, and so for Winston, O'Brien expected Winston to believe room 101 ...


16

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 remember fragments of it. Winston tries to gather more information about the song as he does other aspects of pre-party culture, but fails. Why, then, that ...


12

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 Emmanuel Goldstein's magnum opus: Oceania comprises the Americas, the Atlantic islands including the British Isles, Australasia, and the southern portion of Africa....


12

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, or fear, that taking the world as a whole these things are on the increase." He saw nationalistic initiatives being on the rise due to the pressures and atrocities ...


10

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 five days. Before he starts to read Goldstein's book together with Julia: The clock’s hands said six, meaning eighteen. They had three or four hours ahead ...


9

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 any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched ...


9

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, 1984) It is made very clear early on in the book that under IngSoc, what you would call cultural/national background is despised and probably in way of ...


8

That's definitely the implication, yes. It's a sentence that should be taken fairly literally, if obscurely. Story-wise, this serves a functional purpose. It shows someone who used to perform actions counter to what the government wanted, and was, in essence, reformed into participation. O'Brien is extremely knowledgeable about the past - likely far more ...


8

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’Brien smiled again. ‘She betrayed you, Winston. Immediately — unreservedly. I have seldom seen anyone come over to us so promptly. You would hardly ...


8

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 never be sure what he's not telling us, nor whether the context in which he presents the information is accurate. Take, for example, the way he blames himself ...


7

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 seemed like a long time passed. Two pages later, Parsons used the lavatory, loudly and abundantly. It then turned out that the plug was defective, and the cell ...


6

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 process behind the book - how it was conceived and how it was executed. Initially, Alan Moore wanted to write a similarly themed comic about a guy called "The ...


6

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 the Party. This is the most literal interpretation, and the one espoused by Emrakul's answer. In the first moment of seeing him, Winston clearly still believes ...


6

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 think of it as covering every ocean (but missing all the largest seas!), although Eurasia and Eastasia would dispute the Pacific and Eurasia would dispute the ...


6

"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' behavior, not access their consciousness somehow, how do we know that they actually are conscious? It's actually a surprisingly difficult question - imagine if ...


6

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 agents, or how the upper classes would grow ever more fanatic in spite of their greater knowledge, it's unclear if the Thought Police would police their own ...


5

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 be aware of it. In a sense, the fact that he accepts that is evidence that he's not a thought criminal, and him refusing to accept that would be thoughtcrime. ...


5

First, it's worth noting that the cover itself didn't have a title, which would help to cover up the title page. Goldstein's book is described as A heavy black volume, amateurishly bound, with no name or title on the cover. The print also looked slightly irregular. The pages were worn at the edges, and fell apart easily, as though the book had passed ...


5

This is a description of Winston's subconscious motivation, not forgetfulness. The problem, I think, starts here: It was partly the unusual geography of the room that had suggested to him the thing that he was about to do. The tense of this statement is timeless: there is no way of knowing when this "suggestion" occurred to Winston. It could have been a ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible